I am not a whimsical person. I don’t like surprises and I tend to plan. I’m more plodding and pedantic than adventuresome. I usually have a course of action mapped out even if I can’t always follow my plan.

It is has been nearly a year since I have been to a hairdresser. There is a reason for this and it isn’t really my fault. You see, I got tired of coloring my hair. I had grown it out once already. I have quite a bit of gray hair but it is not evenly distributed. Most of the gray is where it bothers me the most. Right along my part, my hair is almost all a beautiful silver. This means I look rather like a skunk when I color my hair a dark color. Unfortunately, my natural hair color is dark.

So, I grew my hair out and then decided it made me look too washed out, too old, too not what I wanted to look like. So I began coloring it again. And once again the skunk look appeared. It was just as unattractive the second time. It was a pain to grow out and I had finally gotten it long again, so I wanted to try something to keep the length.

I went to the salon and asked if it was possible to highlight my hair with gray or silver. The looks of horror were incredible. The people at the salon stared at me in disbelief and seemed to think I had just asked them to self-immolate or perhaps sacrifice their first born child at an altar. Anyway, it was not possible with the supplies at hand.

I thought perhaps it would work to put in blond highlights. It might have worked better if my half-inch of roots, predominantly gray and needing color for longer than hair that had already been colored, were colored first. Even the cheap stuff I have always used right out of the box says it takes longer to color gray hair. People with licenses didn’t seem to know this, so I had root rot immediately after paying $140 for a color job, something I never had when I did it myself for under ten bucks.

Since I wasn’t all that happy, I didn’t go back for a long time. Then about 1.5-2 inches later, I needed my hair to look good again. I went back to see what could be done. Well, I’m the only person in the entire world who doesn’t get her hair colored every four to six weeks and they had no idea how to fix this. The solution was to go completely blond.

When I was finished, my hair had three layers of color from root to tip and it was unevenly colored because some of it was gray, some brown, and some previously highlighted. I had plaid hair. This was not nearly as attractive as it might sound.

I grew it out for about another two inches and cut it all off. I was going to just have to grow it all out again. By last summer, it was really looking shaggy and I needed to have it shaped up. I spent about two hours looking online for pictures of how I would like my hair cut. I selected a cut that would get rid of the bit of color left on some of the tips, looked nice, and left me with as much length as possible.

I brought the picture with me and the stylist agreed she could cut my hair like the picture. I explained I was trying to grow it out. Although I really look better in short hair, it is too much work. Longer hair can just be twirled up and off my neck and out of my face. It is easier to work with and cooler. This is the goal I’m working toward. I made sure that was understood before we started.

My hair was cut short. Too short. Not even as long as in the picture and definitely shorter than I had anticipated and asked for. Once again, I paid out too much money for a hair style I was dissatisfied with.

My solution so far has been to not go back to get my hair styled. It is looking really shaggy now. I have some terrible split ends. It really needs help. If last summer’s haircut had been exactly what I asked for, what the picture looked like, my hair would now be long enough to pick up off my neck. Instead, it is still too short. It is hot and decidedly unattractive.  But I certainly can’t go back to have anything done, or I will never get it long enough to pick up.

How I would like my hair to look - although gray is okay

I have had one haircut in my entire adult life where it was done exactly as I asked. Years ago, I had finally gotten it long enough to French braid and then went for a trim. The “helpful” beautician cut off two inches because I had split ends. I could no longer braid my hair. The next trip I went armed with a ruler. I measured my hair before we started. I wanted a trim, not a cut. Half an inch of fuzz off the ends. I was going to measure my hair again when we were finished and if it was more than a half-inch shorter, I threatened to hit the stylist with the ruler. She agreed to my terms. It may have been about three-quarters of an inch, but it was close enough. I was happy and didn’t need to hit anyone.

I think that is going to be my approach to salons from now on. I will go in with a ruler. I may also have a picture, but I will explain that my hair must be at least so many inches long after the stylist is finished, or I will not pay. I’m tired of paying for haircuts that make me cry. So I’m going to stop.

I don’t know if I will have to travel or shop around to find someone who will cut my hair the way I want it done. I might have to explain myself several times. But after searching for hours, looking for a style I want, I would like the person I’m paying to cut my hair to get it approximately the same as the picture. And if my expectations are out of line, tell me before we start so I can find something different. But please know, I’m stodgy, set in my ways, and really want my hair cut the way I choose and not the way you envision my head. So if you want to be paid, cut my hair the way I ask. Thanks.