I wish I had married a hairstylist….

Imagine if Albert Einstein had had a hair stylist? Actually, let’s hope he didn’t because the results were quite alarming.  Imagine the Yelp review?  Wow, no coming back from that.  Einstein’s unique locks have been nearly as noteworthy and recognizable as his name. Trends in fashion are constantly changing but one thing is for sure that styles always seem to come back in vogue. Well, here we are, and the moment is now. Many of us are emulating Einstein’s look not by want but by circumstance.  Just attend a Zoom meeting and you will know what I mean. The COVID beard phenomena is a topic for another day. There is just too much to say about that….

No matter how smart and capable we are our hair has become a great distraction. In the beginning of the pandemic we were still riding on our last cut and color appointments. Everything was fairly manageable if you know what I mean?  Some of us refuse to accept the “sparkles” a term my brilliant adult niece and PHD coined to discuss gray hair in an email with me and my sister.  This topic lead to many critical back and forth emails about how best to deal with the “situation.” Flashing through my mind were the many Instagram posts by Scout Hair Design in White River Junction, Vermont also the salon I frequent. The message stated and frequently reinforced was to hold out and let the professionals deal with hair color. No box dye at any cost or during an insecure and panicked moment!!!!! Even a fabulous video from one of the owners on how to wear scarfs and headbands. I have googled on many occasions how best to let one’s hair go gray. In my “normal life” I would never have even considered the possibility, but these are different times. Could I embrace the gray? I know it is not of particular import right now, nor a truly big deal either way but just not for me…

Hair has always been an issue for me. Like most traumas in life my hair insecurity started in my childhood. My mother whom I loved dearly and believe she loved me as well would cut my hair. Invariably my mother would cut my bangs the night before class pictures. She would cut them while they were wet never accounting for the major cowlick, I had creating a most unflattering dramatic angle sweeping across my forehead once they dried.  How many of you can remember the image of the dentist in the animated film Rudolph the Red -Nosed Reindeer? Yep, now you understand. Anyway, each grammar school photo eve my mom would get out the fine-tooth plastic comb and Singer silver scissors. After shampooing my hair with Prell in our deep well porcelain kitchen sink I would dutifully sit on a wooden kitchen chair with a hand towel cradling my shoulders while she cut my bangs. Each year, each photo resembled the year’s before with a post recess glow enhancing the wildness of my hair and spirit. I know she loved me, but I was the third child, so time was limited and precision a luxury. 

So even though I may spend most of my waking hours in running and painting clothes and wearing little or no make-up my hair is always an issue. I am not even a vain person and more days than not I am pretty darn casual BUT hair is my Achilles heel. It is not a vanity thing just a hair thing. It is no wonder that I grow attached to my hairstylist and salon. I always make my next appt before I even leave the salon and sometimes, I make two future appts just in case. I leave nothing to chance. I would rather cancel a medical appointment than a hair appointment…

I have seen many social media images of husband’s helping their wives color their hair while quarantining together. Keeping a little mystery has apparently gone by the wayside while we are in the trenches together.   I don’t know but at this point a little mystery is all I have left and hoping to preserve it.   I will let the professionals handle my color. I did contact my stylist Danielle who is a co-owner of Scout Hair Design to check in and talk hair for a little bit. A reprieve from pandemic conversations even though in our best efforts it is ever present. Danielle is always patient, pleasant, gracious and eager to help. She asked me a few questions about the condition of my hair currently. We chatted about my concerns, my well water which is hard water etc. and the impact on my hair.  She chose a few products to get me through the next period of time until we can meet again in person.  We determined a time for me to drive by the salon and pick up my new products. I pulled up in front of the beautiful salon opened just over a year ago and currently displaying hopeful homemade signs that colorfully decorated the storefront windows.  Out popped co-owner Cori with her mask in place carrying my bag of salon product goodies. I was so happy to see her, and we exchanged brief but heartfelt pleasantries through our stylish facial masks practicing socially distancing curbside. The Aveda products recommended for me are amazing and while they don’t solve any of the problems, we are facing they did provide a mental pick-me-up and greatly benefited my hair.

Many of our stylists are also small business owners. We have never had to imagine our lives without hair salons or barbers until recent months. We have previously been able to take for granted their many talents as they creatively work to make us the best possible version of ourselves. Hard work. Currently and most recently they have experienced great challenges since closing their doors due to the pandemic and now new challenges are upon them as they prepare to re-open and resume business in a very different world. 

We often don’t appreciate something until it is gone. I am not sure how much we all realized how dramatically our lives were going to change when we first learned of the corona virus…how could we have?  We have since learned just how delicate it all is…a house of cards if you will. 

I would like to end with a quote from Cori during an interview I did with both women around the opening of their salon a year and a half ago:

                 “We are all doing better when we are all doing better.”

Thank you, Cori, little did we know that your quote from nearly two years ago would be even more profound today…

                      Support the local businesses that support us…

Author: Elizabeth Ricketson

A graduate of Providence College with a BA in English, Elizabeth Ricketson has always had a love of literature and the fine arts. Elizabeth’s essays focus on life experiences and life in Vermont.

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