Just after half past four, I walked to the salon for a hair trim. The temperature had dropped drastically and the wind picked up. With it, went my fringe. There are many advantages to having a fringe, most of which involve fun yet pointless explorations with eye makeup. However, mixed with a blustery afternoon and a relentless cowlic, a solid trend can turn a girl's good-hair day into a bonafide '90s floof. I know I sound whiny, but truly, I am not one to succumb to vanity, or at least I try not to make mention of it aloud.
The salon was in sight, and I had already decided that I was not going to get the trim I had arranged two weeks ago. Still, I kept walking. I knew this as I checked in. My mind was made up as I took a mint from the glass jar on the coffee table. Nope, still hadn't changed as I sat and read Bazaar. But while I waited for Tia to finish up with her client, I realized how much I dislike the phrase hair stylist. It is an inaccurate title for one who does more than simply style hair (although it is one of the many things Tia is brilliant at doing). Perhaps it's my background, but getting a great haircut is like investing in good design for yourself.
If done well, the new do fits the same requirements of good design:
Is it functional? Now, functionality is subjective when it comes to self-expression, but in general, after the initial styling, can you DIY the next day?
Is it beautiful? In this case, based on your facial structure, body type and personality, is it a flattering cut?
Does it solve a problem? Personally, the problem is boredom, and a nice, thoughtful, new haircut really livens things up.
If you answered yes to these three questions, a haircut might have changed your life. Well, in the least, a good 'do enhanced what you already had going for you. It's a mystery, but maybe your haircut got you those free drinks at the bar or out of that speeding ticket, or maybe it simply put you in a better mood. A great haircut is a lot like that kitchen appliance your mom gave you for Christmas (my mini food processor)—the one you never knew you wanted until you had it. Like any good designer, a stylist knows you better than you know yourself.
Tia meets these requirements every time she cuts my hair. I love her. And the rest of Columbia does too; she was recently voted Best Hair Stylist in the city. But there it is again: Hair stylist.
Distractedly flipping through page after page of dressing for your age, how-to makeup and looks for summer, I ran through possible alternative titles for hair stylist. There were many possibilities, all much better than the title du jour.
Créateur de cheveux, beauty creative, hair designer, coiffeur (sounds nice but not any different than hair stylist), hair expert.
I didn't come to any groundbreaking conclusions. But when she called me over to the chair, I did learn that Tia is as good at recognizing what I don't need just as much as what I do.
"Yeah, you don't need a trim. Come back next week," she said shuffling me to the desk to reschedule. Although there really is nothing she can do about fringe on a windy day (thankfully she refrains from using copious amounts of hairspray), Tia is quite possibly a mindreader. Or maybe she's just a good designer.