Les Petits Contes

About life's little observations, which matter. About hilarious situations, which illuminate. About stories which offer immense possibilities, open endings, different interpretations and perspectives.

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Location: Singapore

A nature lover; sun-worshipper, manic book-collector, dessert-devourer and a magnet for hazards

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

If Only More Service Staff Are Like This


Most women fear changing hairstylists. A relationship with your hairstylist is like one with your partner. You need mutual respect, rapport and most of all trust.

I have been going to the hair salon at Holland Village for years. But this is my third hairstylist there. The first two left me. For another country, I mean. They migrated.

The last one, Danny, gave me this great bob that everyone I know raved about. But he had to leave, and ‘’handed me over’’ to his colleague.

Great. Just when I finally convinced him to cut my hair short (it took a few visits and arguments and threats), he had to leave. But it was nice of him to introduce me to his colleague.

So today, with some prayers and lots of trepidation, I stepped into the salon, and into the hands of the new guy, Louis.

He looked as scared of me as I was of him. Maybe Danny had briefed him about my threats. He greeted me with what seemed like a receipt in his hand, referring to it. ‘’Hi, I have seen you before; Danny always cuts your hair. Your last cut was on 6 January,’’ he commented. (Yes, Danny’s superb cut can last that long!)

Observant. Quite impressive! I told him to just follow the same style, ‘’if you can tell from what I have now – it’s a bit over-grown,’’ I said. He replied, ‘’no problem, it’s a graduated bob.’’

Maybe it was psychological. Maybe it was the initial mistrust. I could hear the extra scratchy noise in his scissors, and almost wanted to ask, ‘’Er… you didn’t sharpen your scissors?’’

Midway through, he said, ‘’this side of your hair grows outwards, only this side. I always see Danny cut it so I know’’. I was mystified, ‘’by seeing how he cuts you can tell?’’
‘’Yes, but don’t worry, I can manage, and once trimmed it will flow nicely back in shape,’’ he reassured.

‘’Looks like you seldom colour your hair,’’ he said. ‘’Yes, I am lazy and stingy,’’ I told him. ‘’But I used to do it at your Hereen outlet, until it was getting very expensive,’’ I continued. ‘’With Ruby, right? I was from that outlet from 2006 and she just got promoted there at that time,’’ he said. How did he know it was with Ruby?! I was gobsmacked. ‘’You look very familiar so I think I must have seen you there before too,’’ he explained. Wow!

Finally, the cut was done, and he put some finishing touches. ‘’Use a bit of wax, only this much will do, and it will give you a more interesting texture,’’ he showed me the little knob of wax on his finger before styling my hair.

He examined me with great satisfaction, after I gave an approving nod. ‘’I have seen your hair from this length (pointing to my shoulders) to now, here (pointing to my chin). You have this short bob for not very long, right? Maybe for about four or five cuts only,’’ he said.

By now I was not only astounded by his photographic memory, but was feeling like I have been stalked. ‘’You mean you can remember?’’ I exclaimed.

‘’Yes, I have been here since last June. Maybe sometimes when I am free with no clients I just sit here and watch how he cuts your hair,’’ he said. ‘’I can’t remember names, but can remember faces,’’ he added.

I left the place with a gamut of feelings. I am impressed by the records the salon kept, and awed by the details they looked into. I am flattered by all the attention. Yes, I now remember each time I walked out of the salon after Danny’s great cut, all eyes, from receptionist to stylists, would be on me, and I would walk out taller and feeling like a million dollars.

But today I also left with a kind of vanity and self conscious self reflection. The image of a guy sitting at a corner observing every strand of my hair, every flick of the wrist and scissors, and perhaps every stealthy pick of my nose when Danny was not around, or every twitch of my facial muscle when I was desperately trying to hold the water inside me when I had drunk too much of their tea… now, that’s something!

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