I really need a hair cut. I’ve put it off for so long because who really NEEDS a hair cut? Usually, I only get my hair cut when I go home to New Jersey. Which is ridiculous that I’ve been living in California for three years and have only gotten my hair cut in California one time, and that was because I was getting headshots done and there was a nice salon near me that was doing a special offer if it was your first time there.
Now that I am never going home, I really need to figure something out. I hear from a few sources about a hair school that does your hair for really cheap because a student will be doing it. Done and done.
Arrive at the Toni & Guy Academy in Santa Monica for my 2:00 appointment. A very young guy, can’t be older than 20 (actually I’m really bad at judging people’s ages anymore so maybe not), walks out to greet me. He’s adorable. He’s this skinny little skater kid wearing black pants and a long black hoodie with his hood up, but still revealing his perfectly coifed hair. “Lindsay? Hi, my name is Tristen.” Of course it is.
Tristen walks me back into the salon. There’s a lot of activity. It’s big, bright white, and open, with glass doors and mirrors everywhere. We reach his station and another, older guy, is standing here. Definitely the authority. I’m still not sure who is doing my hair. Tristen seems unsure of how to start this whole thing. Authority hangs up my purse. Where should I put my jacket? Tristen looks around. “Umm” Authority guy chimes in. “Go hang up her jacket.” Tristen walks away with my jacket. Authority guy shakes his head. “Gotta keep these guys in check.” I laugh, because he is obviously being playful about the whole thing. Seems like a nice atmosphere for students.
Tristen is back, and now it’s clear that he will be doing my hair. First he has to wash my hair. There are three chairs. “Sit in any of these.” He walks away and I sit down. Then he comes back. “Oh, this one’s broken, any of these other ones.” Oh. Sure thing. I move. After he does a thorough job of washing my hair and I want to fall asleep, it’s time to cut my hair.
“So what are we doing today?” Just a trim. Like three or four inches. Nothing special. “Do you have layers?” I don’t know. No. “Do you want layers?” Nah. “Do you want your hair to fall down in an angle, so it frames your face?” Nah. Just a straight cut.
I almost feel bad because this will be boring for a person who is probably wanting to try and do fun things, but that’s partly why I came here in the first place. I need a hair cut. Simple. Boring. Easy. You can’t mess it up.
After he brushes out my hair, he asks if he can put product in it. Sure thing, Tristen, go crazy. Can you just show me how much you’re going to cut before you cut it? “Oh yea, sure thing, don’t worry, I got you.”
After he cuts most of my hair, he starts looking at the front. “Do you want a forward graduation?” Do I want a what? “Like, so it frames your face?” Uh, I don’t know. Tristen starts holding pieces of my hair in his hand and showing me. “See how this isn’t even in some places? I could clean it up so it all angles down away from your face.” Well when you say it like that, God, by all means, cut it.
He does. Then he starts looking at the back. “Do you want layers?” Nah. “Are you sure? It’s kind of heavy back here. It’s up to you, whatever you want to do.” Well geez, it’s heavy? I’ve never even heard that before but it sounds bad. You better give me some layers.
This kid is good. In the end, I really just basically said, whatever you think is best, Tristen. He goes on to put a bunch of different products in my hair and then blow dries it. “Do you want it curled or anything?” At this point, I’m not telling him no. Whatever you think, Tristen. He takes his time drying my hair and I appreciate his attentiveness. At one point, I can feel my hair get caught in something. It’s the back of the hair dryer. We lock eyes in the mirror and he looks terrified. What did you do?? “I just got a little piece of your hair caught in the back of the dryer. I’m just going to cut it out.” It’s OK. He grabs scissors and finds the piece of hair. It’s basically knotted up and with a snip it’s gone. It’s really fine. I rip out my hair all the time. It was barely any hair. I assure him it’s OK. I even laugh about it. Your face, though. I thought it was a lot worse than it was. “Well that’s never happened to me before.” He seems a little shaken up but it’s really not a big deal.
He’s almost finished now. A guy walks by. “Looking good, Tristen, nice work.” He has a big smile on his face as he walks by. When he’s gone, Tristen tells me, “That’s my brother. He’s a teacher here.” Ohh very cool, keepin’ it in the family. “Yea, my Dad’s a hair stylist, too. He has a salon.” Awesome. So are you going to work at your Dad’s salon? “Yea. As soon as I can get out of here.” How much longer do you have? “Like six months.” Oh, that’s not long at all. “Yea. You should come back in two or three weeks for a quick trim, clean it up.”
Ohhhhh Tristen, the day I get my hair cut every two to three weeks is the day you’re my personal hair stylist who I need by my side at all times. Then of course I start day dreaming. Yes, Tristen will be my personal hair stylist. By that time, he’ll be a real pro. It’ll be good timing for both of us. And then he can introduce me to his cute older brother.
He walks me out to the front desk to pay and then leaves me there. “OK, well, thanks.” Thank you so much, Tristen! And he hugs me. He’s the most adorable thing ever. He’s like a better looking Justin Bieber before he became a dick.
The receptionist helps me. “That’ll be $20, Lindsay.” What?!?!?! That’s insane. I have no cash. Can I leave him a tip on my card? “Sure, I can do that for you.” I fish around my bag for my credit card. “Are you a student?” No.
But thanks for asking. Maybe it’s because I look so young. Or maybe it’s because I’m wearing a red sweatshirt with bears and snow on it. And Christmas tree earrings. And my nails are painted green with red dots. Who knows.
I walk back to Tristen and give him 15 bucks. I mean, he spent two hours on me. I’ll take a $35 haircut any day. And now I have a place I can come to all the time! Or maybe just twice a year, because that’s usually how often I get my hair cut. Or maybe in two to three weeks, just to see Tristen again.