Sunday, February 03, 2008

Rapunzel's Grumble

I, who went for over 30 years without haircuts, have hairdresser problems.

I started seeing Eric two years ago. To my surprise, he gave me a short haircut I liked so I continued to see him about every six months. I also took Flip there and he has gotten the best haircuts of his life from Eric.

The trouble started in June, although I didn't realize it at the time. They canceled my appointment because of a family emergency of Eric's right before I went to New York, so I looked shaggy while I was there. My family, accustomed to seeing me tripping over my tresses, probably didn't notice. I got my hair cut in July, after I returned.

Since then, the salon has changed my appointment, the same appointment, three times and I'm beginning to feel self-conscious. I am not a freak of nature, I'm clean, always pleasant to the people who work there, and I tip extremely well. So what's the problem?

Apparently, Eric requires extra time to cut my hair because there's a lot of it. Also, it's anarchic hair, although he would never admit it. I am not a primadonna, but my hair is. I don't want to cause trouble, but am I really to believe that all his other clients (except Flip) are half-bald?

I was supposed to see him, finally, this Wednesday at noon. He called yesterday to ask if I could come at 1:00 instead. I said I could. He promised to confirm our new time after speaking with the client ahead of me, but never did.

At this point, I'm beginning to feel that there is something wrong with me. Maybe Eric is being pressured to do more haircuts per day and they don't want him to take extra time with anyone, but his perfectionism should be a drawing card.

I don't want him cutting my hair if he's stressed so I called the salon to cancel my appointment and set up another when Eric has more time.

He wasn't working today but the receptionist offered to call him and get back to me, rather than canceling. She didn't.

I don't know if the mane event is on or off.

Three cancellations are a lot. The first was because his mother attempted to commit suicide and he had to go to Pennsylvania. The second was because he had a childcare problem, and the third is because ---??? He kind of lost me on this one. It seems to have something to do with the client before me who presumably is not as high maintenance as I am.

I am NOT a high maintenance person. I am not confident enough, rich enough or cool enough to be high maintenance, even if I were so inclined. Which I'm not.

I certainly understand and sympathize with family problems, but why do I keep getting moved around like a Chess piece?

Should I be grateful that someone will cut my hair for so much money plus tip? I don't get it.

Flip says that I take everything too personally. He's right. But it is my person who needs a haircut. Is that really too much to ask?


Nick said...

Very mysterious. They certainly seem to be giving you the brush-off but why? It makes no sense. I can only think you're right about the capitalist bit and they're trying to fit in more clients and make more cash. So why don't they just charge you a bit more or cut your hair a bit quicker? Yours, baffled.

jameil1922 said...

lol. i love that you did such a long post about this. i don't think you should necessarily be self-concious BUT you should definitely talk to him about it since he's your fave. you want your fave to like you back!

Sienna said...

It might be he is struggling with life and it's demands a little, you know how you can reach a certain stage of stress coming in, (which can manifest into so much different strokes-different folks) the next thing gets to look like a mountain...

....and if he is creative (he sounds quite artistic with hair-seriously), sometimes the creative souls may react differently to stresses in life than the less creative ones.

Does that make sense?

I think he would adore cutting your hair and talking to you and perhaps be thinking he wants the right time allocated to do it, not rush it through.

My guess is he is reacting to stress Hearts.

I have a back up plan for you to consider:

When my favorite hairdresser is smowed under I have a reserve hairdresser, a second favorite so to speak, actually it's three others, I can't help it I'm a hairdresser customer whore. (In a very nice way).

My hair is wild, it has a mind of it's own and can take a bit of imprinting and taming....

Eric sounds gorgeous.

Hope his life settles down a little.


Franki said...

Hmmmm, maybe he is doing this to all his clients? His life might just be in total disarray.

Maddy said...

Hmm, you might go to the top of the list pretty soon. I'd imagine he'd start losing customers if he carries on like that.
BEst wishes

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I'm baffled, too.

I think Eric must be especially stressed in his personal life with two small children and a mentally ill mother.

The first time he cut my hair, he took Three Hours! It was very long and there is a lot of it per square inch, apparently. Since then, it takes about an hour, give or take.


I do think he likes me, so he is probably having operational difficulties.


Eric is a perfectionist, as I mentioned. He is very good at what he does. (And that from the woman who was terrified of haircuts most of her life,) It would be hard to find another who is good with my hair, AND he now has Flip as a client so it would be awkward to go elsewhere.

I'm just glad I have you guys to vent to.


You're probably right. I hope it straightens out soon because he's a really nice person.


Good point. I may be more patient than most people because I've had such horrible experiences with haircuts in the past.

seventh sister said...

You seem to be assuming that you are being singled out to rescheduling. Maybe his other clients are getting the same treatment. If he is having personal problems that are causing him to treat folks this way, he will soon be having business problems as well.

All this talk about cutting hair reminds me of an animated short calle The Danish Poet. See it if you can.

meno said...

Haircut angst. Ugh!

Sounds very odd, but i can't imagine that it's about you.

Sometimes i think i should just shave my head and paint it blue.

Open Grove Claudia said...

I can so relate to this. I need a haircut but just can't deal with it. Hairdressers are flakey. He's probably started doing drugs or whatever else. Find someone else. After all, it's SF the home of great hair dressers!

Ian Lidster said...

I think Erik is simply too sensitive for words. Maybe he's in the wrong trade.
I'm fortunate with mine. Cindy has cut my hair for nearly 15 years. She's wonderful at it and I'm madly in love with her, so it's a good thing we're both very happily married or it just might cause complications in her tonsorial tasks.
I hope you get Erik straightened around.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


It's probable that Eric's personal problems are impacting his other clients, too. It just seems as if I am harder to fit in because apparently, it takes him longer to cut my hair as there is so much of it.

It is making me feel inadequate in some way, inferior to all the people with perfectly well-behaved hair.


Or maybe invest in a lot of cute hats.


NYC has its share of great hairdressers, too, and I have had ghastly experiences there. When I was in acting school, I was also modeling and went to someone very famous to have my tush-length hair cut to the shoulder.

The guy picked up a handful, saying "You have gorgeous har," and I relaxed. Then he took a straight razor and cut it off at the roots with about three slashes. It lay on the floor in all its glory and I looked like a little boy in drag.

I suspect he sold it to a wigmaker as it was "virgin" hair, no chemicals, dyes, anything in it.

Sometimes I cut it myself. My homemade haircuts are self-inflicted wounds but at least I'm not paying someone to make me look awful.

Anonymous said...

I think I'd walk. That's pretty inconsiderate and it seems you've been pegged as someone who will accept being shuffled at will. I think I'd ask him about it, and the answer doesn't suit and things don't change, you can walk. (Then again, I cut my own hair, so I may be more reliable than most when it comes to keeping my appointments.)

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I think Eric could use Cindy lessons.


That's what I'm afraid of. I've been sweet and accommodating about all the changes, and maybe now they think I have no life outside the hair chair.

I'm trying to decide whether to call tomorrow and cancel the appointment that I'm not sure I even have. It's just silly to be trying to outguess a hair salon.

My hair really prefers to be long anyway.

kimber the wolfgrrrl said...

Bizarre bizarre bizarre! Is it only you that gets the shuffle around?

Jocelyn said...

Time to check Eric's reciprocal loyalty and book with a different stylist at the same salon ("whoever's free at 2 on Thursday will be fine"). He'll notice.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


No way to know. I guess if they have thin hair that can be cut faster, they don't pose a scheduling problem.

But I'm not exactly the Yeti or anything.


I'm not that desperate for a haircut, and Flip goes to him now, too.

I'll probably cancel and look elsewhere. I have nice hair. They should be happy to have me. :)

Kapuananiokalaniakea said...

Hairdresser angst is the worst. I'm so sorry for you.

I used to have SHORT hair, but I grew it out because I just couldn't do the hairdresser thing anymore. Now, I get one of my daughter's to cut my hair -- yes, I do live on the edge! Actually, it's not really all that daring, my hair is curly, so it doesn't really matter whether or not it has been cut straight because it's impossible to tell.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Mine has been quite long most of my life because of my fear of hairdressers.

You're lucky yours is curly. Curly hair is so forgiving and hides mistakes well. Mine is wavy, and therefore the hardest to cut.

Mariposa said...

I don't get haircuts as fact, it is something like annual to me...LOL

Maybe has some problems...and they're not just telling you...maybe Eric is just having enough of hair lately...meant to make you laugh... ;)

I hope you get that appointment soon...or you get to have another alternative.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Okay, you may think that I am nuts (like everybody else)but I definitely smell a conspiracy.

It's elementary, Ms. Watson. The culprit is Flip! Yes, Flip, who secretly worships your long tresses and is distressed to see them cut short. He is paying Eric not to cut your hair. But do not come down heavily on Flip, dear Rapunzel, but rather appreciate this misguided romantic gesture.

Okay, can take me away now.

bleeding espresso said...

Hmmm something's rotten in the state of, um, Snipmark, but I doubt it's you personally. I'd feel like it was me, too, though FWIW.

Mes Deux Cents said...

Hi heart In SF,

I really have a lot of respect for people who are true professionals. Some people think that doing something and getting paid for it makes them a professional.

I don't agree, I think that a professional has certain standards that they maintain no matter what.

It's perfectly acceptable and expected that people will have personal issues occasionally. But it's not okay to leave your clients blowing in the wind.

My advice would be, if you really like this guy’s work, to have a sit down with Eric. Tell him your concerns and then make a decision based on his reply or lack of one.

That way you can get this out of the way. Going to a stylist should not be stressful.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Now that a simple haircut has become such a big deal, it feels like it's not meant to happen right now.


Ah, round up the usual suspect. Or maybe it's my cat, who likes to nest in it all night. (Now THAT'S a misguided romantic gesture.)


I distinctly heard a guy dressed like a prince pacing in Snipmark and muttering, "To cut or not to cut, that is the question."

I'm pretty sure it was Sniplet.

Deux Cents,

What you say makes a lot of um, cents. This is really good advice and I think I will talk to him. You're right - it shouldn't be stressful, especially since I have been given so many truly gruesome haircuts and Eric is one of the few stylists in my life I have come to trust.

Also, I am paying far too much to be made to feel like I'm imposing.

Thank you for your visit and your help.

WNG said...

It's unprofessional, Hearts. He's not doing his job. There's nothing for you to feel strange about at all, but I think you should tell him the next time you see/talk to him that he's making you feel a little uncomfortable and that if he can't fit you in you might have to go somewhere else. Sometimes it's the nice ones that get taken for granted. Me- I don't have that problem, I AM high maintenance :)

jali said...

It seems that you're the nicest of all his clients so that he finds it easy to cancel or reschedule your appointments since the "bitches" probably won't stand for it.

I think I'd ask him for a referral to another stylist so that he understands that he really CAN be replaced.

RED MOJO said...

It's terrible! It could just be chance, but, it is suspicious. Have you made them aware of how many reschedules you've been through? I hope you can work this out to everyone's satisfaction, but most importantly, yours!

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Please teach me all your secrets. I also suspect that I am being taken advantage of because I am too considerate. That's not right.

Anyway, I just canceled the appointment and got out of their hair.


You really know how to hurt a guy.

I decided that I didn't need a haircut that badly if it's going to be such a problem.

(Maybe they don't cut my kind of hair there.)


I just did. See above.

Besides, it's winter. What was I thinking? My neck will thank me.

seventh sister said...

"...all the people with perfectly well-behaved hair"

and who on the planet are these people?

Can we buy tickets or do we get to see them for free? I thought that they had disappeared with the lacquerd bouffants and flips which were held in place with so much hair spray that they looked like helments.

Melanie said...

now thats just weird. hard not to take it personally after three tries!!

yikes. i hope eric returns its hard to find new hairdressers!

heartinsanfrancisco said...


FLIP has perfect hair. He could run for president on his hair alone.

You can view him anytime you like for free. You know where to find him.


I'm over it. Besides, once you start getting haircuts, you have to keep getting them. That's a lot of time in which I could be doing something better, like reading or walking on the beach.

MsLittlePea said...

I get the same way. But all those appointment changing would irritate me enough to shop for a new hair dresser. You're not the only one in the world with thick hair, I imagine they have 100s of clients with thick hair.(I'm of the thin haired variety but that's not what I was getting at) It's a little unprofessional of them to do that to you. I can certainly understand the first reschedule because of a serious family problem but 2 more plus needing to consult with another customer before even confirming a time for you? Like you don't have a busy life too. I stopped going to a hairdresser who was making tons of money from me and my husband when he decided to just leave one day because I called and said I was going to be five minutes late. Did he think he was punishing me? He's the one not getting my big tips anymore, how-bout that mister? And I'm vain about my hair, thus the big tips for a good job, so there! But I've gone off my point again. Oh what was my point, I forgot? Oh yeah, you're not being neurotic at all, I would feel the same way only a little bitchier. But I've got some baggage, as you have probably assessed. I guess I should mention that I feel bad for him having had such a sad thing to go through with his mother though so maybe we should cut him a little slack.

Josie said...

Hearts, I had that happen to me once, and I got very contrary and found another hairdresser, which just happened to be much better, and welcomed me as a client. You're the customer, but it sounds as if Eric is about to lose a good customer.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Sweet Pea,

I do sympathize with his personal problems but I shouldn't be penalized for them.

Wondering if my appointment was on or off began to seem bizarre. It wasn't a job interview or a marriage proposal -- it was a haircut. I just wasn't willing to think about it anymore.


I wonder if he'll call me when he comes in on Wednesday and learns that I canceled.

We seemed to have a good rapport, but I've broken up with people who were much closer to me.

the walking man said...

I never understood why people, women in particular are so loyal to the person that cuts their hair.

Jaysus, Bob's barber college is right around the corner.



Christy said...

Wow, I would be insulted, I wouldn't go back to him. Though this is coming from a girl who hasn't been to a salon in five years. I cut my own hair in front of a mirror, lots of guestimating. Lol.

NoRegrets said...

It's just bad customer service. And if you express it, hopefully they will fix.

but you might want to use deodorant next time you go. :-) Just kidding!

TIV: the individual voice said...

Is it only me, but I don't want to know if a family member of my haircutter tried to kill herself. That's just too much information. Maybe because I'm a therapist and I get enough of that at work. I think of a haircut as a break from work. This place is not a break. Find another place. Nothing is worth this.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


In my case, it's because I've had so many really dreadful haircuts that if someone doesn't make me look worse than I did going in, I appreciate it.


At least your hairdresser has your best interests at heart, and she is always ready when you are.

No Regrets,

Thanks for the tip. I'm not sure they could tell if I smelled bad with all the hair spray going on around there. You think it's easy holding my breath for over an hour?


I do so little self-pampering that it should be a break and not require me to go into comforting unpaid-therapist mode. I'm so glad you pointed that out!

Los Angelista said...

So odd on his part and unprofessional on the part of the salon. If they say they're going to call you, they should! I'd talk to him and I'd also talk to the owner of the salon. He/she may not be aware that the receptionist isn't following through.

My hair dresser quit her salon to become a custodian and UCLA. I can't say I miss her all that much though.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


She would rather clean toilets than cut hair?

If that's the case, I don't think I would miss her much either.

I have no idea who owns the salon. They have at least a dozen stylists and serve champagne with tiny cupcakes.

Tanya Brown said...

This is a vexing situation. Would you feel comfortable being somewhat direct with Eric and/or the salon and asking if there's a problem?

I doubt there's anything "wrong" with you, although having one's appointment rescheduled three times would certainly make one feel uncomfortable.

At a minimum, this salon isn't being terribly businesslike.

Anonymous said...

I feel your pain, a great cut is hard to get and when you get it, you want to continue! Of course this seems to be an issue for you. I hope it gets resolved and you are happy with your hair again.

la cubana gringa said...

Not sure about Eric, but if you need a recommendation for a stylist in the city, I've got one! I have VERY thick, curly when wet, frizzy when foggy, unmanageable hair and I LOVE LOVE LOVE my hairdresser!

heartinsanfrancisco said...


If Eric calls me, I will tell him of my concerns. If not, then I'll assume he doesn't care either.

I'm not angry with him, just a bit put off by the flakiness of everyone involved.


Well, haircuts are not a high priority for me. I liked Eric's work, but I'm just as happy keeping it long for awhile.

La Cubana,

I would absolutely love a recommendation. Thank you!

Maria said...

I didn't realize how incredible it is to have someone who understands your hair until I lost my hair cutter. (She moved to New York.) Now, I am floundering around, flitting from salon to salon, trying to find someone who can deal with my hair, which I don't think is THAT bothersome. So...hey, maybe there are a lot of us out there.

And, btw, thanks for visiting. I'm Maria. Nice to meet you, hair and all.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I don't think my hair is so bothersome either.

I just read several of your past posts but didn't leave comments so you wouldn't have to answer them. You're a terrific writer, and I love your blog.

Thanks for visiting!

Odat said...

This is all very strange....I would find someone else.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I was holding out hope that Eric would call me to discuss it when he saw that I had canceled, but he didn't. There is no telling what the receptionists might have told him, but I'm not going back.

It's probably all a misunderstanding, but who needs this kind of intrigue at the beauty parlor?

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Uh, perhaps the problem is neither yours nor your mane. Maybe it’s Eric’s.

I know how difficult it is to find an acceptable hair stylist—and I ain’t got much hair. So I hope it works out for you with Eric.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

St. Nick,

My hair is growing, even as we speak.

The desert island shipwrecked look is in.

Craze said...

Wow, I think I'd be feeling a little self conscious myself.

eastcoastdweller said...

Sounds like You really need to have a good, honest talk with this guy.

I can understand Your attachment. My Sweetie has been going to the same hairdresser since before we met, even though he's moved his location four times.

I honestly think She'd be lost if something happened to him.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I didn't like feeling that way so when I get tired of long hair, I'll find someone else.


Attachment is too strong a word in this case. I've had some really bad haircuts including from very famous salons in NYC, so when I get a good one it's out of the norm and I try to return to such a person.

But my good feelings are gone for this place.

Molly said...

OK. It's been a week. The suspense is killing us! Time for an update......

The CEO said...

It's worth talking to him about when you can. My partner has been tied up in three different law suits, one being his divorce, and he has not been available to his clients. One called me, complained bitterly, and left. I made her feels a little better, and told her that I wanted her for a client after I finished getting registered, trying to make her feel better. When the partner gets things cleared up, I am hoping we get her back. With legal issues, you're generally barred from discussing things.

Good luck, competence is a rare commodity.

Open Grove Claudia said...

Hey, I tagged you to give 3 pieces of writing advice. I'm dying to know what you will say....

heartinsanfrancisco said...


An update? My hair is still growing, and I expect it to continue in the foreseeable future.


Thanks, but it wasn't a mortal wound and I'm over it.

Competence IS rare, but it seems that decent customer service is even moreso.


I saw that you did. I'm dying to know what I come up with, too. I'm no expert, but sometimes I fake it well.

riseoutofme said...

Have you thought about taking the law into your own hands?

Cut it yourself ... you might be pleasantly surprised at the result ..

If not, its still growing ... and hats are always an option ...

Molly said...

I have a challenge for you, while your hair continues to grow! stop by when you have a minute....

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

So? Did you ever get the cut of your lifetime from the Phantom Cosmetologist?

Scarlett & Viaggiatore