unhappy meal

Dsc_7284Dsc_7272 Dsc_7270 So I’ve had some girly time to myself lately, time to run errands and finally catch up on doctor and girl appointments.  On my list was "trim and highlights?"  After seeing a friend recently, with great hair, I insisted she give me the name of her "stylist."  "He’s a total bitch," she said, "but he’s damn good.  And he knows it."  She’d "cheated on him" and been to other stylists, and on her return, she slipped her fingers through her hair, stared at his reflection in the mirror, as she said, "I know you can tell I cheated on you."
"Pfff," I imagined he puffed like a true Frenchman, "does not matter.  It is like I tells my wife.  You will always come back in the end because there is no other better."  And by the look of my friend’s hair, I had to agree.  So I got his number and made my appointment.  All I really wanted was a trim, and perhaps a few "natural looking" blond highlights.  I’ve always liked my hair with a few highlights to show depth (the irony is not lost on me).

When I arrived, he had me stand behind the chair.  He then spent fifteen minutes having me turn my head this way and that, as he gripped my hair and studied my profile.  "How do you feel about your length?" he asked.  I was intimidated and worried I’d answer something that might cause him to Pfff at me, or one of his lowly apprentices. 
"Well, I like the length and really like having long hair."
"You know, I happen to agree with you, and that rarely happens.  Zee length is very good for you.  So what are you looking for?"
"Really, I’m happy with my hair.  It just needs more shape, and I want a few highlights."
"Pfff.  No.  I refuse.  Go somewhere else."
"What?  Really?"
"Your hair is too beautiful for highlights. Though, the color should be enriched.  It looks dull.  You need more shine.  Eeeh, we use the henna."
"I’ve never used henna.  Won’t that make my hair bright and electric looking?"
"Bright?  No!  It will add no color.  It is not dye.  I would not put color on your hair!  No!"
"Well, then–"
"No, it will only add shine and enhance, add more vibrancy for the color you already have."

I’m off for a shampoo, asking his apprentice if he agrees.  "Really, no highlights?"  Pfff.  No.  Okay then.  "Well, at least he wants to keep my hair long," I tell the shampooer.  "Someone once cut my hair to my shoulders and I cried."  "Oui, I can imagine!"

Then, I stand for the cut.  He promises my hair will keep its length.  He says not to be scared by the shorter layers.  The first 8 inches of hair fall to the floor.  NO!  What can I do now?  He’s holding scissors.  He’s French.  He is the expert.  I wonder if I’m like one of those people on those makeover shows, who just doesn’t know what’s good for her.  I watch them on these shows, where experts make them part with stained synthetic clothes and oversized reading glasses, and these homely people cry.  They say it will take some getting used to.  And I roll my eyes, seeing so clearly what they cannot.  Maybe this man is my Tim Gunn.   Maybe he knows what’s good for me, despite how much I want what’s so familiar to me.  And then I look up, at my reflection. 

Img_5926 "IT’S SO SHORT!" I hear myself scream, as I pull my hands through it. 
"Pfff.  So," he says, "know the good thing about hair?  You can always grow it."  Is that a joke?  You just fucking cut it all off, after telling me you were keeping the length!  It’s about expectations!  Had you said, you were going to take this much off, I would have been ready for it, but this!  This is outrageous!  I say as much to him.  And he says, "Would you like a Kleenex, then?"  What a fucking asshole. 
"Do you know how short this is?  Do you know how my hair will curl up now that you’ve made it this short?  I’m going to look like a lion!!"
"You cannot see.  But it will be beautiful.  Enough, now.  You need shine, for this all to be complete.  You will see." 

I’m then ushered off, so I don’t make more of a scene.  I’m told the shine I will see, will be like none other.  It’s all natural.  It’s not dye.  It will wash out in two weeks or so.  "Something like that, but it will only enrich your natural color."  I don’t think of this as a stain to wood.  I think of it more as a saturation filter, just amping up what’s already there.  I say to the colorist before she applies anything, "now what kind of henna is this?  Because my mother used to use it, and afterward, she’d always yelp, ‘oh, it’s bright isn’t it?  Too bright?’ then she’d need to shampoo a ton with hydrogen peroxide."  No, she assures me, this henna is not like that.  It has no color, she says. 

Once the towel is removed from my head, my eyebrows pinch together and tears stream down my face.  I haven’t cried over my hair since I was twelve and the woman cut my hair to my shoulders.  I now have shoulder length hair.  "So what is wrong?" the owner of the salon, the French man who cut it, asks me as I cry? 

"What’s wrong?!  I came in here happy, and now I’m a happy meal!  You didn’t want to give me blond highlights because you said they didn’t look natural.  But this?  This Ronald McDonald hair looks natural to you?  Are you kidding me!?!"  It is so bad I don’t know where to begin, aside from calling Amex and disputing the charges.  Horrendous.  I am not one of those people who thinks you should go darker, richer, for the fall.  I think you should look your best, in your favorite colors, no matter what the weather.  I don’t believe in going darker with your makeup or clothes, and certainly not with your hair, just because it’s fall.  I like a sun-kissed look, natural, healthy, all the time.  Might look fine in that first photo, but it’s obvious in the pumpkin patch photo how absolutely wretched it is.  So bad. He said he’d correct it in a week.  But in two days, I’m off to Vegas, where I’ll look like part of the opening act.  Pfff.



  1. From one curly girl to another, I FEEL YOUR PAIN!!!!! What the hell is it with these so-called "experts" who think that they know how to work with our hair, when all they end up doing is fucking it up! I was referred to someone who I was told knew how to cut curly hair, so I went to her. As I watched her butcher my hair, all I could do was sit there with a sick feeling in my stomach. I walked in with long, curly hair, and walked out with the most butchered head of hair imaginable! My then fiance told me that my hair didn't look all that bad, but that it kinda resembled a hat! I did chuckle, but then punched him in the gut! Well, needless to say, it took my hair over 2 years to grow out. From your picture, I think that your hair looks fine, but I'm sure that you know what works best for you, so I don't blame you for being pissed. Love your expression, though.

  2. your hair is beautiful, YOU are beautiful, when you're not making that face. cheer up! at least you don't have shit muckly thin frizzy brown hair:)

  3. You are beautiful, your hair is BEAUTIFUL. But I completely understand your frustration when trying to locate a good stylist. My recommendation, is to find someone who has been in business successfully for at least 10 yrs. forget what's trendy, find someone who will LISTEN to YOU.

  4. Alright, you're probably going to want to throw your computer against the wall because as a fellow woman, I know that when you bitch about something, all you want is for someone to fuel your fire and let you bitch away.

    But you look stunning in both photos, you're gorgeous! Stop that, you look great.

  5. Oh man – I have curly hair too and it IS the most difficult thing to get a decent haircut. They always try to attack my thick curls with thinning shears (scissors with little teeth that only cut like a third of the hair a certain length). Which is AWFUL because then my curls are all these different lengths and I look like a baffoon. Also, color – – – I think because curly hair is usually coarser & more sensitive/dry, color must really react differently than the hair person ever considers – I go to a place and the guy (not French, but Barcelonian, so still with the slightly condescending accent) tries to bamboozle me to get reddish highlights (I, unlike you, look awful with any red tint at all in my hair) and it took me 30 minutes and almost in tears to explain to him that under no circumstances would that be a good idea. He dried my hair and it was AWFUL, brassy and already had about half an inch of roots showing. I was so shocked I still gave him a good tip and just walked home not knowing what to do. I feel your pain, even though your hair honestly does not look bad at all. But, really, your hair color is so beautiful you should have never done anything to it at all :) :)

  6. Honestly, your hair looks really lovely in the first photo with the sun on it, kinda looks like it has blond highlights, and I think the cut looks good too. I think the blond highlights in general are a good call. But in the 2nd photo I can definitely see where you're getting the Ronald Mcdonald from. And the fact that they did something to your hair that you totally didn't want and tried to pass it off as something else, that's inexcusable. I can't imagine you would want to go back in a million years, so hell yeah dispute the credit card charge. They made you CRY.

  7. Sweet Mary…he had no bizzzz-ness fucking with your color that way. You were my dreamy 5 year old girl dream of red hair (I was the pretty blond that wanted something flashier). It's purty now but in a henna kind of way that wasn't red to start out with.

  8. Why did you pay? He didn't do what he said, and he did do what you didn't want, in any other world that is a deceit, a fraud… not something you stump up for!

  9. You know who you remind me of in the first picture? Julia Roberts!

    Having said that – I really can feel your pain. I am actually off to my "stylist" in an hour and wanted some change in color and length, but I'm not so sure about it now…

    Hang in there and still have fun in Las Vegas, be it in the audience or on stage with the opening act ;-)

  10. You look so cute on the first picture!
    After years of searching I have finally found someone who knows MY hair and wont make me cry in the end. Thank God for that!

  11. Come on… the hair looks gorgeous in the first picture! If you smiled it would have looked even better :)
    AS for the second picture, the only problem seems to be the early-90's fringe, which is easily fixable! Ok, yes, it doesn't look good when you are surrounded by pumpkins cause the colours clash, but how often does that happen? Once a year? oh well…

  12. PS: The colour will fade very very very quickly, trust him on that. Red colours are the quickest to fade, out of any tone you can get. Take this from someone who's had blonde, blonder, black, brown (dark and light), red, orange and pink (highlights) hair. (obviously not all the colours at the same time)

  13. Okay, first off- it's not that bad. Granted you only have two pics up. But the more you wash it wont the color fade?

    Second, DO NOT go back to him. Make his ass give you your money back, threaten to expose him and his business if he doesnt, fuck him! and go to someone else who can fix it.
    As someone with long hair since I was 13, I feel your pain, but he is right. It will grow back and I hate to say it but probably will look a lot healthier b/c he cut off so much.

    But fuckin a, I would have been LIVID. The happy meal part cracked me up.

    Im sorry this happened to you b/c of some arrogant foofoo hairdresser who thinks he knows best. I guess when it comes down to it, we all know our hair best.

    Find the most expensive salon in Austin, ask for their top girl and get it fixed. You still look adorable and pretty as always. And Im ending this b/c goddamn it sounds like Im kissing your ass. :)

    Love the pumpkin patch pic

  14. I also have curly hair and once had a haircut so bad that I had to wear it up for six months. Some people should never touch a curly-headed girl!

  15. Someone just explained to me this very week that when you have curly hair or wavy hair you have to ask your stylist if he/she knows how to work with curly hair. Apparently, not all of them do. How appaling is that??

    Anyway – I love the hena look on you. Very middle eastern and Soooooo amazing on you. I wish I could cary this color. But it will wash off in a few days like he said, that's what hena does and the hair will look even better.

    If these words meant anything, I'd say "trust me"

  16. Three words: Better Business Bureau.

    He had no idea who he was experimenting on- out him! Name or general um, location? Warn the rest of us?

    The pictures are cute anyway. Wash with a harsh shampoo (like a clarifying shampoo) or better yet dishwashing detergent a few times then deep condition or get a conditioning treatment somewhere else. That will tone down more of the edge.

    Very funny story. And he made you STAND to get the hair color.Screw that.

    PS- Cannot wait to dress my own little one in a 'punkin' suit for Halloween! I will have to wait until next year though he will be born in a few months.

  17. It doesn't look that short in the first pic at all. It looks very Charlie's Angels. Very va-va-voom. Is that how it was styled when you came home? It looks so much better that way than the pumpkin patch way.

    The pp pic: Wow. That color's insane. And it curled up like a bad 80s perm. Wow. Avoid wearing orange. Also pink. Also red. Wow. I'd be pissed, too. Maybe pass it off as part of your Halloween costume if anyone asks. Strawberry Shortcake. Little Orphan Annie. Wow.

  18. Someone with that kind of attitude is compensating for a serious self esteem issue. Small penis, anyone? Anyone who acts like that is not a good stylist and not a good business person. A good stylist will listen to what you want, make suggestions, and be at least polite, if not caring. In the end, it's your hair and he should have given you what you asked for regardless of his pompous little opinion. I would be effing pissed.

  19. I had a similar experience once.

    I too like my hair long, and since I dye it the damage/breakage makes it hard for me to get it long. I asked for a trim and sideswept bangs. I left with shoulder length hair and blunt, straight across my forehead bangs that I had to wear pinned back until they grew out.

    I cried the entire way home, sobbed on the phone to my mother, and (obviously) never went back.

    I feel your pain but at least it will grow back, and the color will fade (not that I think it looks bad!).

  20. DON'T GO BACK. The colour will wash out. DON'T LET HIM DO ANOTHER THING WITH IT.
    I have a mantra, and EVERYone knows it about me 'when your hair's shit, life is shit'. Its a major drama whenever I have to go and have a haircut. I get the burning and the pricks (high anxiety). They NEVER do what you ask them.
    But my mom says "You can always fix a swimming pool, and hair grows" (unrelated but two just of her wisdoms).
    Stephanie you have my absolute sympathy. Don't do that blowdried look, let it grow out and don't let anyone near it again to 'thin it out' or make 'layers'.
    Shit this makes me fucking furious. What's Phil say

  21. When you form the lynching mob, be sure to let us know where to meet, what time, and how many pitchforks to bring…. (-;

  22. Your hair really does look quite lovely with the new haircut, even if you don't like it.

  23. You're hair is still long and while it's a tad bright, henna fades quickly. But the cut/color itself isn't what shocked me about this post. What shocked me is that a LI born & bred girl & Manhattan single woman was intimidated by a French hair stylist in Texas. Repeat after me: French hairstylist in Texas. Dude probably has all the self esteem of a Lubavitcher in Tehran. I cannot understand why you left that salon without ripping him and his entire staff a new one, demanding a color correction and at least a 70% break on the entire price of the visit. This is not because you look bad; you look as pretty as always. It's because you are the customer. You didn't walk in there asking for ideas. You knew what you wanted, and your requests were not respected.

  24. I have curly hair, too, and got talked into swoop bangs (the new fix for older women, it makes us look younger (NOT!))…. bangs just do not work with curly hair….. it will grow (sigh). Really feel ya on losing the length… so sorry. And the color? Well, if you are not happy, then dispute the charges with AMEX and enrage the freak hairdresser. I truly believe you will receive some satisfaction from imagining him in absolute rage when he realizes his artistic hair talent was not appreciated. I am sure the word "merde" will be part of his response. Hell, I am already getting a chuckle out of it… have fun in Vegas!!!!!!!

  25. i saw the set on flickr and from those pics, the color isn't bad at all. i feel you a little more now that i've seen the pumpkin patch one… it's a little harsh. thank goodness it will wash out soon… and the length is good. but really…. you would be beautiful even if you were bald. :)

  26. Been there. Sucks. Mine was pink.

    On a positive note, your beans look absolutely adorable in their pumpkin costumes!!

  27. The first pic looks like Julia Roberts. The second pic is intense beacause of all the pumpkins. I had a bad experience too with red color — too bright, too wrong, etc. From then I only used henna and it does wash out quickly and is not damaging at all. Hang in there. Pretend your Madonna and this is just a temporary look and find a way to pull it off. One day your hair will be thin and brittle and you'll look back at these photos and wish for that much hair — no matter what color!

  28. I understand your frustration because your expectations were not met. However, I think your hair looks pretty good. 1st picture is definitely better than the 2nd, but I actually really like the length and think it will look even better with another 2 inches or so.

  29. I understand hair sensitivities. My hair has been a "trademark" of mine forever. But honestly, it looks the best I've seen it (in the pics you post) in that first picture. Really.

  30. it doesn't look that bad. BUT – don't go back to him to fix it!! do not trust this man any more with your hair!

    i bet las vegas has a ton of really nice, upscale salons – you could try having someone there "fix" it.

  31. call me crazy, but i wouldn't have paid for it in the first place. if you are unhappy when you leave a hair salon, there is nothing that can make you feel better. you are still beautiful, but if you see ronald mcdonald, you will feel like ronald mcdonald.

  32. I agree with you: the more natural red shade looks better on you. You can really see the difference by comparing the pumpkin photo with the small photo on the left side of the page. I would go to a color specialist and see if it's possible to tone down the red. Good luck!

    p.s. – you should call the salon and demand a refund. They didn't do what you wanted and you shouldn't have to pay for the service.

  33. You picked the two worst pictures. The ones on flickr are beautiful – especially when your hair is blown out. Granted the red is RED, but it will fade.
    And little miss Abigail is loving her tounge!

  34. I am telling you (and by you I mean ALL people with curly hair), you MUST try the devachan products. Google the salon and read up! They are fantastic. Everyone in my family has super curly hair and they only have their hair cut by devachan stylists (located all over the US with a base in Soho) and they only use devachan products. The compliments that they receive are endless! I wouldn't steer you wrong, people!

    as a side note- Stylists that don't listen to their customers should not be allowed to cut hair!

  35. Enough with this ego bolstering. That hair is bad. Stephanie you're cute, but the hair is for shit. You can do much better. You have complained previously about your hair looking like a country singer. Now with the bad dye job and the 70s layers, you scream Reba. Now go get that shit overhauled and bring back the killer Stephanie hair we all know and love. People, stop lying to a girl about her hair. It's bad.

  36. I have NEVER come out of a salon happy. I've cut and styled my hair all by myself … until now. My hair has been greying in a most dramatic fashion and I've enjoyed it so much but Now it's becoming drab and the texture is foreign and it's thinning and I don't know what to do. So I've been mentally gearing myself up for a visit to a salon to deal with this without coloring and after reading this I'm scared. Very scared

  37. Yeah, i'm in total agreement that you should not have paid, but since you did, you are 100% entitled to go back there and have them fix what they did wrong. With another stylist of course. No salon wants to perpetuate bad word of mouth, they will probably not give you a refund, but should offer to fix everything that you hate. If they don't………well, I can't imagine that they wouldn't once you get your claws into them.
    Go get Neutrogena clean shampoo and Prell if you can find it. Those two will strip the color out faster than any other shampoo. Just condition well. And wash with hot water. I've been a redhead and the same color you ended up. Not.pretty. I washed my hair religiously until the "happy meal" color faded.
    And as a girl with VERY curly hair, nothing annoys me more than when I go to a stylist who tells me that my hair is straight, not naturally curly. I'm sorry, but have hair stylist never heard of a FLAT IRON?
    Great pics of the kids and of your hair.

  38. At least you have a sense of humour about it! And I love that you wore orange, and took a picture with the kids in a pumkin patch too. Make lemonade, right?

  39. I think you have great hair, but I understand it wasn't what you were expecting. The color will tone down quickly, so I wouldn't sweat it.

    Last year my sister, who is also my stylist, gave me a mullet. She was talking to my fiance the entire cut, so she wasn't concentrating. I was so mad I made her come over that night to fix it. In order to do that she had to cut the rest of my hair to my chin. It actually looked cute when she was done, but I did sort of look like a twelve year old.

  40. i've really learned to stand my ground when it comes to hair…and while everyone may think it looks great, that isn't what matters.

    a while back, i wanted to get closer to my natural color, which meant darker. my stylist convinced me to use a golden brown (when my complexion is very pale with bluish undertones) because the golden one reflects light so much better. i still go to her because she had never let me down before, but i really hated it because it looked brassy to me. granted no one else thought so, but it drove me crazy. this time, i insisted on the ashy brown and i love it. she even agreed it looked great.

    even though stylists are the experts, you are the expert on you. request a refund and never go back because mr. frenchie should have been upfront about what to expect with the color and the cut.

  41. You obviously have healthy hair. Mine isn't as long as yours, nor is it red, but it is healthy and those of us who are blessed with this kind of hair know that it grows like a weed…..thank God. Don't do a thing. Let nature take its course. It'll grow longer, the henna will grow out, and by Thanksgiving when you're in New York you can go to your old hairdresser for the look you want. In the meantime, phone Amex & you'll feel better. Guaranteed.


  42. Stephanie,

    I have long curly hair similar to yourself. What kind of products do you use to keep your curls moisturized and healthy?


  43. I know it doesn't help to hear it when it's a cut you're not happy with, but your hair really does look beautiful. The same thing has happened to me with my tight wavy/loosely curly hair.

    Thank you for sharing the punkin picture. Those sweet babies!

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