You are really excited about this haircut. You’ve heard amazing things about this stylist. You’ve been waiting patiently for today.
You shake hands when you meet. Their handshake is firm, reassuring. You know, in the core of you, you have made the right decision.
They’ve got a great personality, you know you won’t have to engage in the dreaded awkward small talk you always do. They confirm that you want a cut, and you explain a little before they have you sit down.
There’s laughter. There’s chatting. You are comfortable and carefree, and completely at ease.
But then, as you’re talking, something starts to feel… different. You notice something that seems… off track from what you outlined to them. But no, that can’t be right. It’s just the lighting. You’re being silly. It’s fine.
But your expression betrays you.
You’re their client. They value you. They know what they’re doing.
Another strange snip that cuts far too short and seems it couldn’t possibly work into what you described you wanted.
You stiffen. You glance at the photo you brought in. “Just some layers, right?” You ask nervously. You are visibly uncomfortable.
“Yeah, Yeah,” They acknowledge your question, but it sounds dismissive.
Still. They said they got it. Maybe… you have to trust–
Out of the corner of your eye, you think you saw them grab a razor.
No. You’re their client. You are safe. You are valued. They don’t want to upset you, they’re following what you asked for. Don’t be silly.
You feel guilty for being uncomfortable, but your eyes still sting a little.
And then it happens. That definitive buzz where you know… they weren’t listening to you at all. They had an idea in their head how your hair should look, how that appointment should go, and hadn’t considered to care beyond that.
You know you have a choice at this point. You could get up, bedraggled and traumatized and likely sever relations with this stylist, the salon, and probably the friend who recommended them.
Or you could lie to yourself.
This is fine.
This is what you wanted.
This is fine.
You feel uncomfortable, and ugly. You’re ashamed for not saying more sooner (as if you could have known), and guilty because you feel that if you’re honest, you’re going to hurt this person you admire.
They finish and you struggle to make eye contact with them or your own reflection. You force a smile because you can’t lie to yourself without doing so.
It’s not fine.
You can’t look in any mirror.
It’s not fine, but you pay and tip well even though they blatantly disregarded your wishes.
And you do it all so you can leave as fast as you can.
And you try to convince yourself… it’s not a big deal. They didn’t ignore you, you probably should have said more. Spoken louder. Just left.
It’s fine… it becomes the mantra you repeat. The one that stops you from flinching immediately at your own reflection.
For most people, this is not a foreign experience.
But for a lot of people? It’s not about a goddamn haircut.