Coffee heat rising


A few weeks ago, I called to make an appointment with the wonderful hair stylist I’d stumbled upon, only to find that she had left the salon! Of course, they wouldn’t tell me where she’d gone.

So I had to sign up with yet another new stylist. Feeling broke, I elected to go down a tier in price. Judee was in their top echelon—sixty bucks, plus tip, for a cut and style. That’s still lower than my original great stylist, whose pre-tip price had gone up to $70, but after the Summer of Desperate Penury, I hoped to find a younger (read “lower-paid”) stylist with talent.


I like to get my hair cut really short so a styling will last a couple of months. Most short women’s hairstyles have to be redone every four to six weeks; my hope is always to squeeze eight weeks out of a styling. This presents a challenge to the stylist.

Judee manufactured a cut that stayed good for more than eight weeks, which is some sort of miracle. But I’m happy if I can just skip a month between expensive stylings, bringing the annual cost down by half.

Well, the new kid produced a style that was just barely OK. and I mean just barely.

I hate bangs. They look shaggy and stupid on me, and I truly dislike hair flopping in my face. Hate it hate it hate it.

And that’s what I told the new stylist. Not once. Not twice. But three times!

What did I come away with? You got it: bangs.

Within two weeks the style started to look shapeless. By three weeks it looked shaggy. By the day before yesterday I looked like the wrath of God.

Tried to get in with my last stylist in Tempe, much as I don’t ever want to watch the campus of the Great Desert University and its grungy surroundings heave into view ever again. But no: Thanksgiving coming up, she wasn’t available. So I called the nearby fancy salon and asked for a better-quality stylist. Got one! Seventy bucks, when the tip was included. But it was worth it.

This time I dragged in a few photos of short-haired celebrities nabbed off the Internet:

Not bad, eh? Notice that none of these women are sporting damnable bangs! We decided the redhead’s hair was a lot straighter than mine; not doable. I happen to love Dame Judi Dench‘s look, she being only a bit older than I (by about a decade). And that’s just what the new stylist produced.

So. I had to pay through the schnozzola to get it, but now the hair is really short, it looks sharp as can be, and I shouldn’t have to go back for a month and a half or (with any luck) two. Penny-wise and pound foolish: if I imagined I wanted to look good, I should’ve paid the fare.

Take-away lesson: You get what you pay for. You have to decide what you want to cut corners on. What depends on your personality, your taste, and your circumstances…but some things are just not negotiable.

6 thoughts on “Pound-foolish…again!”

  1. @ frugalscholar: Yeah, I’ve never been able to work myself up to that high a pinnacle of chutzpah, either. Also, darn it! If I’m not happy with the work a stylist does, why would I want to go back and subject myself to more of the same?

    Besides, it’s worked out for the best: I’m mighty tickled with my Dame Judi do. 🙂

  2. I also got my hair cut this week. I wear it in an undercut kind of bob thingy with – yea bangs. I got home, found the lady had only trimed about half of my bangs, a kind of second layer fell down when I combed them, and had to try and trim them myself after I got home, so I look nice and choppy for Thanksgiving company! My saving grace is I have been letting my color grow out – so I am planning on the brown on the bottom gray/white on the top to distract the company from my half choppy self trimmed bangs……

  3. My experience has been exactly the opposite of yours–just at the shoulder length is easier to care for and can go longer between cuts. Oh, yeah, I have never been without bangs–EVER, okay, since I was 8. Now I’m 64 and keeping bangs forever. But, I do trim my own bangs and around my face..

    I did complain and ask for a recut and screamed and cried over the phone after that fiasco. One time, I cried in the chair! Now, I just don’t tip or go back.

    Then, I found Cindy who can remember from one time to the next what I want. For 12 years, my hair has had the same cut–bangs that don’t hang in my eyes and layers elsewhere, just hitting my shoulders, longer in the summer and shorter in the winter.

    I can get a $70 cut and style, but pay $15 for cut only. I cannot stand their shampoo: hate, hate, hate product of any kind in my hair; cannot bear to sit at the shampoo bowl because it has always hurt my neck. Soooo, I wash and dry my hair just prior to getting it cut, like wash it the hour before. She cuts my hair, and I pay and walk out. No, I don’t tip, but she knows my circumstances and is owner of the shop.

    My appointments are made for the first Wednesday of each month so my addled brain can remember…lol. In December, I get two cuts–one on the first Wednesday and the second on the 30th of December. In July or August, we got out our calendars and made all my appointments for the rest of the year. In January, we will do the same for the first half of 2011. This way, we can avoid clashes in her vacations and my schedule.

    When you find a terrific or even just good stylist, get her number and give her yours. Any shop who would not give me my stylist’s number would lose my business!

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