Last Christmas, I made the mistake of letting my new hair stylist, Jean Charles, color my hair.
Jean-Charles, aka JC, is a 50-something Frenchman who dresses in expensive tailored clothes and uses a relaxer to tame his brown, curly hair. Even though he's lived in the United States half of his life, his French accent is still intact. I would not call him modest--he proudly displays pictures of himself competing in the Iron Man Triatholon at his station. At least it gives us something to talk about.
Halfway through cutting my hair for the first time last fall, he shoved a picture book in my lap and started talking about different coloring options. I was interested because I was tired of looking in the mirror and seeing my rapidly increasing gray hair glint merciless at me. The hair cut he gave me put me over the edge--it was the best one I've had in years. I booked a cut and color for my next appointment.
The color lived up to my first haircut. I loved my reddish brown hair with golden highlights instead of drab brown and unforgiving gray. But after five weeks, the grays poked through, and I got worried. I splurged on a cut AND color because it was Christmas, this was a gift to myself, blah, blah, blah. But I can't afford to do this every 10 weeks, and I had a feeling JC thought differently.
Sure enough, at my next hair appointment, JC talked about coloring my hair again. "Zee color has held up well, but I see zee grays," he said. I muttered something about getting my hair colored next time, and he dropped it.
In the meantime, I grabbed a box of Revlon Colorist hair dye in medium brown at Walgreens, and colored my hair one night. Not bad, I thought, as I inspected my rinsed hair. There's no golden highlights, but at least the gray is gone. I felt empowered--I can make the gray disappear for $70 less than it would cost to have JC do it.
At my next appointment, JC tried to take matters in his own hands. He pulled out dye samples and said, "Maybe we should go a little redder this time." It took me a second to register what he was doing. "I only made an appointment to get my hair cut today," I said. "Oh," he muttered, and made a weak attempt to look at his schedule. "I thought it said cut and color." What nerve! Then, as he was cutting my hair, he looked at it more closely. "Have you been dying your hair?" he asked. I gulped and said no, but he knew I was lying. The shame I felt mingled with outrage that I was put in this position in the first place.
It's been a few weeks since our awkard conversation, and I don't know if I'll go back to JC. I love how he cuts my hair, but the damage to our stylist/client relationship has been done. The real reason I'm there--to pay JC for as many services as possible--is no longer hidden under gossomer flattery. If only I had discovered Revlon Colorist before I met JC, then I wouldn't have tempted him to the edge of no return.