Sunday, December 6, 2009

I'm The Most Awkward Customer Ever (Part I: I'm No Good At Salon Small Talk)

Today, I got a haircut.

I can't remember the last haircut that I didn't give myself or let my friend give me after a few beers. I usually just use the buzzer on it's highest setting and call it a day. But it was for a good cause. All the proceeds went to the Friends of Orange County's Homeless Pets. My buddy John was doing P.R. for the Cut-A-Thon / Pet Adoption event. John was there with my other friend Nikki (which is no surprise, as the two are married).

I was catching up with the two of them and updating them about single life, which is always an intriguing subject with married couples. I always feel, no matter what, like I'm either showing off or admitting that I am wildly irresponsible. It doesn't matter what the married couple does or says, I always feel this way (even though John and Nikki are one of my favorite married couples to hang out with).

Then, halfway through a sentence, some tall, attractive blonde girl at the counter asks, "Who's Jake?" I raise my hand and follow her to a chair. She leaves, so I start reading a gossip magazines. John and Nikki approach me and tell me there's wine here for the event and I should offer my stylist some. I'm halfway through an obscene response when the stylist reappears. John and Nikki leave giggling.

I follow the sylist to a sink, where she washes my hair and asks, "This wouldn't be the first time somebody's asked you if this is your natural hair color, would it?"

My response was more a string of fractured jokes and confused remarks instead of an actual sentence (just for the record, yes, for sure, that would have definitely been the first time I got that question). As she was drying my hair, she asked me what I wanted. I said, "Just, like...a trim." She said that wasn't all that special. I told her that I mostly came here for the dogs. She acted mildly offended.

Then, when she's cutting my hair, we make small talk. This was the easiest time I've had with small talk with a person cutting my hair. Usually, I'm the worst. Also, the old lady who used to cut my hair had a really thick accent from somewhere east of India.

We talk about dogs, her old job and my new job. I mention how I'm finally a yuppie in Irvine again after a few months of traveling. I explain where I've been (a summer in Seattle, a month in Austin, a weekend in Mexico...), and then she cuts me short seeming mildly concerned that I went to Mexico.

"Where were you?" she asks.

"In a small town between Rosarito and Ensenada," I tell her.

"Was it dangerous down there?"

"No, not really. I guess there were cartel problems for a while, but-"

"What about Swine Flu?"

"Oh...well, the cartel was using the Swine Flu instead of guns for a while..."



"It was nuts for a while. Everyone here was going crazy about Swine Flu for a while. It seemed like everyone was getting their shots here."

"At the salon?"

" the United States."

"Oh...I thought this was like a super gnarly full-service salon for a second."

Anyway, most of the conversation went like that. At some point, she asked how I wanted to do the back of my head.

"Do you want me to take off more back there?"

"Yeah, I like that."

"Or I could just do the sides."


"You don't even care."

"I'm sorry! I swear, I just came here for the dogs! I thought I was going to give one of them a haircut! I totally didn't understand what this whole thing was about, but I swear you're doing a good job. I don't know shit about haircuts. Whatever you think will look good will probably look way better than me buzzing my head."

Later, she's blowing drying my hair and putting product.

"This is exciting," I said. "I haven't had wax in my hair since high school. Also, this whole blow-drying thing and getting my head rubbed deal is fantastic. Now I know why dogs love this. I'm going to start doing this at home."

"Yeah, you can come in next for just a blow-dry," she says sassily. "I'm glad I taught you something special about hair care, blow-drying."

"I was just trying to be nice! Seriously, I haven't gotten a professional haircut in forever and I seriously think you're doing a great job. I might even come back in when I decide to dye my hair purple and turn it into a faux-hawk."

"You're not doing to do that."

"Ok, no, I'm probably not, but I'll tell my friends to come in. Deal?"


Little did I know that she sliced my ear. This will play a big role in the next story.

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