beauty

"The smell wafts up from the basin." A hairdresser shares her most confronting experiences.

It is common knowledge that hairdressers are much more than that; they are our underpaid psychologists, our trusted confidants with whom our secrets are laid bare and no judgment is cast. As soon as we sit in the salon chair the cone of silence is initiated and for the hour or so we have away from reality, we entrust our hairdresser with the most personal of secrets (and also our hair) so when we leave we feel catwalk ready and emotionally much lighter.

So for the good of mankind, and because I am nosy, on my last visit after my therapy session was complete,  I decided to ask my hairdresser about the stories she’s heard. Here’s what she told me:

The indecent proposal – “Ten years ago, while cutting a married man’s hair he asked me to accompany him to The Cannes Film Festival. I declined out of respect for his wife and five children, who were also my clients,” said *Tara. Although this has been the most extravagant offer, being asked out by clients is quite common, regardless of their current relationship status.

Sex workers, strippers and swingers – There have been many clients who work in the adult industry. Often these jobs were ‘on the side’ and not the day job of the client and often unknown to their nearest and dearest. Their experiences were often quite sordid, explicit and definitely not PG. “I hear all sorts of stories about their experiences working- whips, bondage, famous clients.”

Unconventional arrangements – Women who have husbands and boyfriends. There was one particular woman whose husband and boyfriend knew of each other and would send photos of her to each other. “They had some sort of arrangement. They were also very strictly religious which made this whole relationship even more confusing to me.”

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Wanted - A client shared that her ex was on the ‘Most Wanted’ list (now in jail). The client had a conversation with the man in question while at the salon as he chatted to her about what TV shows he was watching on the ‘inside’. "Apparently there is always a way to get things into the prison she told me. I decided not to ask what."

The undie thief - A client shared that her undies were always going missing from her clothes line. "The client decided to take a day off work to get to the bottom of what was happening. It turns out it was a neighbour who would give them a sniff as he took them off."

The other component our fabulous hairdressers often don’t get credit for is the ‘ick’ factor that comes with touching people’s (apparently often really dirty) hair. According to my very experienced (and after hearing this - about one million dollars underpaid) hairdresser, she’s seen some questionable hygienic practices. 

Dirrty - There are some clients who don’t wash their hair for a month before coming into the salon. "The smell wafts up from the basin as I wash it, it literally makes me gag," *Tara said. "Often clients will believe that it is only my job to wash their hair, not a task they need to undertake themselves."

An extra surprise - There have been clients who have arrived after a night of partying with chunks of vomit still entangled in their hair. "They are often still drunk from the night before and it is clear haven’t even been home."

Listen: The Mamamia Out Loud team discuss another hairy dilemma. (Post continues...)

The big sick - often rather than rescheduling an appointment clients will come in sick. Whether it is gastro, the flu or even lice, people will knowingly still attend, often apologising after the appointment has begun and after the unsuspecting hairdresser has already gotten too close or come into contact with whatever germs are festering. "I was washing a woman’s hair and she said, 'sorry about the blisters on my face and neck, I have shingles'. I was horrified."

I already had the utmost respect and love for my hairdresser for hiding my white hairs and making my thick, un-styled mane into a masterpiece all while listening to my gripes for the month but this information has shot her up to Goddess level, and rightly so.

So on your next visit, make sure you shower your hairdresser with the praise and accolades he/she deserves because you never know what they have heard or what they have seen before you came in to the salon that day.

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