Raise your hand if you can relate to any of the following phrases.
- “Oh, so you just do hair?”
- “Do you have to actually go to school to do hair?”
- “Must be nice to just play with hair all day.”
- “Have you ever thought about getting a real job?”
- “I used to do hair, but then I got a real job.”
- “Why would you do hair? You can’t make money doing that.”
I am sure that all of us in the beauty industry have heard phrases like these before, right? Let’s be honest. A lot of people do not take us seriously. They think that we just have “pretend jobs.” We have always had to work extremely hard to prove our “value.” Well, insert a global pandemic and lock us out of our salons for a few months and BOOM!!! Suddenly the beauty industry is extremely valuable. Don’t get me wrong, it is nice to know that our industry is finally being acknowledged as a “real job,” but little did we know just how valuable we truly are!
Just as many of you are, I am missing working behind the chair, my roaming creativity, and the relationships that I have formed with my guests. But as I know that you all can relate to the phrases previously listed, I am most certainly sure that you can also relate to shady propositions for servicing “under the table hair” during this pandemic. Some of these propositions are so hilarious, they are diary-entry worthy. Even hairstylists deserve a little quarantine humor, right?
*Names have been changed for privacy*
It is day 11 of our mandatory quarantine. I am beginning to go a little stir crazy, but I will continue to scroll through Instagram hair videos to pass the time. My very first pandemic proposition happened today. It has happened sooner than expected, however Sarah is about 3 weeks past due for her gray regrowth touch up. She sends me a text. “Hey girl. I know that you can’t work right now but we have known each other a long time. So, I should get seniority and a house call, right? But don’t worry if you can’t come to my house. I can come to yours. If I get pulled over, I will just tell the policeman that I am going to see my doctor. You’re kind of like a hair doctor, so I wont be lying. Or I can say that I am going to see my practitioner and just leave off the nurse part. Technically you are a practitioner, you’re just a hair practitioner. It’s almost like saying that I’m going to see my beautician, but it sounds more sophisticated. So, what time works for you?” Wait a minute, am I reading this correctly? I was lost in the “seniority” part of the sentence. Wow, and it is only day 11.
The Confused Quarantined Hairstylist
It is now day 14 of our mandatory stay-at-home order. Just as any mom at this point, I am stir crazy and cannot decide if I should keep battling with my children over their online issued school work or if I should just pour myself a glass of wine and wing it. Of course, depending on the time of day that I decide to tackle this struggle, I could decide to have a Bloody Mary or a Mimosa. After reading my most recent shady hair service proposition, I opt for the Bloody Mary and pour myself a double shot. This woman… I have literally not done her hair in 10 or so years but she requested and appointment and against my better judgement, I accepted it. I say against my better judgement because she has made many appointments but has canceled at the last minute on each of them because there is always a commitment issue of some kind. After the stay at home order is extended, I contacted each client to let them know that I regrettably but responsibly must reschedule their appointments for another time. Thankfully, most all my guests are understanding and are waiting patiently. THIS WOMAN! THIS woman cussed at me. She cussed at me because out of all the times for her not to keep her appointment, this was it. She had an event to go to and she can’t be seen with her trashy roots?!! Is this a joke?? First, sister, everyone has roots right now. Second, the only appropriate time to break the social distancing rule in the south, is if a crawfish (crawdad, mudbug, lobster of the south) boil is happening. I am somewhat joking, but realistically, all social gatherings are canceled at this point, so there is no one that cares about her roots, because everyone else has roots too. “I kept my appointment with you. You need my money. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.” And that is the G rated part of the message. Don’t get me wrong, times are hard but that is no way to receive my services Sis. Good thing I know how to keep my professionalism. The audacity…
The Seriously Offended; I Might Just Act Crazy Hairstylist
It is day 15 of the mandatory statewide salon shutdown and I am shocked to have a shady proposition 2 days in a row. The crazies are really starting to come out. I’m starting to wonder if these are real emotions that these people are having, or are they just trying break my nerve. Yes, nerve. All my others are completely gone at this point. It is 11:56 a.m. and I haven’t even had a chance to eat today and this random girl texts me for an appointment. I was so shocked that I couldn’t even think to get her name. You literally cannot make this up! We will just call her Karen. Seems appropriate once I finish the story. Karen precedes with, “Hey, I need a hair appointment today. I just colored my hair and it turned orange and black splotchy. It’s never done this before, and I need it fixed. How much will it be?? It only takes two hours to do my hair. The sooner you can get me today, the better. I decided to just go over it myself. I’m putting bleach on it now.” So, my mouth is wide open at this point. I can’t decide if this is a joke or not. But just in case this is a legitimate, psychotic request, I’m thinking that it is best to keep myself in check. Clearly, I am not her regular hairstylist, otherwise, she would know that on a good day, I am still booked out for 8-10 weeks. So I respond with, “I’m sorry. I don’t have this number saved. Have I done your hair before? I’m sorry. I don’t have anything available today anyway.” The rest of our conversation goes like this. Karen: “No, I always do my own hair. Is it safe to color my cat’s hair with this bleach? I want us to match.” Shocked hairstylist: “You’ve got to be kidding me.” Karen: I was thinking of going over hers with pink. Kinda like they do the Easter chicks ya know?” Shocked hairstylist: “Oh ok. Well, have fun with that.” I’m already over the conversation at this point. Can’t you tell? Karen: She likes to take baths. She’s not like regular cats so I figured she’ll respond well to the hair bleach. If they color the chicks then it should be safe to dye my cat.” I am just ignoring Karen now and then suddenly this heifer sends me a picture of a pink cat!! Luckily, I Googled pink cats an the very first picture that popped up is the one that she sent me. So thankfully no kitty cats were harmed during this psychotic conversation. I just quickly responded with, “Nice photo from Google. I don’t have time for this. Have a good day.” Karen ends the conversation with, “BYE KAREN.” She Karen’d me! I refuse her crazy appointment request and she Karen’d me! Good lord. What has this quarantine done to people?
The Shocked and Unimpressed Hairstylist
It is day 19 of the mandatory stay-at-home order and I have received my latest shady hair service proposition. Not going to lie though, this is my most tempting proposition yet. The quarantine must be getting to me if I’m considering risking my license for a hair service. I have not left my house in what seems like an eternity and Penelope propositions me. “Hey girl. I know that you must be going crazy without being able to color hair. Just letting you know that I’m thinking about you. If you’re not busy, I have a surprise for you. It might help take your mind off being out of work.” Reading this text made my heart so full! How sweet for a guest to bring me a surprise! “I’m going to bring my margarita mixer over and we are going to have margaritas! I will even bring chips, homemade salsa, and homemade guacamole dip!” Well Penelope has really outdone herself with this gesture. Considering that this surprise will probably be the closest that I come to celebrating Cinco de Mayo this year, I am more than excited to accept this. I mean, it is totally acceptable to drink margaritas 6 feet apart in your home and with each of us having our own serving of chips and dip? I feel like that is doable. I haven’t had this much to look forward to since quarantine started. And then comes the real reason for the proposition… “So, I was thinking that since I am coming over anyway, maybe you could just touch up my roots before we get started? We don’t have to foil or anything this time. I don’t want to make it hard for you. I will be just fine if you just throw some color on there! We don’t even have to dry my hair. It should only take an hour, right? That leaves the rest of the night to enjoy our drinks and snacks! I will even come over an hour early so it doesn’t throw off our visiting.” Seriously? So, the margarita surprise is really a margarita bribe. This is the most tempting one yet Penelope. Smooth, very smooth. As much as I love a good margarita, I had to say no. That one stung, but she gets an A in creativity!
The Thirsty For A Non-bribed Margarita Hairstylist
It is day 27 of the Quarantine Lockdown, I think. At this point, I really don’t know what day it is anymore. I have pretty much stopped counting the days. My clients have really been keeping me entertained with the creativity of their shady propositions. I can’t help but laugh every time my phone goes off. At this point, I am relying on these shady propositions to get me through the day. I received a proposition today that was very well thought out. It is amazing the lengths that people will go to find a way for their hairdresser to work. At least all my clients aren’t threatening to go for the box dye. Luckily, I have only had one resort to that, and her wallet will be paying dearly when she comes in for me to correct it. Anyway, I receive a very strategic plan from Kelly this morning. And props to her because this took some serious planning. “Hey Meg. I know you have probably been asked this a lot, but can you please consider coloring my hair? I just can’t be caught anywhere with these roots! I wont even check my mail like this! You have to help me. I am about to go crazy.” I respond politely and tell her that I can’t, but she is not taking no for an answer. “I know that you are worried about getting in trouble for taking a client but just hear me out. I will meet you at your studio, but I will park down the street. We definitely don’t want to draw attention to your studio if both our cars are there. You go in first and let me know when you have been inside for 10 minutes. That should be enough time to avoid suspicion. After you give me the signal, I will casually walk to your studio. I can bring some cleaning supplies. That way if someone does see me, then it will look like I am there to clean. Actually, I think that is the best idea. If someone does see me coming in with cleaning supplies, it may get you more business. Not that I am implying that your studio isn’t clean. It’s just that everyone is going to be raving about sanitation and if someone sees a cleaning lady, then everyone will know that everything has been freshly sanitized for reopening. I also think we should do the color in the back. That way no one can see you working. I don’t want any trouble for you. You should probably leave the lights off in the front and the door locked.” I am feeling all the things about this text. Should I be thankful for her thoughtful plan? Should I be offended because she was insinuating that she was not insinuating that my studio needed to be cleaned? Should I be frustrated that she is either assuming that I can see in the dark or that I would want to be doing shady hair color in the back of my studio? I have decided to go with impressed because she did come up with a very strategic plan for the sake of covering roots professionally and not resorting to the local Wal-Mart box dye.
The Offended, Not Really Offended, But Impressed Quarantined Hairstylist
The shady proposition for under the table hair services continue. Undoubtedly, hairstylists around the world can relate to these diary entries. We are miss our guests. We miss our creativity outlets. It is ok to find humor through the madness. It’s how we get through it. As artists, we tend to be eccentric creatures anyway. We all march to the beat of our own drum, but even eccentric creatures enjoy normalcy, or what it is that we consider our normalcy to be. We crave that and many of us didn’t realize how much we need normalcy until we lost it. We will get through these chaotic times. We are in this together. When we can return to normal, it will not be the normal that we are used to. But the good news is that we have gone so long without our “normal,” that we have the opportunity to start fresh and create our vision of a “new normal.” Embracing our new normal will make our industry stronger than ever before. Even through all the madness, we still have the best careers in the world.
Meagan Gallman is a Joico Artist/Educator, Olivia Garden Educator and stylist based in Crystal Springs, Mississippi. Find her on Instagram at @megnaomihair.
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