From Summer 2008
It all began with a $3 tip. I swear I didn’t know any better. My hair had always been cut by friends, so when it came to my first experience with a professional, I figured it was like tipping the pizza guy and a few bucks would suffice. More than eight years later, my husband still jokes that the reason he married me was to get the rest of his tip. (What a romantic.)
Jason was initially described to me as “cute, straight, and single.” I honestly wasn’t looking for a date, but I needed a haircut desperately, so I made an appointment. Within weeks, we were inseparable. Three years later we married on a cliff in Maui, and we’ll celebrate our sixth anniversary this year.
Women always say they envy my being married to a hairdresser, and I have to admit there are perks. Besides free cuts, Jason often does my hair for special occasions, and he never complains when I ask him to give visiting family members a trim. Sometimes, when I’m getting ready for a night out, he’ll sneak up and take the brush and hair dryer from my hands and do the job himself. People often ask if he does my hair every morning, and I respond with an emphatic “no!” If that were the case, the poor guy would probably pass out from exhaustion. Before he came along, I had no idea how physically and mentally demanding his profession could be. Hairstylists are not only on their feet all day, but they also have to be cheerful and enthusiastic no matter what. If they have a headache, too bad. If a client isn’t happy, it doesn’t matter. Stylists put on a perma-grin as soon as they walk in the salon door and don’t take it off until they head home.
Along with perks come some quirks. For instance, I regularly find mannequin heads in random places all over the house. Jason is an educator for Avalon Salon, and he uses them to create new cuts to teach the staff. What happens to the heads when he’s through with them is anyone’s guess. Our cats once found “Michelle”—each head has a style name assigned to it by the manufacturer—behind the sofa. We laughed hysterically as they attempted to bat it around like a toy. Especially jarring was the time a “blond bob” rolled out from under the bed while I was vacuuming. But nothing compares with what happened one night as I was searching for something in the garage. I noticed a mysterious trash bag sitting in the corner, so I went over to see what was in it. Yep, you guessed it. Heads! About 15 of them. I almost had a heart attack. And, just recently, I found one staring up at me from the bottom of the recycle bin. I commended Jason for his attempt at being earth-friendly but said I didn’t think rubber heads were on the “recyclables” list yet.
Of course, as with any marriage, there are annoyances, too. Every once in a while, I’ll be getting ready for work in the morning and discover that my hair dryer is missing. I run around the house in my robe, cold water dripping down my back, only to find it next to a head Jason had been working on the previous night. Sometimes, though, the dryer is nowhere to be found, and I have to wake him up to ask where it is. He jumps out of bed—half-dressed, his hair going every which way—and runs out to the car to get it, because he had used it at a training or hair show the day before.
Then there’s the cash problem. Jason always has a big wad of $1 and $5 bills—his tips from the day. Whenever he pulls them out of his pockets to pay for something at a store, I feel compelled to tell the cashier that he is not a stripper. And new scenarios pop up every day. Just recently, when our delivery pizza arrived, Jason began digging in his pocket, pulling out a bunch of little envelopes filled with tips. He tore them open until there was enough to cover the cost of our dinner—and I’m proud to say that I added in a nice, healthy tip!
Living with a hairstylist definitely requires patience. My free haircuts are often months apart (the record is eight); our work schedules are completely different, so we don’t get to spend a lot of time together; and I feel guilty when I have a bad hair day because I worry people will think Jason gave me a bad cut, when I really just overslept. All of these things are tolerable, though, because they represent only a part of him. I fell in love with the whole man, not just the hairdresser. My bangs, however, only care about his scissor work.