Sometimes, when a lady is frustrated with her hair, she must do something about it right now. The other night, my regular place couldn’t take me, so I went someplace new. This wasn’t really a problem for me, because I don’t particularly like my regular salon. They are simply the place that has the formula for the hair color I want.
I told the new stylist what my hair color formula is, not knowing if they use the same line of products. She said, “Yes, I know the formula, but that isn’t what your hair color is. That will be lighter than what you have now.”
I didn’t want lighter hair, so I went with her recommendation. I had a bad feeling about it, though. And I could tell as soon as it was on my head that it would be too dark. After the application, she came back with a pen and paper, asking for my contact information so that she could keep the formula on file.
“I don’t want the formula on file,” I said. “I can already tell it is too dark.”
Immediately, she became defensive and said that she did exactly what I said and that the dye always darker out of the bottle. As if I am somehow new to this game.
I replied. “And it is fine for now. But if I return, this is not what I want recorded for my color.”
She went off and pouted for so long that I was afraid she wasn’t coming back. Finally, as she was rinsing my hair she said, “You know it really will get lighter and I think you will be very happy.”
I was right and she was wrong and I left angry. But I wasn’t even angry with her. I was angry because I didn’t assert myself, as the client, in the first place. I allowed myself to be led by the “expert” professional (who I now suspect didn’t have the knowledge or confidence to mix formulas as I had described).
When I was 19 and having major anxiety about going to the dentist, my father said, “You are the client. No one can touch you without your consent. If you aren’t comfortable, you get up out of the chair and walk out the door.”
Of course, I have never actually done that. But when I remind myself that I can get up and leave, it makes it much easier to assert myself. How I manage to do that with the dentist, and not with a kid working in a salon is totally beyond me.