Friday, January 30, 2009

The New York Haircut

In a town where a decent haircut can cost you upwards of $70, it was inevitable. Cleverly called D.d.U. Model Project* (aka Dumble & Dumble University*), they make it their mission to lure you in with fancy paper cups of water and a hip meatpacking-district location. That, along with the trendy marketing, the rave reviews from acquaintances and the fact that it was free — OK, maybe just the fact that it was free — and I was hooked. They assessed my hair type, told me I was suitable for a haircut (praise Jesus!), and booked me for a Long Layers Razor Cut. Just one thing. Everyone who knows me, knows that I can't make a decision to save my life. A week before my appointment, I decided I wanted a change and switched to a Razor Bob Cut. I was under the impression that the cut would be funky and cool, not Hillary Clinton. My mistake. Have you ever heard of a cool bob? Am moron. Nonetheless, I assumed they would work with me, my hair type and my lifestyle (I have a creative job and don't wear pantsuits to work).

I was doomed from the moment I sat down. There I am, with about 19 other girls sitting in little barber stools. The students stylists shuffle in and make small talk with their victims clients. I'm alone. Palms are starting to sweat. Am feeling like the odd man out in 6th grade gym class. Finally, a petite woman wearing a giant rhinestone belt buckle walks over and introduces herself as Jody*. I have a thing for firm handshakes; hers was weak. Strike one...
Before you call me heartless, bear in mind that these "students" aren't new to the art of hair, as my particular stylist had been cutting hair for three years. They were just there to learn the Dumble & Dumble technique. They all have real jobs. At actual salons. Jody kind of mumbles, "So you want a bob?" I reply, "Well, yes, that's what I'm hear for, but I don't want it to be insanely short. Above the shoulders is fine, but I want something choppy, kind of funky. No librarian look, please." She tells me that a bob is one length, and that is my only option. I protest, "But the examples I saw..." She grabs an Educator (aka "a professional"), who confirms that yes, a bob is one length. Hmm... I ask Educator #2, explaining that it's my first time there and don't really know what to expect. But I'd love something with a little texture. She replies, "Of course, we can do an Overcut, which will give you some texture." Perfect. I don't know WTF that is, but texture is good. Texture is cool. Texture is not librarian. I relax.

Jody rinses my hair and wraps a haircutting cloak around me. But she puts it on backwards, like a cape. I look like fucking Superman. I bite my tongue. She starts spritzing my hair with what I like to call "Poison." I say "Poison" because I got more of it in my mouth and ears than on my hair. She's combing, spritzing, combing, spritzing. I ask, "Isn't this [cloak] supposed to go the other way?" She tells me the snaps get in her way. It's fine, she says. She starts snipping the hairs by my neck, a little too close for comfort. I bite my tongue. The hair gets all over my $25 hoodie. Her bejeweled belt repeatedly snags the cloak, choking me every 10 seconds. I look in the mirror, cringing. Can't turn back now. I notice that everyone else's cloaks are on correctly, and I'm the only Superman in the room. Sprays more Poison. I gag. Twice. And I'm about four feet off the ground, because for some reason, my chair doesn't have a leg rest like everyone else's. So my gams are just dangling there. Superman or not, I begin to think my hair won't be that bad.

Educator #2 comes over. I ask a couple of questions, mostly about this Overcut I'm about to get. She kind of ignores me. They start to cut my bangs. I hold up my hand, "Wait! I just have a question..." I rattle something off, after all, it's my hair, I would like to know what is being done with it and no one seems to feel the need to fill me in. The Educator then sneers at me, "Are you sure you want to be a Model Client again?" My jaw drops. I could no longer bite my tongue. "Um, I never said I wanted to come back. But apparently I'm just supposed to keep my mouth shut. Excuuuuuse me. It was just a question." She snips, "Well, we need people who are a little more relaxed than you are. If you want a salon experience, then you can go upstairs and pay $125." Point taken. Resume tongue biting. The stylist hurriedly finishes the chopjob, I graciously thank her and then burst into tears. Some broad who must have majored in Customer Service pulls me aside to talk about what happened. I told her exactly what I thought. Though Jody was perfectly sweet, Educator #2 was a rude bitch. Before you get your panties in a bunch, know that I also owned up to my insane expectations. That it's not about me and what I want (it's so the stylist can learn new techniques), that it was free, etc. But I still thought I would be taken into consideration at least a little (like the fact that I'm not married to a senator).

So to make a long story even longer, I left with what I now refer to as a Reverse Mullet. Insanely short underneath and longer on top. There was no rhyme or reason to it. I sobbed four avenue blocks to the PATH, stopped at Urban Outfitters to get a hat and dragged my sorry ass back to Hoboken. Then I popped into the first salon I saw and got it fixed. I feel better. A little. At least I don't look like this. (Photo, left: Bad haircut. Photo, right: Bad haircut, post being "fixed."

Note to self: Don't get a drastically different cut from a stranger stylist I'm uncomfortable with. Never go back to Dumble & Dumble. It may work for some, but I am not guinea pig material.

*Names have been changed to protect the idiots.


  1. I loved this post ...and for the record, I still think you look beautiful. Keep the posts coming!

  2. You are hilarious! The cut is cute... well the after cut is cute :)


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