Girl Talk: How’s Your Relationship With Your Hair Stylist?

A couple of months ago, when I moved to Brooklyn, one of the first things I did, after trying a new yoga studio and testing all the mojitos in my ‘hood, was find a new hairstylist. I liked my old stylist in Manhattan just fine, but I didn’t feel enough of a connection or loyalty to him to make the trek back up to my old neighborhood every six weeks to see him for a cut or color. So, I polled a few of my friends in Brooklyn, all of whom have hairstyles I like, and learned they all see the same person. I immediately called her salon, booked an appointment, and two days later had one of the best cuts I’ve gotten in a long time. Score!

Except, not so much. Turns out that stylist was starting law school at the end of the summer and would only be around for a few more weeks. So, yesterday, I did something I was hoping to avoid and had a completely blind color appointment with someone I knew nothing about. Luckily, the color is fine, but something happened during my appointment that’s never happened before and I’m not sure what to think about it.I’m not someone who particularly likes being chatty with my stylists. Depending on the chemistry — or lack thereof — between us, the chit-chatting can range anywhere from mildly annoying to downright awkward. Believe it or not, I actually don’t like talking about myself all that much — at least not with people I don’t know very well. If I’m at a party or something where I’m meeting people for the first time or seeing an acquaintance I’m not that close to, I’ll ask tons of questions just to avoid answering any about myself. I’m too boring to talk about! Let’s talk about something else … or, you know, not talk at all! I mean, shouldn’t hair stylists be paying more attention to the hair and not the conversation?

So, I always thought I’d love finding a stylist who didn’t feel the need to make small talk through our entire session, who didn’t need to force any sort of friendship. My mom is the total opposite, though. She’s, like, besties with her gay hair stylist and loves it. They’ve been a team for years and he actually comes to her house once a week and they gossip in her special “hair and makeup room” for an hour or two while he sculpts her locks. He’s even volunteered to take her to her first Botox appointment — after telling her, at almost 60, that she needed it — but that’s a different post entirely. I, on the other hand, don’t need to be so close to the people who groom me and always thought I’d enjoy silence while getting my hair done, which is why I’m so baffled by what happened yesterday.

For the first time EVER, I had a hair appointment in which I said nothing to my stylist from start to finish. Like, nothing at all. You guys, we didn’t even say “How are you?” to each other. I sat down in the chair and we got straight to business. He asked what I wanted done, I told him, and that was the extent of our interaction until an hour later when he finished up and asked how I liked it and I said it was great. Four sentences, total. Five, if you count his “thank you” when I handed him his tip. He didn’t ask what I “do,” a question I loathe more than any other — except maybe “Are you pregnant?” — or where I grew up or whether I’m married or dating anyone or anything like that. I should have loved it! But, instead, I left feeling a little … deflated. My hair looked fine, but I realized that maybe I like my personal grooming served with a bit more warmth on the side after all. I guess what I’m searching for is someone who not only does a great job with my hair and listens to what I want done, but engages in at least a few pleasantries without trying to make our appointment a therapy session or an awkward hour of small talk. (If any New York-area Frisky readers have Brooklyn recommendations — preferably not Williamsburg, which is a little out of the way for me — I’m all ears).

Anyway, what are your thoughts on the hair stylist-client relationship? Where do you fall on the spectrum of desired communication with them? Are you, like my mom, BFFs with your hair person, or do you prefer a more distanced relationship?

Photo: iStockphoto