Tag Archives: haircuts

I Did A Really Stupid Thing


Oops.  I did a really stupid thing.  I was driving around doing errands on Saturday when I looked into the rear view mirror and saw how ghastly my hair looked.  I was in the middle of a hair emergency without an appointment.  I haven’t been happy with my stylist lately, and in fact I’ve been shopping around.  I’m tired of paying a lot, and not being satisfied.  All that to say, I ended up driving to the nearest cheap hair salon I spotted on the highway, and walked in.

After all, aren’t all the stylists in those kind of places recent grads who know the latest techniques?  Aren’t they just working at these cheap places to get experience, build up a clientele, and move on?

I walked in.  “Hi, can someone cut my hair now?”

Behind the desk, the receptionist, sporting a great haircut, looked up.

“Sure.  Give me your coat and take a seat.  I’ll get Terry (not her real name).”


Sitting in Terry’s chair, I looked around.  The place was dumpy, looking like the low-end salon it was.

Out walks Terry smelling badly from cigarette smoke.  Her face was covered with deep wrinkles and when she smiled, she was missing a few teeth.  I won’t bother to detail the many different colors of her hair ranging from burnt orange to caramel.

OMG.  I had a sick feeling in my stomach as I sat in Terry’s chair, a prisoner, held hostage by my own stupidity.  It was too late to turn back.

I tried to imagine the best case scenario.  Maybe she was a recovering addict from NYC and came to the mountains to get her life back together.  She wouldn’t be the first.  Or maybe she was a super stylist from NYC.  Anything was possible.

“Is that a natural curl?” she asked.

“Yes, and I happen to have a photo of the cut I like in my wallet.”  I handed the photo to Terry.

She looked at it for a second.

“No problem.  I’m great with curly hair, been cutting hair in Asheville since 1994.  Raised four kids as a single mom cutting hair.”

“Ever been to New York?”  I could only hope.

“Never been out of Asheville.  Never had the desire.”

“Never.  Not even for a visit?”


“Nope.  I’m gonna  cut your hair dry.  It’s the best way to cut curly hair.”

I knew that was a fair statement and such technique existed, so I did not argue with Terry.

Chop, chop, chop.  Terry cut away until I was left with a short pixie.

“What do you think?  I think that looks about right.”  Terry picked up the photo and held it up to the mirror next to my image. “What about color?  We use a very good color here.”

I could not speak.

“Would you like to schedule your next appointment?”

“Next appointment?  Oh, well, I won’t be needing a next appointment until April – 2013.”

How far would you drive for a great AFFORDABLE haircut?


How far you would drive for a great AFFORDABLE haircut?  Would you drive 2.5 hours?  I confess, I did exactly that.  Included in that haircut was color to banish the gray, a few caramel-colored highlights that my sister says is needed to lighten up the face, and since I had to wait for the color anyway, I went ahead and had my eyebrows waxed.  So there, I drove 2.5 hours up and over the mountains (round-trip) from Asheville, NC to Unicoi, TN for a day of high maintenance.  On the way, I picked up my friend Betty in Marshall where we had breakfast  at Zuma’s before heading out to the Dragonfly Salon.

Me, Betty and Zuma's

“Why do it?, my husband asks.  “You’re crazy.  You mean to tell me there is not one hairdresser in all of Asheville who can cut your hair?”  Of course there is, but I don’t feel like paying two hundred dollars every time I need a cut and color.  You see, I was spoiled by Mari, who is not only a great haircutter and colorist, but does it very affordably.

The Infamous Dragonfly Salon in Unicoi, TN
Me and Mari - the process begins

When Mari first moved to Tennessee I told myself I would never drive to another state for a haircut.  That was before I spent two years in search of the perfect hairdresser, stopping women everywhere asking them who cut their hair and how much they paid.  I had no shame.  I want to tell you, no one has ever accused me of being cheap.   I completely support stylists getting as much as they can for their haircuts.  It’s just that I can’t pay those big city prices, and let’s not forget that the economy tanked and without any cost of living increase over the last three years, my salary has been going down instead of up.  And yes, I’m happy to have a job – no whining here.

So, after considerable introspection, I embarked on the Big C (the big compromise).  I opted to go local and accept a mediocre haircut and color at half the price.  That lasted for two years until my mediocre stylist turned what was supposed to be brown hair (with caramel highlights) totally blond.  I screamed.  I had no one to blame but myself.  Why did I tell her to leave her lazy husband who hadn’t worked for two years and forced her to pay the mortgage, the loan for his houseboat, and his kid’s vacation at Disneyland?   No doubt, my blond hair was  punishment for giving out free advice when not asked!

So that’s how I ended up driving 2.5 hours to Tennessee with my good friend Betty,  only to return to North Carolina at 4:00 in the afternoon, nicely coiffed and colored.  And in case you’re wondering why I  just don’t go gray, let me tell you, if the economy gets any worse, I will have to because I won’t be able to afford the gas.

Annice and Betty looking good!