Saturday, November 13, 2010

In which I put on my big girl knickers...

Confrontation can be... well... confronting for me.

Actually, that's not completely true. Surprisingly, if I get wound up enough, getting really angry and tearing someone a new asshole is pretty easy, I dont't have that thing where you walk away and suddenly think of all the things you wish you'd said, I tend to walk away thinking, "Oh, wow, you made the truckie cry, maybe you should have gone a bit easier". What I find hard is to find that middle ground between being a avenging Fury, and meekly accepting something you're not happy with.

Assertiveness, I believe it's called.

And so today, I am strutting around quite proud of myself, because I have finally put on my big girl knickers and faced an awkward situation, and confronted my hairdresser.

While all my female readers let out a knowing, "Ahhhh...", let me explain for any male readers out there.  Hairdressers are like priests, you find yourself confessing secrets and chatting away about very intimate subjects (like, just today; sex, body image, weight loss, miscarriage and celebrity fake tans) and when you find a good one, you will go to extreme measures to stay with them.

I have been bereft of a good hairdresser relationship since I moved from Brisbane ot the Gold Coast, and so was thrilled when I turned up for an appointment today at a new salon. The vibe was welcoming and stylish, with a homespun feel (the salon is a converted house, the flowers were fresh and the CD playing was Megan Washington, i.e. perfect). I was further thrilled when I immediately 'clicked' with my haidresser, B, and we were soon chatting away like old mates.

So, when I left not feeling like I had got my money's worth, I was a little shattered. I have quite dark black hair at the moment, after a short-lived fascination with wanting to look like a Latina bombshell,

and want to start going lighter, as I have been most of my adult life, ending up something like this...

Obviously, this will be a bit of a process... "It won't happen overnight" etc. Still, I did think after dropping THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS at the hairdresser, I might see a noticable difference! I know it a massive amount of money, but this was my little reclamation of my 'old self' and my treat to myself, a little luxury and pampering now that I am working and slogging my guts out during the week. Plus, I am starting to feel more like my old self, not the dark, stressed girl of late, so want my outside to reflect that too.

Anyhoo, enough validating. When we had finished at the salon, I was pretty dissapointed to see that, yes, my hair was a bit lighter overall, but not so noticeably so. I had expected, after our discussion in the beginning, that I would see more caramel pieces, rather than just an being a slightly lighter shade overall.

I brought it up at the time, but admittedly in a fairly wishy washy way. I had come to really like B, and I hoped to become a regular of the salon, so I didn't really want to rock the boat too much, or make her think I was mean, or unappreciative. Is it just me or does it seem slightly silly that I am comfortable paying so much money out for something as ultimately trivial as hair, but I can't have a grown-up conversation and say I'm not particularly happy about a service?

Anyway, B assured me that as my hair dried, I would see it actually is a fair bit lighter. I am really happy with the cut she gave me, and my hair feels lovely after the treatement, so I swallow my reservations (hey, maybe that's the real reason we put on weight???), thnak her, pay my staggering bill and leave.

Half an hour later, I feel terrible. I go to my Aunt's house to pick up GG and notice her surprise that I spent 4 hours at the hairdresser and still look essentially the same. I check out my now dry hair in the mirror and yep, I can notice it's a little lighter, but just barely.,

By now I feel awful, regretful, horrified at the amount of money I had spent and hating myself for not speaking up. I really wanted to go back in time, or else go home and eat chocolate and pretend it never happened.

Instead, I slapped myself upside the head and gave myself a stern talking to. "Quixotic, you are a grown woman. You are smart, accomplished and resourceful. Stop acting like an insecure teenager, and get your 33-year old butt back there and tell them you appreciate the effort she made, love the cut, but feel you haven't got value for money, and want either half your money back, or another head of foils for free.".

Feeling absolutely terrified, I front back up to the salon. B sees me and grins, heading toward me with a questioning look.


I feel 3 inches tall, but the thought of all the things I could have done with $300 dollars keeps me from trilling maniacally "Just forgot a card!" and bolting out the door to safety.

I gather up all my courage and speak... I tell her this is incredibly awkward for me, I love what she's done, but for the amount of money I paid, I would have liked to see a more noticable difference. I smile. I giggle a little bit hysterically (so shoot me) but essentially keep it together.

B is an angel, She stays calm, and friendly, brings her manager over and asks me exactly what I'm unhappy with.

I am dying, plus now I have another person present, but swallow hard and again re-iterate that I love my cut, and am happy with what she's done so far, but would've expected to see more of a difference.

B explains exactly what she did for me, and the manager agrees that yes, that's what she would have done, but also agrees my hair colour doesn't look that different.

I tell them I understand not everyone's hair reacts the same to colouring, but nonetheless, I would like to see more of a difference.

B suggests another head of foils in a few days, with a more 'piece-y' look and some caramel highlights.

I resist the urge to tongue-kiss B.

The manager agrees and I book another appointment, feeling a rush of happiness that I have actually acted like a grown-up, proper big girl and calmly and assertively solved a problem, rather than just slink home and dump a bottle of peroxide through my hair and avoid ever going within a 10km radius of that salon again.

B even thanked me for coming back, because she'd have hated for me to just leave it and be unhappy with her work, now she gets a chance to give me what I want.

REALLY resist the urge to tongue-kiss B.

I felt empowered, magnificent and not a tiny bit proud of myself. I was also IMMENSELY pleased with the great service and professionalism B and her manager showed. They have a brand new regular that's for sure!

The best part of all this? That GG was with me during the whole conversation, and got to see a woman stand up for herself, confront a problem calmly and assertively and get a result, all without being overly dramatic, passive-agressive, abusive or shouty. Win/win all round!



  1. I think I want to tongue kiss you for having the stones to go back in there... I would have opted for drowning my sorrows in wine.

    I'll throw in a tongue kiss for the hairdresser for being so cool about the whole thing.


  2. I did this two years ago. Black to blonde was the general idea.

    I went to Stefan after a few consultations and agreed to go through the 'process' with them.

    The first time they did all over foils,and a treatment by a senior hairdresser and it looked wicked. I should have stopped there. $300

    The second time she did it again and it looked even better. A bit tiger stripey but my hair looked healthy and a bit funky. $300

    Third time I got lumped with some apprentice late at night and she fried my hair with no colour difference. I was pissed. Another $300 down the drain.

    Everytime I walk past that salon I want to go in there and protest

    I finally got the shits and thought stuff this, bought a bunch of hair dye and bleached the crap out of my hair. Two years later my hair has recovered.

    Good on you for having the balls to walk back in there.

    Hairdressers - can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em.


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