The Psychology of Hair

Unless you’ve actually worked as a cosmetologist, you would never realize that this occupation is 5% styling hair and 95% psychiatry.

It amazes me that cosmetology schools don’t include a basic psychology course as part of their training program.

They don’t even mention the fact that when you get out of school and start working in this profession, you’ll be touching the heads of people who are severely delusional.

I used to have a "magic wand" at my hair styling station for when a client would ask me to cut their hair, which would usually resembled a Chia Pet to look like either a movie star or a super model. I would literally take the wand, tap them on the head and say, “Not unless this wand will produce a miracle.”

My favorite clients where the ones who brought me in about 10 magazine clippings from VOGUE, ALLURE or HARPER'S BAZAAR on how they wanted their hair to look when I got finished with it. The clippings were always professional models who had been air-brushed and digitally mastered. Now, the reality of this was that the client wanted to BE these models. I finally got to the point were I bluntly started telling my clients, “If you decide to bring me in any magazine clippings, please be sure to use white-out on the faces before you show them to me, because I can only cut your hair…not perform cosmetic augmentation.”

Not only is this occupation riddled with unrealistic physical manifestations, but it’s also about having to listen to a clients personal problems. On the average, a stylist will usually see 8-10 people a day. So that’s 8-10 hair services, coupled with 8-10 psychology sessions.

I knew I was getting close to my “swan song” in this business, when one day a client said to me, “I know it’s only been 2 weeks since my last haircut, but I had to get in to see you because I’ve been an emotional mess and needed to talk to you, Ron.”

(oh, you mean…Dr. Ron?)

Finally, that day came when I had a new client who could not make up her mind about how she wanted her hair to look. I cut and blew it dry TWICE. She was a foreigner, so we had a bit of a language barrier, but I had been cutting hair long enough to know when someone shows me with their fingers, just how much length they want cut off. She wasn't exactly sure what she wanted, so I guess she figured, “Oh, well…let me just see what it looks like at various lengths.

After cutting it for the second time the demon within me SNAPPED!

(I totally lost it)

Without even thinking, I ripped the cutting cape off from around her neck and then grabbed her purse off the counter; handing it to her, saying, “You don’t owe me any money for this appointment, but kindly remove yourself from the salon.”

(she blinked…then blinked again)

All the other stylists in the salon suddenly stopped cutting hair.

(you could hear a pin drop)

She looked at me and said, “Excuse me?”

I reiterated.

She said, “I want hair cut, sir!”

I said, “No, your haircut is finito…bye!”

She looked at me with a stern face and said, “You VERY mean man!”

I looked at her with a smile and said, “Yes, I agree, but you VERY confused woman”

After she left I picked up the phone and called the owners of the salon, giving my two weeks notice.

I let my license expire and never looked back.

However, I HAVE learned something very valuable from this experience.

I would rather eat thumbtacks and glass…than style another head of hair!!!



26 comments

  1. *chuckling*

    Dr. Ron. LOL

    Ya know, I have an understanding with the little gal who cuts my hairs.
    She cuts, I listen..... AND there's no charge!
    (for my listening, of course...LOL)

    Heck, my shingle is always out.
    It's just a part of the deal, methinks.

    But alas.....no magic wand....
    I DO, however, have fairy dust!
    :-)

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  3. I knew I was going to love you, and I was so right!! I wish I was in the room when that all came down. Good for you about folding those cards and moving on!

    Interesting about hair..I stopped coloring mine a few years ago. I decided I just wanted to be natural..more about health and happiness. My hair is in a straight bob cut, and I have gray silver streaks right in the front. People always ask where I "had it colored"..hee, hee. Sometimes I can tell they don't believe me when I tell them nature did it.

    I am looking forward to your coming vents. :)

    Love, Light, & LAUGHTER,

    ~gypsy heart

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  4. Morning Gypsy-Heart!

    I wish I had had a video camera at the time...I would of liked to "recorded" that moment..and then sell copies to people who were planning on going to BEAUTY SCHOOL!!!!

    Oy Vey!

    GOOD GIRL...GO NATURAL!!!! I happen to LOVE gray hair (either on woman or men). I had all my clients who had gray hair, eventually STOP coloring it, and go La Natural! And a "straight bob cut" is classic...and ALWAYS in style!!!

    So there you go, classic lady!

    Thanks for dropping in to say HI, Gypsy-Heart...always a joy!

    Dr. Ron

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  5. Morning Mel!

    Oh, man....LUCKY girl is she!

    And so wonderful of you to be a listener. I wish you had been one of my clients, Mel!

    You made a wonderful point here! I too think my "shingle" is always out...that's why everyone in this city just walks up to me (morning, noon or night) and starts talking about their life!

    So you see...the SAGA continues!

    (I'm just not standing there with sissors in my hand)

    And like you...it must be part of the deal!

    Hey, that "fairy dust" just gave me an idea. I think I have some left-over Christmas glitter. Maybe I'll carry some in my back-pack, and then when someone starts talking to me, and I'm not in the mood...I'll throw some at them and POOF....gone!

    Thanks, Mel!

    You ALWAYS make me smile.

    Grassy-ass,
    Dr. Ron, Phd.

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  6. That was a riot!

    I've never understood the whole physcotherapy in a salon bit. On one hand you have people pouring out their marraige woes and such. Then in the chairs on either side of them you have the rumor mill twins having their hair styled.

    Always seemed like a volitile combo to me.

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  7. Oh and I was just going to ask if you could fit me in for a cut and blow!

    I already knew you'd been a hairstyling, I think you mentioned it in another post. I wanted to be a hairstylist too instead I became a shorthand typist! How the f did that happen???? :(

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  8. Hey Jeff~

    Oh, man...you are SO RIGHT, buddy!!!

    The "RUMOR MILL TWINS"....that freakin' cracked me up!!!

    (and usually they had very BIG ears)

    Let me tell you...I've seen some pretty amazing salon fires!

    (between stylist and client...and also stylist and stylist)

    Maybe it's all that HAIR SPRAY!@!?#

    Good to see ya, Jeff...enjoy your Monday!

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  9. Morning Akelamalu~

    Oh...Oh...you should be SOOOO happy that you went to school to become a "shorthand typist."

    (the Universe was watching out for you!)

    I actually DID learn a lot about myself and other people, through being a stylist...but damn...sure glad I'm not doing it anymore!

    And hey...I would be honored to cut and blow dry your hair (but only YOU, Akelamalu...only YOU!)

    Thanks for stopping by, fine lady!

    Dr. Ronald, DDS

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  10. Bravo, Ron. Really enjoyed that.

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  11. Ron,

    You have a great way of expressing yourself here. I read, reread and then read this again. I love the smile that came to my face at the expense of your past venture. I guess you old profession was a real heady one. Not cut out to what we think it is, is it? Now drop the scissors and back away from the head.
    Thanks for the post.

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  12. Hi David McMahon!

    Welcome...and thank you for taking the time to leave a comment!

    It's always great to meet someone new!

    Yea...you see, I'm Italian...so I enjoy expressing my feelings. And to an "Italian"...expressing feelings is manditory for being alive!!

    (that...and garlic)

    Tee-hee!

    Please visit anytime you wish. It was nice meeting you!

    Dr. Ron

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  13. Hey Mr. Dave!

    I was JUST thinking about you this weekend and wondering how you were!

    Good to see ya, buddy!

    Oh, man...your comment made me laugh!!! You have that wonderful Libra wit!

    It's funny, because I cut my own hair now...and everytime I pick up the scissors, Barbra Streisand's "Memories" - floods the corners of my mind!

    (that...and the "Texas Chainsaw Massacre")

    It's always a pleasure, Dave!

    Dr. Ron

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  14. Ron, thank you so much for the wondeful comments you made earlier. I couldn't resist jumping in on the hair subject here. I would be one client that you would not want when it comes to impossible hair. It dreads (like in ONE day all by itself.) Dreadful! I saw your SOLE site too-amazing! (Yah, i linked to that too!) --- ok, back to work I go- been playing :blog: all day WAH!

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  15. Ha-ha !

    It IS a much more difficult job than people usually realize ! And for exactly the reasons that you mentioned !

    It ought to be a double charge - one for the haircut - and one for the simultaneous therapy session :)

    Yes, women need to be very lear that a hairstyle will NOT make them look like Kim Alexys or Cindy Crawford or whoever. You ARE who you are, as is your hair...

    Sounds like quitting was a relief - and what you're doing now, even with its frustartions, is MUCH better !

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  16. OMG~ What brought this on??? I confess to deep fits of laughter, and some serious eye rolling. I haven't been to the Hairdresser in...9 months+ because, "bless her heart" she is the biggest gossip in town. and if i go somewhere else, well,the thought is to scary... So I will just take a deep breath and ....
    go back to the love.
    by the way..could you make me look like Sorrow Grey? she's one HOT babe!

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  17. Hey Sorrow!!!!

    Oh, my God...I've MISSED you!!!

    I stopped by your blog like, 5 times and just stared at your last post! Hope you had a wonderful New Year and a lovely time with your beloved!

    I changed my "template" on New Years Day. I never left my apartment. I lit candles, played music, drank coffee...and then was suddenly over-come with inspiration to change my blog-look for the New Year (I think it was the caffiene). I LOVE retro colors and I LOVE the Jetson...so I went insane!

    And then last night I went insane with this post. I suddenly remembered my time as a stylist...and thought, "Why not?"

    Glad you had a giggle!

    Yes...I CAN make you look like Sorrow Grey.

    (just give me some time to brush up on my technique...and sharpen my rusty scissors)

    Thanks so much for stopping by...that made me VERY happy!

    Sincerely,
    Vidal Sasson

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  18. Evening Annie!

    You're sooo RIGHT...there should be an additional charge!

    (they should charge what a professional counselor would charge...by the hour)

    Dear God...I'd be a WEALTHY man right now!

    Yes...and I DO enjoy what I'm doing right now...much more!

    (because there is so little talking involved) tee-hee!

    Thanks for dropping by Annie - and for sharing your good advice!

    Dr. Ron

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  19. Hi Sibyllae!

    No...I wouldn't have mind working on your hair...you're such a sweet person!

    It's not the "hair part" that got to me (that was always enjoyable)...it was dealing with the unrealistic expectations that many people have.

    Besides...I LOVE DREADS!

    Thanks for visiting Foot Notes. So glad you enjoyed it. And thank you for the link too!

    I've been "playing online" all day too!

    Oy Vey!

    Dr, Ron

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  20. Ron I'm honoured that you would come out of retirement to do my mop! xxxx

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  21. On the level of creating that bizarre participation mystique hand-in-hand with finnickiness, I wonder of we who cut our own hair are like those strangely daring early psychiatrists like Jung who would shunt himself into a series of odd processes to better understand the mind.

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  22. Hey Professor!

    So good to see ya.

    Maybe!!!!

    So if you find out anything...PLEASE let me know!!!!

    Thanks for your wonderful imput, sir...always a pleasure!

    Dr. Ron

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  23. Hello Doctor,

    I'm suddenly reminded of Frasier. "I'm listening..."

    Thanks for the laugh! My experience with stylists is long ago and far away. So is most of my hair, come to think of it. Ah well... it used to be a great way to spend some time talking to an attractive woman with a totally different world of experience.

    I can see from your writing how that must have eventually become limiting... but certainly a book worth of stories, I'm sure. And hey, no end of potential for the on-the-job psychology training!

    Shave and a haircut...
    Greg

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  24. Hey Greg!

    Tee-Hee!

    Earlier this week, I was suddenly overcome with a "hair memory" so I thought...why not write it!

    Oh...it was SOOO cathartic!

    I felt cleansed and renewed!!!

    It's not the "hair part" I ever minded...it was the "brain part." If there was only a way to extract the brain, prior to the cut...it would have been a perfect job!

    And yes...I've probably got enough experience to be "grand-fathered" into a Psychology practice!

    Thanks for stopping by Greg!

    Two bits,
    Ron

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  25. OMG, how funny!! I found this on your sidebar.
    I don't get my hair cut much professionally. It's one of those things where I have so much money to spend and tooooo many things to buy so I tend to do my own trimmings. There's isn't much of a style to my hair anyway. I know, I know, I should have it done for shaping and general maintenence.
    Anyhoo, my girlfriend has a small shop and I just love to go in there and sit and TALK. It is like a therapy session. We're both into like things, astrology, etc. so can really get to chatting and the person in the chair just has to listen. LOL They might chime in if we say something political but most people aren't versed in astro talk. Aside from having about 10 kids combined from both her, her hubs, and theirs together, the d.r.a.m.a stories are fun too. Talk about psychology!! She's been doing hair for a very long time and probably has some great stories to tell. I'll have to ask her next time I visit which should be any day as I miss her!!

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  26. Hi Crystal-Chick!

    It's weird, cause this post is one of the most "googled" of all my posts.

    It makes be believe that there are a lot of people out there wondering about having their hair done...and the psychological aspect of it!

    Let me tell you...I enjoyed my time in hair, however...I don't miss it even ONE tiny bit!?!?@?

    And I cut my own hair too. Believe it or not...I'm not really picky when it comes to my hair.

    I like short and easy!

    Thank for stopping by this post, M!

    Glad you enjoyed!

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