I pause outside the glass door with its shutters closed. Have I checked everything? I’m impeccably dressed, I am on time for my appointment, and know what I want. I enter (placing my right foot first for luck). There are three women in the room.
“Hi!” I say brightly. The first impression is the best impression, even though this is not my first visit.
A big looking woman gestures me to a seat.
A visit to a salon is NOT, as many (mostly men) believe, a vanity affair. On the contrary, it can be a quite stressful. Murphy’s laws apply all the time—if something can go wrong, it will. A chipped nail, mismatched brows, and product allergies—you name it. Everyone has their own salon horror story. Many of my friends are even superstitious about it—no cutting nails on Fridays and no hair cuts on Tuesdays, in case they anger the Beauty Gods.
Now there are certain ground rules to having a successful salon/beauty parlor/day spa experience. For this post, I will address them all as salon to make it simpler.
The first rule, look great when you walk in. Set a high bar for their services.
The second rule, always take an appointment, even if it’s only a ten-minute job. It gives you the air of someone busy and therefore, important. Talking about how stressed you are also helps.
The third rule, give the stylist a broad idea of what you want and end with “You’re the expert, I’ll leave the rest to you.” Broad, warm smile. Trust, or even a show of it, is the best flattery.
The fourth and the most important rule, NEVER contradict your stylist. A sure fire way of making yourself a living example of Murphy’s law’s manifestation is to correct high-flown talk with reason. Give respect, and take service. An “Oops”, and a “Sorry”, and you’re stuck with a permanently surprised look on your face or look like a piece of Picasso art. So when my sweet lady, who seems to have mistaken The Onion for National news, tells me her views on politics, sports, religion, etc etc etc, I agree. Empathetically.
So here we are. My good lady is practicing politics, and I’m on automatic response mode, while I focus on counting the snips made so far—was it 3 on the left and 4 on the right?(“Absolutely!”) did I specify the right length?(“True!”) I try to look but my hair covers my eyes. Now the conversation’s shifted to some dispute involving the righteous woman. I shift gears in my auto answer and continue worrying. (“She said that?”) Well, the only reconciliation is that at least there is no pain during a haircut! (“Serves her right!”)
Finally, the curtain in front of my eyes undergoes a rendezvous with the scissors as well and after some blowdrying, a satisfied grunt wakes me from my reverie. There is silence only once during my visit—when the job is done and awaiting approval.
This is where the key rule of successful salon experiences comes in… always compliment generously. If in lofty comparison to another (obviously inferior) competitor, even better. And match a good tip with your compliments.
I don’t look like a bad hair day, I don’t look like a modern art piece, so this must be a job well done. Relief seems to justify the fees. No more worries for the next 6 months.
I step out with my right foot forward—just to be extra sure.