a full time job

I’ve realized it is real work being a girl. The maintenance is insane and usually I am not great at making regular appointments for the filing and plucking and cutting and tweezing and polishing. I usually get things done on a whim or because I can’t take the jungle growing above my eyes anymore. Home upkeep is far cheaper, but I am far from skilled enough to keep it up. I try for a few weeks and then I have to revert to the professionals.

I’ve never really been the kind to have one hairdresser that I go to excusively. A college roommate would travel 45 minutes back home to get her hair done and still goes to the same lady today though now the commute is about an hour or more. I don’t understand that. Sure, a good hairstylist is hard to find, but there are several out there, in every city.

I’ve never had a fear of the haircuts either. I’ve walked into salons for the first time and told the stylist to just do whatever they wanted to do. Some stylists like this, others, not so much. I haven’t really ever had a bad experience. One hairdresser said that I didn’t have to worry about my hair framing my face while other women used their hair to enhance their features and thus the anxiety they have. I think she was complimenting me. She also gave me one of the best haircuts and I ended up going back to her a few times.

In the 10 months that I've lived in Richmond I've had my hair cut three times by three different people, none were bad, but none were exceptional either. Today, my stylist was Daniel, a thin man with spiked dirty blond hair who smelled like cigarettes and herbal shampoo. I was apprehensive at first for a man to be plucking my eyebrows and cutting my hair and then he spoke and walked. There is something comforting about a gay man being in charge of your beauty needs. I told him I just needed a trim and he guided me to a sink then said we’d do the eyebrows first so we went to back room with a comfy bedlike chair. He worked on my eyebrows longer than most women stylists have. He plucked the small thin straggling hairs at the top corners of my brows and only put the wax on once. He massaged the areas wear he had waxed and plucked. He relaxed me. He took his time and care.

I was disappointed that he didn’t massage my head when he shampooed my hair. I expected he was an extended massager, he wasn’t. As we walked to his styling chair I wanted to tell him to do whatever he wanted with my hair, to put his spin on it. As he was combing out I my hair, I wanted to tell him to be creative, do what he thought was best for my face. I never did. I sat quietly and watched the other customers. He never asked how much I wanted taken off. He just took my hair and started cutting. He cut it to a healthy length, parted it down the middle and added subtle layers. He did this without asking or telling me. He cut and cut and cut, the layers taking time and many head tilts.

When he was finished cutting he put straightening cream and hair gel into my wet hair and blew it dry using a rolled brush to straighten and turn the ends under, a skill I can never get down. He didn’t talk much, nor did I, but when he did he said things like “rock and roll” and “twisted.” With these words, I realized we couldn’t be friends.

Hours after meeting him, he lingers. When my hair swishes or I brush it out of my face, I smell him, cigarettes and herbs. In the time that I walked in looking for a simple trim and walked out with a hairstyle, Daniel became my hairdresser. I’m committing to him like no other man. I know at least he will take his time and care and he'll give me what I need without even asking.

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