The Hairy Truth about Hair

bad hair day

The hairy truth: Hair Stylists know things we just don’t

I don’t like to think of myself as the kind of person who would pay $30 to have her hair professionally blown dry, and yet, once you’ve paid $30 to have your hair professionally blown dry, or, worse yet, $39, if you count tips, you have to accept certain truths about yourself.

That’s right. Blown dry – not even cut.

But, as I reminded myself when I handed over two twenties, I was lucky to get it so cheap. At one Newbury Street salon I called, a “blow-out” – to use the technical term – can run you $65, and that’s before you start doling out gratuities.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m beginning to understand why all those Park Avenue divorcees demand $5,000 a month in alimony for personal upkeep.

When I showed up at work with my hair, it was as if I’d had a face-lift and full-body lipo.

“You could be a guest on `Friends,’ ” one of the Herald artists said. (If you knew this guy you’d understand that this is more than a compliment, it’s an affirmation).

How good did my hair look? People were still talking about it a week later. “It wasn’t just straight,” one woman said, “it was shiny.”

I have no hard evidence of this, but I think strangers were treating me better. I was actually greeted by a saleswoman in a Newbury Street boutique (they usually avert their eyes), and a man on the T offered me his seat.

All of which should have made me happy, but instead I was melancholy. I’d seen what life would be like with good hair, and now I had to go back. I’d gotten it done for a special occasion, and those don’t come along seven times a week.

“Why be sad?” my husband asked. “Can’t you learn to do it yourself?”

And yet, as someone who’d never felt the need for a round brush, never dried his roots first to give his hair lift, never flipped his hair before entering a room to enhance its fullness, how could he be expected to appreciate the hairdresser’s art?

So I patiently explained that hairdressers are like golf players. What they do doesn’t look hard, and yet, try it yourself and see what happens.

I called a friend who’s totally obsessed with her hair and asked if she had any theories. “It’s this perfect dance between hair dryer and brush that only they know how to master,” she said.

“Besides, it’s not like you can get on top of your head, or behind your head.”

She had a point there. Forget trying anything fancy, I’m lucky if can keep the round brush from getting knotted near my temple. This happened to one of my friends, and she had to drive to Newbury Street looking like the victim of a really weird stabbing. The stylists at Daryl Christopher worked for 90 minutes trying to cajole the brush out, but surgery was eventually required.

So here I am, a week after my perfect hair day. Actually, it hasn’t been quite a week, since I didn’t wash my hair for two days afterwards. I would have waited longer, but not showering meant that I couldn’t exercise either, and forced to choose between my thighs and my head, I went for the legs.

The big question now is this: Am I better off having had those two perfect days? Well, is it better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all?

Only my hairdresser knows for sure.

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