This month we’re getting a little personal, as Di shares what being a hairdresser means to her.
Sometimes being a hairdresser is like living out the Kenny Rogers song Through the Years. One day a client brings baby Sally for her very first hair cut. Before I know it, I go from cutting Sally’s wispy baby bangs out of her eyes to trimming her shoulder length hair for preschool, and then giving her her first cute bob for her class portrait. Before I know it, I’m doing her hair for her very first school dance, then her first homecoming. Junior prom. Senior prom. High School graduation. When Sally comes home from college she’s ready for a new style – and maybe a new color too. I cut her hair before her first big date. Then one day I’m pulling it back in an elegant twist for her wedding. And the cycle continues, as one day Sally brings her own little baby to Thanx.
As a hairdresser, I’m privileged to share in so many milestones of a person’s life. Clients come to me when they want to look their best – for dates, holidays, and special occasions – or just because. Because they’re ready for a change or they need a little self-care boost.
They also come to me on a regular old Thursday, because it’s time for a trim or to refresh their color. And during those run-of-the-mill appointments they share what’s going on in their lives, both the good and the bad. I hear about job troubles and job changes. Promotions and disappointments. The joys and struggles of a newly blended family. Sometimes I prepare them for a second wedding. We talk about trips they’ve taken. What they’re looking forward to. Funny stories about their beloved pets. My salon chair is a safe space where they can share what’s on their heart and mind. Vent a little if they need to. Laugh some of their troubles away. Emotional bonds are formed as we spend so much time together on a regular basis.
According to Dr. Lew Losoncy, the founder of the Psy-Cosmetology movement, physical bonds are formed as well. Physical touch releases endorphins, which create a natural bond between two human beings. Of all the professions licensed to physically touch another person, hairdressing is the least invasive. No one’s taking off their clothes in the salon! But the gentle touch to someone’s hair and head creates a bond between client and hairdresser that I take extremely seriously.
Recently I lost a client that I’ve known for almost thirty years. There were nearly 2,000 people at her celebration of life. This outstanding woman of faith used her life to reflect God’s love onto others. As a former kindergarten teacher, students she’d taught years, even decades ago, came to pay their respects. Some relatives traveled all the way from England. Other guests were members of her church family.
I considered her a friend. But as I watched the slideshow of her life, it hit me that I was more than that. I had a different connection to her than anyone else. I recognized every hairstyle in the slideshow. I had done her hair for her daughter’s wedding. I’d been her confidant when she needed to vent, and we’d been able to celebrate so many wonderful things together. And no one else had any idea that I knew her so well.
It’s a wild ride to be part of someone’s life like that. And I can say the same of many of my regulars. Most people know that hairdressers are in the people business, but it goes so much deeper. I graduated from beauty school in 1983 and was licensed in 1984. Most of my oldest relationships (besides my mother) are with my clients. I’ve done some of my original clients’ hair for almost 40 years! We’re growing old together.
I’m so honored by all the ways I get to touch people’s lives – and grateful for the way they touch mine in turn. As the circle of life continues, Thanx is here to help you celebrate your special occasion, whether that’s prom, your wedding, or any time you want to feel a little fancy. But we’re also here to bring some extra pampering and relaxation to all those regular days in between, and to listen to whatever you want to share.
Thank you for allowing Thanx to touch your life!
This post was written by Amy Miller, freelance writer and Thanx superfan. You can find out more about her writing services and her personal writing journey at her blog: A Novelist’s Guide to Rewriting Your Life.