I got my hair cut today. I’m not a terribly hair-focused person. In fact, I’ve been following the same routine for about the last 20 years. First, I wait at least 12 months between haircuts, which means that I’ve never had a “very special bond” with a stylist. For me, going to a hair salon feels a bit like going to a dentist if you never flossed but know you would. I know that there will be clucking over my split ends and my habit of reading, instead of styling, while blowing my hair dry. So my hair starts to get too long, but I’m reluctant, so I just coil it up into a bun and clip it. I continue with that method for 2 to 6 months, until I realize that clipping and unclipping my hair is the first and last thing I do every day because my hair’s driving me crazy, and then I finally schedule a cut.

I always give the same general instructions (chin length or a little longer, curling under not out, attempting to give the illusion of body), and because it’s always a different stylist, results vary. On good days I’m delighted, and I run out to buy some special product and spend a good couple of weeks actively styling my hair in the mornings. Today’s not one of those days. I like today’s haircut in theory, but I am not entirely sure I like it actually on my head.

I think it’s just a little too. . . aggressively shaped or something. I like the flexibility to sort of throw my hair around, and this is one of those cuts where, if I shake my head, some of the pieces of hair look like they’re way too long or short because they’ve landed in the wrong spot. Also, after having so much hair and now having so little, I feel tragically big-faced and hawk-nosed. I know, I know: I’m not hawk-nosed. Well, not straight-on, at least. In profile it’s a little iffier.

The funny thing is that I get basically the same haircut, but because I procrastinate so much, it always seems like a dramatic change. People gasp. So maybe I just need to go more often, and then it won’t feel like. . . I don’t know, this. Whatever. Or maybe I need to offer some better or different directions. But really, I don’t know what else I’d want to do with my hair. And I always feel like I should defer to the professionals, because there are people who take hair very seriously, and I’m not one of them.

Oh, wait! Speaking of professionals. I just thought of a funny story, my worst haircut experience ever. No, wait: I’ve got two. The first was when I was in 5th or 6th grade, and I’d been trying to grow my bangs out. And I knew that it was driving my mom crazy to see my hair in my face, because she was constantly reminding me to put a barrette in or something. Well, I was getting my hair cut by this guy I never liked, anyway, and he started to cut bangs for me, and I thought that my mom had had a private chat with him about it, so I just sat there, not saying anything, tears rolling, and by the time my mom noticed it was too late. And he didn’t just cut bangs, he cut these mutant awful bangs that were halfway up my forehead. Think, like, Dr. Spock.

Then I got my hair cut at the end of college just a week or two before I was going to marry Cute W, and the woman who was cutting my hair asked me how long I wanted it, and I told her. And then she asked me to show her. And she basically demanded that I hold on to a hank of hair, which I did, and she said, “Above or below the finger?” And I answered–I can’t remember what–and she went Snip! and then said, “There! Now you can’t blame me if you don’t like it.” Why oh why didn’t I just get up and walk out then? I could have schedule an appointment back in my hometown. I have no idea. Probably because it takes so much energy for me to work myself into the chair in the first place. What can I say? This is not one of my strengths.

Anyway, you don’t have to buck me up, because I tend to have this sort of Haircut Remorse more often than not. It will pass in a week, just like usual.

You know, I think that next time I get my hair cut, I’ll have to schedule a lunch with girlfriends immediately following so that they can buck me up with some compliment ASAP. Or possibly skip lunch and drive me to another salon.


  1. @Jahnavi, ugh, it’s awful, isn’t it?
    @Jason, Cute W bought one of the buzz-cut kits and does it himself–it’s thrifty, but mostly it’s because as his hairline was receding, no matter how much he protested, the barbers kept trying to give him a comb-over!

  2. Claire

    Oh Katie, I hear you! Your feelings about haircuts (and shopping) are something I can definitely relate to. Unfortunately, I have to get my hair cut more often than once/year, because I have bangs and they start driving me crazy about 7 weeks after a haircut. But it is torture for me to sit there getting my hair cut in front of an entire salon. I don’t understand how some people consider this pampering or relaxing.

  3. June

    I have terrible hair that looks stringy and thin if it isn’t cut every six weeks. Until about 6 years ago I never stayed with one stylist for too long because I never had a really great cut that I liked. And I was talked into one too many bad perms. But I found this guy who understands my hair and even though he is kind of flaky I have to go to him. He changes the salon where he works at least every four months, but I follow him around like a sad puppy dog. At one point, I got tired of the flakiness and tried to break up with him, but eventually I came crawling back, because, you know, he can cut my hair like no one else.

  4. @Claire, I feel better that I’m not the only one who hates it. Maybe we need a salon support group?
    @Cheri, thanks!
    @June, I’m visualizing you crawling back to a flaky stylist. . . funny! But your hair does look great!

  5. I’ve started making my appointment when I leave the salon – otherwise I NEVER remember to make it again and I end up with hair halfway down my back…

  6. Or I use a Groupon and then at least I have to use it before it expires. And I don’t feel so bad because I got it at half price.

  7. @Erin, I should have just made another appointment, but I always feel like that’s just way too much for me to think about when I’m calculating tip and all of that awkwardness. . . . again, I’m being a goofball.

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