Forget The Whales

First Published in:
Di Skoorsteenki


There is a portion of our society that is deeply misunderstood and I feel it incumbent to add my voice to the chorus that tries to shed light on this corner of controversy and media-conspiracy.  Much has already been written about these people but confusion persists.  This is a group of people feared and hated simply because we, the public, misconstrue their function and ability.  Since this is a group of people who individually and collectively wield more power over our lives than the Illuminati it is important that we keep plugging away at our analyses until the happy day when we all Get The Point Already.  I'm talking about hairdressers. 

Hairdressers are the beasts of burden of feminine society.  Walking through the door of the salon we place as an offering at their often scruffy looking, comfort-shod feet all our hopes, dreams, fantasies and self esteem.   I say it's time hairdressers stopped dressing like sherpa's. It would be more appropriate for them to don straightjackets.  That way we will have a visual reminder that they are not fairy godmothers, we are not Cinderella, that thing in their hand is not a magic wand but a pair of laser sharp scissors (added bonus: straight jackets will limit their otherwise exuberant wielding of same scissors), and the whole operation requires heavy sedation.

With the brutality of Dr Phil McGraw and appropriate to the primal screams often heard emanating from salons, it is time that we "get real and get this":

Having your hair cut like Jennifer Arniston's won't land you even one day with Brad Pitt - this is a hairdresser not God.  God mostly favours Buddhist monks who live in caves and, spookily enough, shave their heads.  So far so good.  Getting Jennifer Arniston's haircut won't change your face - this is a hairdresser not a plastic surgeon.  Hairdressers often start their professional careers at the age of 14 - they often don't stay in school long enough to become plastic surgeons.  This too is a point most of us comprehend.  Now for the biggy:  Jennifer Arniston's hair is cut by Frédéric Fekkai, not by Arlene van der Merwe - if Arlene could do it she would.  If you want Jennifer Arniston's haircut that desperately, and provided you have fully grasped all of the above, use your retirement fund to buy a plane ticket and a session with Frédéric.  Don't expect to get it from Arlene up in Church Street.  It can't be done.  But know this: if you're stupid enough to blow your retirement fund on a Fekkai haircut you fully deserve Arlene.

We simply expect too much from this beleaguered profession.  Even after we learn to tone down our hopes of sensational hairdressing phenomena manifesting in our very own backyards, we still expect hairdressers to be able to reproduce cuts in pictures or follow verbal instructions.  This doesn't work.  Look what happened to Callista Flockheart recently.  Granted she's too thin to be sane, but even she couldn't have asked for that chewed, fringe-gone-wrong, dead-thingy-on-her-forehead of a while ago.  Is it any wonder the show had to be canned?  I suspect that the first thing that happens at hairdressing school is the complete and irrevocable severance of hand-eye coordination, closely followed by gentle but equally permanent popping of the eardrums.

Girlfriend, we have to wake up from this hallucination that because they call themselves a hairdresser, or even worse: stylists, they know about hair, or even worse: style.  You don't have to be a Holmes to work this one out, clues abound!  How many hairdressers do you know who have good hairstyles?  José Eber, who has an atelier 'nogal' on Rodeo Drive, hairdresser to the stars and unparalleled trendsetter of hair in the 70's, 80's and 90's wears a hat.  His eyebrows however are beautifully shaped.  Maybe shaping a full head of hair is just too overwhelming...  Regardless, there's something wrong when we buy into every-woman-has-star-potential from a man who is the author of a book called "Shake your head, Darling".  José Eber himself issues this dire warning on his website:  "I don't make women beautiful, I show them they already are", or in other words: this is as good as it gets, Baby!

So come on, before they overtake dentists in the suicide stakes, let's Save The Hairdresser.  Let's understand that the natural habitat of this species is not Vogue and Vidal Sassoon.  At best it is the mutants of their kind who land up there.  The daily rituals of the species do not include leaving indelible marks on the beauty and fashion communities - it's just hair, it grows again.  Let's take back the power.  They have consistently demonstrated over many years that they do not know what to do with it.  Every bad haircut is a silent cry for help.

Funds can be deposited to my personal bank account where they will be meticulously administered to provide relief to my long-suffering hairdresser by buying me a trip to Frédéric in happy California.  I deserve it.  I wrote this essay wearing not the glamorous yet simple, asymmetrical bob I painstakingly asked for, but the Chinese bob of a five year old.  Help me to help them.