Let’s be honest. A haircut is an excuse to stare at yourself in the mirror for 25 minutes. As the hair dresser circles around your chair like you are the sun in her solar system, you stare at sharpness of your cheekbones and admire precision of your eyebrows. Gently she runs the comb from your scalp down to the end of your luscious locks, smoothing the hair between her fingers and snipping away those unruly dead ends. She does this again, and again, and again. When she finishes you are no longer a customer in a chair who has paid $25 for a haircut. No. You are a Schwarzkopf model. You have stepped off the pages of Vogue and are ready walk down town as a celebrity, captioning fresh locks to that selfie you just popped up on Instagram.
This for some people, this is a haircut.
Apparently when God was mixing up my personality, his hand slipped and a whole lot of awkwardness, anxiousness and embarrassment fell into the pot. Getting a haircut is like going into a bakery. The lady comes over and asks “what can I get you today, dear?” After looking at all the pastries in the window, you realise that you don’t want any of them, quickly say “nothing thank you,” and run out of the store. Awkward. Right?
For me, this is a haircut: Twenty-five minutes of absolute torture.
The chairs are delightful. For one cloud nine moment, my haircut anxiety passes and I can swivel around in a circle blissfully on my bouncy seat. The dreaded haircut awkwardness begins when the hairdresser swiftly throws a coat over your shoulders, pinning it so tight around your neck that you feel like a puppy that is about to be walked. Not only does its tightness make you pant, the coat bunches in your lap allowing you to swim in synthetic sweat while the hairdresser snips and chops your hair.
According to The Spruce, personal space is different for everyone with some people needing more and others less. My hairdresser smashes through my personal space bubble with her pointy scissors, positioning her stubby self so close to the chair that she should be sitting on it instead of me. Snip. Snip. Snip. The awkwardness is enhanced as the hairdresser’s cat evidently ate her tongue for breakfast. It’s like the annoying itchy feeling you get when a tap is dripping, but you cannot turn it off. Instead of dripping, I hear snipping, and there is no conversation to silence the snip.
Whimsically I stare at myself in the mirror, counting the pimples on my face and then turn to the window watching the cars zoom past. Their passengers having somewhere to go, or someone to see. Snip. Snip. Snip. Watching the pieces of dead hair fall around my shoulders onto the floor, my thoughts meander back to last night. Like a slap across the face, the words “I forgot to wash my hair,” form in my mind. Oh. No. The redness works its way up across my jaw line, staining my light skin to beetroot: “Can she see the dandruff?”
Regardless of whether a haircut makes you feel like a socially anxious mess or a Vogue model, the haircut itself is still a haircut. You go in. You sit down. And a hairdresser cuts your hair. When your personal space feels threatened, your mind makes up all kinds of stories and a lot of these stories are not based on the truth.
Us awkward humans need to find a way to be confident, and the secret to confidence is believing in who you are and knowing that you are no different to any other customer who needs a haircut. Think about it. Would you really be the only one who forgot to wash their hair last night? Or the only one who thinks that the coat is too tight? Of course not. You have the same purpose (to get your hair snipped) and the same problems as everyone else in the room. So next time you get a haircut, remember what Dr Seuss said: You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.