When I started to work as a hairdresser in the early 70’s I don’t think there were any men coming into the salons to get haircuts. They always went to the barber shop. But of course back then most of the men wore it really short or in crew cuts.
I worked next to a barber shop when I first started to work and the barber used the clippers more than any other cutting tool, so you know how short it was. He mainly did the older generation that wanted it really short around the edges.
Even my dad, back then, wore a crew cut part of the year. He wore the crew cut in the spring and summer and about August he let the top start to grow so he could comb it over to the side during the winter.
Dad didn’t have thick hair and it was fine like mine and I don’t think what little bit of extra hair he grew for the winter would have made that much difference but that was his winter style.
Then as the styles changed and the men started to wear their hair a little longer they discovered that hairdressers had a better handle on the haircut.
During the late 80’s men discovered perms or body waves for their hair. There were even some that came in for a color to keep the gray away, but far more of them were coming into the salon just for haircuts.
Jack started to come to me for haircuts because his girlfriend asked me if I would try to do something with his natural wave. It was not real curly but just enough that if it wasn’t cut right it would stick out and drive him crazy.
Now the fact that Jack didn’t want to come in as often as he should to get it cut didn’t help, so when I saw him it was always getting wild and crazy; especially when it was humid out.
But the first time she talked him into coming in she warned me that he was shy and was really nervous about coming to a salon and to a hairdresser to get his haircut. But she’d finally convinced him that I would be able to handle the curl better than the barber.
I told her not to worry about it and just get him in there and I would take it from there. It was like getting a kid in for the first haircut. I told her to get him there and go do an errand and not stay around.
When I gave a man their first haircut from a hairdresser I didn’t talk to them anymore than I needed to unless they started the conversation. Just get the idea of how they wanted it and then cut it and get them out of there.
The first trip into the salon was to get the man to realize that we wouldn’t bite and to show them that it was going to be better than going to the barber. So the girlfriend brought Jack in after work one night.
When they arrived I told him my name and sat him down. I washed his hair and combed through it and the only question I asked him was how short he wanted it. I then proceeded to cut it and he was ready when the girlfriend came back to pick him up 15 minutes later.
He called and made the next appointment himself so I felt like I had won the battle. Well, I had not only won the battle of getting him comfortable in the salon and with me, but I had unleashed one of the biggest teases I have ever known. So much for being shy; that went out the window really quick.
Each haircut he was a little more comfortable and then he started picking on everyone, but in particular me. I cut his hair for over 25 years until I retired from the salon. He was a lot of fun and he loved nothing better than to argue with me about anything and everything. He is about as bad as my dad was for teasing.
Jack also had the ability to destroy my pens when he wrote the check. They never seemed to work again after he tried to use them. So I always kept old ones around just for him to use so it didn’t matter if they stopped writing in the middle of the check.
Now Gary G. was another story when he came into the salon, even for the first haircut. He visited with everyone in the salon and helped himself to any cookies or snacks we had.
But then he decided to get a permanent in his fine and thin hair. This threw him for a loop when we had to put him under the dryer with the solution on his head and a baggie over the top of the rods.
The first time we told him he had to sit under the dryer for about 10 minutes I thought he was going to bolt out of the salon with the perm rods in his hair and the cape still around his neck. But we got him talked into getting under the dryer finally.
Gary grabbed the biggest magazine that was on the coffee table when he went by it on the way to the dryer. We sat him back in a corner so not everyone could see him. We thought that would be the perfect spot for him to hide out. He immediately put the opened magazine in front of the dryer hood to cover his face.
He must have got hot under the dryer because he took the cape and threw it over his shoulder. But now you could see that it was a man under the dryer. When you looked in the corner you saw a white shirt, a bright red tie, black dress pants, dress shoes and the magazine up in front of the dryer hood and his face.
The ladies that were in the salon could hardly wait to see who was behind the magazine when we went back to get him. But after the first time he came for a permanent it became old hat and he didn’t hide behind the magazine any more.
But men in the salon were always a challenge to get them used to the different way we cut hair and all the women that would be around them, but most of them eventually enjoyed it. To contact Sandy: [email protected]