Poser amongst the Pretty People

By Mir
February 10, 2009

I am fairly low-maintenance when it comes to “beauty” stuff (which totally makes up for the fact that I’m impossibly high-maintenance about… ummm… everything else); I don’t use a lot of expensive products and I rarely wear make-up and I don’t go for spa treatments or manicures or anything like that.

However, in my old age (hush up, you whippersnappers) I’m beginning to realize that it really is worth it (to me) to pay for good hair care. It’s not vanity, it’s wanting to make sure I don’t end up looking like Bozo the Clown sends me his rejected wigs. It’s not JUST the hard-to-properly-cut curly hair or JUST the fact that I’m rapidly going gray or JUST the fact that my hair grows really fast, but all of those things TOGETHER mean I’m willing to scrape together the cash for a good cut and color periodically.

So, remember how my husband sent me somewhere awesome and I got the best cut and color of my life? Yesterday I did a few calming deep breathing exercises and went back there again.

Of course it started out a little rough, because—despite my best efforts to get there early enough to have no problems parking—I have terrible parking karma. TERRIBLE. Last time I was there, they’d told me they validate parking for a certain parking garage. So I parked there. But I had to park all the way on the roof, which took longer than anticipated, and then I flew down the stairs at breakneck speed because I didn’t want to be late, and it turned out I’d gone down the wrong staircase and came out on the wrong street and got very confused. I need to have a GPS implanted in my optic nerve. But at least it turned out that I’d parked in the WRONG GARAGE and had to pay for it! AWESOME!

So I RAN to my appointment (and was five minutes later) and arrived sweaty and gasping and feeling very out-of-place in their hip salon where only blond stick figures work. At least one of them gave me some water, so they’re NICE stick figures, anyway.

The stylist remembered me, and instead of the protracted conference we’d had, last time, over the proper color and highlights and what I want my hair to DO (I would like it to sing and dance, and also be VERY VERY SHINY), I sort of waved my hands and said, “Please do what you did last time, again.”

I thought that would save a ton of time. My last appointment took three hours, which is sort of insane. Who has that kind of time?? But seeing as how it was all very straightforward, this time, surely it would be faster!

AHAHAHAHAHAHA. I love it when I’m naive like that.

So, yeah, it took three hours again. Possibly because my stylist is a HAIR NINJA and at one point I think she was working on three people at once. Also because whatever sort of magical haircut she does on me to thin out my curls requires that she cut it, blow-dry and straighten it, and then do some sort of ninja layer-thinning that she can only do with my hair ironed pin-straight. I mean, I’m not complaining—the results are great—but it means it takes over an hour just to finish the cut.

[Food for thought: Not that I’m dissing her talents, or anything, because as I said, she’s awesome and the results are far superior to anything I’ve experienced with any other stylist, but the way she does my hair, somehow I am surrounded by giant tumbleweeds of hair when she’s done, even though I clearly still have an entire head of (longish) hair. The effect is not unlike those videos of what happens when people use the Furminator on their dogs. Do you think I could achieve similar results at home with a Furminator…? I know it’s a longshot, but then I wouldn’t have to deal with parking.]

For the color portion of the appointment, I was sort of off by myself, zoning out and checking email on my phone, and the only interruptions were the stylist peeking inside a foil or two or her assistant coming over to try to rub extra color off of my ears. (Being a brunette means even the best color experience still results in brown ears. Ewww.) But during the cut, I was plunked down at a station between two UGA students.

I have to say, I’m biased. I know I am. When I was in college, my idea of a fancy haircut was having $10 for Supercuts. The notion that these kids (who should get off my lawn) are habitually frequenting a salon that I (as someone nearly twice their age who makes a decent living) have to really justify affording BLOWS MY MIND.

The child woman to my left was having a trial-run of a fancy updo. A bit of eavesdropping revealed that it was for her impending wedding. Okay, fine. Unfortunately, the stick figure doing her hair took forever and yielded something I could’ve done in my bathroom with five bobby pins in two minutes. Her client was unimpressed and asked her to “try something else,” which made me think RIGHT ON, because for what she’s probably paying, her hair should look like a gold-plated swan about to take flight, not like the kind of bun one usually throws hair into in preparation of an afternoon of painting the hallway.

The child woman on my right was extremely special, though. She was yammering on and on about how excited she is to finally learn to cook! Because her mom is going to teach her! Because her parents just bought her a house!

[Come to think of it, the fact that my head exploded may have made cutting my hair a little trickier than normal. I guess I can’t complain too much about the time it took.]

It’s not super-unusual for parents to buy students here a condo, rather than renting an apartment. They buy, use it for four years, and sell to another student family. The cost of real estate is pretty cheap and the parents get the tax write-off. I get that. But Little Miss Chirpy went on to explain that her parents had bought her an entire house in the most expensive part of town, and OMG she’s totally going to, like, decorate it SOOOOO CUTE!

I wonder what happens to those people once they get out into the real world. I mean, do their mommies and daddies support them forever? Or at some point do they realize that 1) we’re in a recession, 2) working for a living kind of sucks, and 3) most people don’t get whatever they want whenever they want it?

[More importantly, why did I let this aggravate me when I should be focusing on how great my hair looks?]

At least it made my stylist laugh when that woman finally left and I said, “Damn, I should’ve gotten her number! I wanted to ask her parents if they’d buy ME a house, too. And I already know how to cook and everything!”


  1. Mama Bear

    And here I am wondering if we can afford to help with tuition at my son’s technical college next year AND still help him find/pay for a $350 a month rental (With a room mate sharing the costs).

  2. Barbara

    She’ll learn in due time. Perhaps sooner than later. Later if she actually completes college. Sooner only if after dropping-out she does not marry someone who fiscally replaces her parents. But then, she might have children.

    The best revenge is living well, eh, Mir? And making sure your own Chickadee does not grow up feeling entitled.

    Will it help ease your aggravation to know that the rich raising children like this are a very small part of the population. Most are like us. Living well. You’re welcome!

  3. TheresaG

    When I first moved to New York to get married, my mother in law took me to her hair salon for a trial run of the wedding day hair thing. I had only ever used places like Supercuts. This place was more like what you just described. I felt like an impostor! And I, too, felt like the process took way too long. I’ve discovered that the amount you pay is directly proportional to how long it takes.
    At least you like your haircut!

  4. Leandra

    Okay, when you said “Do whatever you did last time” I was so afraid for you. The last time I said that I found out the hard way that my stylist had NO IDEA what she’d done last time. And so she just winged it. (Wung it? That’s not right, I know, but winged it doesn’t sound right either).

    Anyway, the second girl is obviously a pretty, pretty princess who will either a) find a man to marry who will spend the rest of his life in misery and attempting to keep her in the lifestyle to which she is accustomed or b) will learn the hard way that life is not always handed to you on a platter wrapped in a nice, shiny, bow.

  5. SoMo

    Well, my daughter at the ripe old age of 6.5 yrs old has a savings account and an allowance. We don’t put our money into her savings, she has to put 20% of her allowance in it. When she asked how much she has or what can she buy with it, I tell her HER OWN HOUSE. I thought the goal of parenting was to eventually get these little people out of my house and have some quiet. I could be wrong, but I don’t think peace is worry about another entire household that I would have to pay for. I liked my grandfather’s philosophy: Struggling breeds good work ethic. Not go out and struggle.

  6. Julie

    I am so with you on the spoiled students issue. So, after the 4 years (5-6 years) of the house and luxury SUV and expensive hair cuts and dining at the best places in town, what is she going to do when she gets her first paycheck for teaching elementary school? It boggles the mind.

  7. Ani

    Pictures? pretty pretty pictures???

    I am just recently out of the grad school grind and it never failed to amaze me how the faculty parking lot was full of your average Accords and Camrys and the odd BMW here or there…while the student lots were crammed full of Lexus SUV’s. And the accompanying spoiled brats to drive them, crowding the lots because OMG how can they be expected to get up 15 minutes earlier and take the FREE bus to campus from their luxury apartments??

    That said, I love the diamonds in the rough that are also part of college life, the kid who works his way through working at the field lab (sustainable agriculture), the one who was in the military and is coming back on the GI Bill, and the older folk, laid off after years of work, back to finish what they started so long ago. They make the princesses/princes a lot easier to bear.

  8. Aimee

    Hey, I know how to cook too! And I would be so grateful if someone would buy me a house.

    Wow. Life really is a fairy tale for some people, huh?

  9. Megan

    Oh yipes. One child was indeed hauled down to SuperCuts this weekend and another just dropped by my office this morning so it could leave its winter coat here while it goes to classes – this before it heads over to its nearly-full-time job that it holds down while going to university full time. It still lives at home because hey, I quite like it and it isn’t making enough for rent really (at least not anywhere I’d want it to live), but it buys its own clothes and at least one or two meals a day AND it likes to spend its extra cash taking its siblings out for movies and the likes.

    And I have to say that even if we had a million bajillion dollars, I would probably STILL take that child to SuperCuts (what?? It was a trim!) and the other child would definitely be working a job.

    Hmmmph… Buying a house indeed!

  10. Keyona

    I’ve never understood it. These kids nowadays have NO CLUE. I am young but I’ve knee crawled through the military and am EARNING everything I have. Do my parents help me at times? Of course, but within reason. OMG they have no idea!

  11. Mary  Chicago

    Your Blog is on my Google reader so I never miss a post because you are such a great writer and your humor is uplifting. About turning gray. I began my journey to gray in my early thirties. After calculating the number of trips to the beauty salon and the number of annoying people I would get to sit near for the rest of my life I gave in. So I went gray gradually and now I am 62 and think I look my age which is perfectly alright with me.The time lost at the salon is found time for me. My hair cuts take one half hour and I am on my way. Here is a good sight to check out, http://www.goinggraylookinggreat.com

  12. Michelle

    I loved this post. I was at this Miami spa thing where Oprah had just been, I was worried if I had enough cash to tip everybody. Just wanted to de-lurk and comment, love the blog.

  13. Brigitte

    Gee, and I worry about scraping together enough cash to get one o’ them-there fancy electric spinning toothbrush thingies. And WE’RE financially well-off compared to lots of other folks around here!

    My head just exploded too, thanks for messing up my keyboard.

  14. Karen

    Well, knowing quite a bit about the “trust fund” set, I can tell you that they either a)live off the trust fund and perform the usually required silly “job” (eg. volunteering at an art house or an assited living home for the elderly) or b)quickly marry a wealthy gentleman in his early to mid-40s who is looking for eye candy and a potential womb to carry his offspring.

    But some of us actually do well in college (and even law school) and get real jobs and work hard. And don’t even feel all that bad that our parents were in a position to help us out financially.

  15. Headless Mom

    My day is now complete after reading this:

    [Come to think of it, the fact that my head exploded may have made cutting my hair a little trickier than normal. I guess I can’t complain too much about the time it took.]

  16. Kelly

    I love this post… I mean, we have two good incomes and I can’t even justify coloring or highlighting my hair right now… (though I just saw a gray hair so I’m thinking I might justify it soon – oohh something shiny). It is worth paying for the good haircut though. I have thick thick thick hair with just enough wave to be freakishly annoying and she thins it and it feels so nice and light afterwards… and I could probably make about 5 wigs with what is on the floor around me. (I also have to do the iron straight then finish the cut routine)

    I knew girls like that in college but realistically almost all of my friends were on some kind of financial aid and understood the value of money a bit more. It was always kind of fun to know ‘those’ girls though because at the end of the semester they’d take you out to dinner when you were out of ‘food points’ and they had wayyyy too many left. :)

  17. RuthWells

    Horrifying. Truly horrifying.

  18. Anna

    Oh, hmm. I think the time to learn how to cook would have been AT LEAST ten years ago.

    It is really dangerous to ask for “what you did last time.” But, it sounds like it worked out alright for you. I quit going to cheap $10 cut places when I asked for TWO LAYERS and got a shoulder length bob. I was not impressed.

  19. ImpostorMom

    To expand on Leandra’s pretty, pretty princess scenario…or c) yes, her parents will indeed continue to support her well into her 20s even after she has a job. I mean really she can’t be expected to use HER money to support herself. What is she going to buy designer clothes and go bar hopping with then?

    Seriously, I’ve seen it happen. And I try, try, try not to become very bitter with my massive student loans. :)

  20. sassymonkey

    When I was in university there was a girl from my dorm whose parents bought her a house. This, it must be explained, simply does not happen where I went to school. I think this is what happens when your parents are divorced plastic surgeons who are trying to buy your love. She also could not cook.

    But I did have a friend who bought a house with his inheritance, rented out a bunch of rooms to pay the mortgage and sold it 6 or 7 years later for twice what he paid for it. Excellent investment for him.

    I used to go to a nice salon in school…maybe 2x during the year. You see, I tried going to a cheaper one once and I got a drag queen for a hair dresser (seriously) who kept poking my head with her fake nails and burned me with a hair dryer. I opted for eating ramen noodles vs going through that again.

  21. nil zed

    Julie asked what is that girl gonna do when she sees her first paycheck?

    It won’t matter. In my observation, that sort of parent continues with generous gifts forever. It’s a different world alright. So long as the kid keeps up their end of the bargain–
    job? (token or not, after all, they have connections), check
    no arrests? (white collar crime excepted), check
    marry well? (someone like us, or at least as well off), check
    beautiful grandchildren? (well, who doesn’t want those, eventually?) check.
    –then the parents continue with gifts most of us can’t even dream of.

  22. Burgh Baby

    My husband’s best friend is married to one of those girls. Her parents? Still are hovering low in that helicopter and bailing her out each and every time she maxes out all of their credit cards on a little vacation to Vegas with “her girls.” But not to worry, her life isn’t perfect, and it will be short. I know that, because I’m positive I’m going to choke her one of these days when she starts complaining about how annoying her pay-for-everything parents are.

  23. Katie in MA

    I grew up poor, but my mom taught me how to be good at being poor – don’t have any unnecessary extras, how to clip coupons and watch for sales, appreciate the things you CAN afford, etc etc. Then I got married and we started to get ahead and my husband took care of all the bills and bought me lots of pretty, pretty extras. Then that fell apart. The difference between me and those girls is that my parents taught me how to live on a shoestring budget and the real meaning of necessities vs. extras. I had skills to fall back on. I thank my mom all the time for that lesson!

  24. Angela

    Wow. Just Wow.

    They’re going to have a really hard time one day.

    Glad you love your hair cut!

  25. PB Rippey/sleepless mama

    I confess I drive 90 miles (that’s nine and a zero) to get my hair done every other month. When my husband comes along, he takes the baby out while I sit for 3 hours in a chair and receive, joyfully, highlights and the works. When my husband doesn’t come, my mother takes over. Luckily she lives in the same town as my hairstylist—who has been “doing” my hair since the mid-eighties. I luf her. Own studio, one customer at a time, corny low-key music, a wicked basket of chocolates, coffee and: ahhhhhhhhhhh. Why? Because I’m worth it!!! Or–whatever…

  26. tj

    Life will kick her in the butt so hard that she’s going to feel it for years. Don’t worry, life catches up to all of us one day!

  27. Lefty

    You made me snort coffee out my nose with the vision of the furminator. I needed a good laugh today.

    And having curly hair that’s hard to cut, well, I definely appreciate where you are coming from. Could you please tell Bozo to STOP sending his cast away wigs to me? Please?

    Yay for the great cut. Boo on the divas.

  28. elswhere

    At my last job, I knew some middle-aged versions of that girl, still being supported, though usually by their husbands. They tended to be obnoxious, entitled parents. They always mystified me. Mostly, I felt bad for their kids, because mostly they had a hard time telling where they stopped and their kids began.

  29. Mom to Six

    Wish I had parents like that….but as it turns out I’m often helping to support them. Sad, but true. Teaching my kiddos to save wisely and spend wisely.

  30. jennielynn

    Their mommies and daddies don’t have to support them, because they marry the totally rich guy who totally leaving his wife of 20 years for her. And OMG, they are totally going to Barbados for their honeymoon so she has to find a rilly, rilly, cute bikini super fast.

    Not that I’m cynical or anything.

  31. nae

    to answer your question, yes mom and dad do support them forever. My sis-in-law is 40 and her parents still pay her credit card bills – yes, every month. This despite the fact they have no children and they both have professional jobs.

  32. The Other Leanne

    Every once in awhile I watch “The Suze Orman Show,” and invariably one of these young women turns up on it, so deep in the hole and so clueless because [insert mommy/daddy/hubby here] are no longer willing/able/available to bail her out. For about half a second it’s mind-boggling in its stupidity and then I just sit on my cat-shredded sofa and laugh my a$$ off.
    Then I heard some yahoo on the radio who said these poor bankers deserve their bonuses because they are “used to a certain lifestyle.”
    See how we got where we are?

  33. Little Bird

    I think I’ve been getting salon cuts since I entered high school. But! I only got/get maybe two a year. As for the cooking and having a home bought for you… well… I can cook. And I often cook for my folks. And the apartment I live in is paid for by them, as it is also an office for one of the folks. I’m lucky. I know. There are extenuating circumstances. As a sort of payment for giving me this great place to live I clean their apartment, do their laundry, and cook a few times per week. I also help with extra projects like cooking for cocktail parties. THEIR cocktail parties.
    But I do know how you feel. Sorta.
    Do you think that girls parents would buy ME a house?

  34. Michelle

    Well, my mom recently offered to pay rent for me and my fiance when we move in a few months, as long as we kept a bedroom for her when she came back for a week or so in between traveling jobs where she’s gone for at least 3 months at a time. But believe me, I am VERY aware of how lucky I am.

  35. David

    Well, fooey! I got gyped, I tell ya. Here I know how to fix eggs and bacon (mmmm, bacon) and make French toast and I still had to pay for my own house. Did I also mention that I can make a killer cherry pie? From scratch? <> Mir, at least there’s one consolation: Betcha your meals are better than hers’ll be for a long, long time. Oh, and your hair’s prettier, too. =)

  36. Lady M

    I’m with ya on getting a good haircut. It’s only one every 3 months for me, and then I can spend 90 seconds on my hair in the morning. Of course, I probably still look like a mess, but at least it’s a timesaving mess.

  37. Heather

    I work right by Michigan State University…I hear this kind of stuff everyday…makes my head explode too!

  38. Kaycee

    I just learned the cheap hair cut lesson the hard way. I wanted a cute, modern bob, but now I have mushroom head like Edna from The Incredibles. Not good.

  39. Jennifer

    I just realized that when we’re back in our old town closing on our house, I can visit my old hairdresser and delay the whole finding a new stylist routine for a couple months. The bonus is she’ll be much cheaper than what I’d pay here. Sold!

    I firmly believe that nothing but time and a paper sack will fix a bad haircut, and Please-make-this-look-intentional visits are expensive, (not that I know from experience or anything). So I am more than willing to fork out the big bucks to have something that looks nice the first time. Or at least intentional, which is all I ask for these days.

  40. lolly

    My 20 year old cousin lives in AL. When his girlfriend got pregnant they go married and her parents bought them a house. A NICE big house. and one grandmother comes over every night to take care of the baby so the new parents don’t have to wake up several times a night… as a single mother who is comparatively struggling, my head has also exploded!

  41. Dawn

    That kind of princess is always taken care of because she won’t stop looking until she finds a patsy who will keep her in the style to which she’s become accustomed. No fixer-uppers for her!

    And you hair is very pretty. I can tell from here.

  42. Laura

    I have a pretty princess niece I worry about. She got a brand new Mercedes for her 17th birthday. She is supposed to graduate from college this year, her fourth or fifth college. I’m waiting to buy plane tickets.

    My six year old asked me what kind of car he will get. Whatever you earn enough money to buy kid.

  43. Catherine P

    And here I am wondering how in the world I am going to afford to take off the next six weeks for maternity leave… I need richer parents..Honestly.

  44. Kate

    After working in marketing for Estee Lauder for a portion of my career, I saw the cost of packaging for what it was.
    Having said that – I agree totally about a good haircut,
    and my stylist is 2-2-l/2 hrs, but the outcome is pure

    Other than that – in general – throw out mascara after
    3 months, yes, 3 months – and use a good spf – and
    although I love Clinique Aromatics, which was not a great
    seller when I was there and appears to have come a long way,
    I still love the packaging of EL, but high maintenance doesn’t have to mean the high end of the spectrum for
    the everyday products and I’m still not sure about any
    of the anti-aging stuff ,nor the plump up your lips, lipstick.

    As far as mani/pedis – I was big on them until my accident,
    and JUST got back into them. It is exactly what the Dr.
    didn’t order, but I feel much better.

    Doesn’t have to cost the moon, some of my girlfriends do
    each others nails and make a night out of it. The cost
    is reasonable where I am though and I’m glad I’m back at looking after my nails and feet. 7 years was a good enough break to miss it :)

    Kate (again with the long comments)

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