Apps make appointment-setting easier. Take StyleSeat, for example. My last two stylists have used StyleSeat, which allows you to schedule hair appointments at any time of the night or day without having to say a word or interact with another human being.
Unfortunately, although there may be an app for discontinuing your relationship with your stylist, that isn’t the way to go, in my opinion.
A brief history of the past 25 years
Regarding my hair history, the past 25 years is very uneventful for 22 of those years. Once I started going to Bonnie, I stayed. I was with her through both of my children being born, and through her being at three different buildings.
Then she moved to Nashville. Sigh.
I went to one person right after Bonnie moved to Nashville. She was really nice (we are Facebook friends to this day based on one haircut), but from a hair perspective, it just wasn’t a great fit.
The next person I went to, I stayed with. I don’t recall how we got connected exactly, except that my daughter had used her.
We’ve been together roughly 2.5 years. We have had so many good conversations. We had enough people in common that we never ran out of things to discuss. She was with me through the death of my father-in-law and the death of my mom, through the years of freelancing until I got my full-time job. She recently showed extreme patience while trying to cut my hair as I juggled a small work issue that required an immediate response. Yes, I was that obnoxious person moving my head to exactly the wrong angle (for her) as I tried to deal with the work issue (for me).
Yet, I never got to the point that I walked out loving my haircut.
In December, I had an appointment with my usual stylist, but I had to cancel it because a work meeting came up.
By the time I tried to reschedule, she couldn’t fit me in. I desperately needed a haircut before leaving for D.C. to spend a couple of days at my work HQ and attend its holiday party. Going with shaggy hair was not an option.
I posted my dilemma to Facebook, and got several great recommendations. My friend, Mike (check out his pedicab business if you’re local to Tallahassee!), tagged Chop Barbershops as one of the options.
Chop Barbershop wasn’t high on my list as an alternative. However, I had been to one of their three locations last summer when I reviewed “Musicals on the Move.” Chop Barbershop was the location of the “Sweeney Todd” component of the event, so I got a glimpse of their environment and figured out that these people must be pretty open to fun (although “Sweeney Todd” probably deserves other adjectives than “fun”!).
I decided to check out Chop’s Eastside location, which was closest to my house. I discovered that I could book via their website and still not have to pick up a phone, so I persevered. I figured out who had availability that day. Then I looked at Instagram to explore the work of various stylists.
That’s how I ended up being Sean‘s client.
When I arrived for my appointment, I explained my situation — that I had a business trip coming up and needed a cut, but had been unable to use my regular stylists. I also explained the things I hadn’t been entirely happy with about my cuts in the couple of years I had been with her and showed him a picture of a time when my hair looked great.
People, he got it on the first try! There are a few small things that I want him to modify as we continue to work together, but I walked out of there truly happy with my hair for the first time since Bonnie moved to Music City.
(We also had a great talk, always a plus.)
Breaking up is hard to do
Now that I’ve found someone who does for my hair what I want, I needed to figure out what to do about the person I’ve used the last few years.
I don’t feel right ghosting her. There are several reasons for this. One of them is the fact that I love her story. She got a business degree. She may have even gotten a graduate business degree (I don’t recall). But after all that, she said, “I couldn’t turn away from the fact that hair is my passion.” I get that, and I think there’s a lot to be said for finding your professional groove (trust me — it took me until I was 54 to really get there, which doesn’t mean all the years before that were a waste…).
I chatted with a few people on Twitter about this dilemma.
My ever-resourceful friend Rachel shared this “Ask a Stylist” about how to change hairdressers in the least awkward way possible. It’s a good read, with plenty of thoughtful advice. Ultimately, celebrity stylist Mark Townsend recommended honesty.
And that’s what I’ve decided to do.
I just composed a note to her thanking her for the years we spent together and expressing my appreciation for all we’ve shared. As far as the hair, I just said I’ve decided to “go a new direction.”
I know how it has felt at points throughout my career when someone stopped using me with no notice or explanation. Sometimes, the notice and explanation don’t feel good, but they at least eliminate the mystery of not knowing whether my work was inferior or they just truly decided to do something different.
Even though there may be apps for breaking up with your stylist, this situation calls for a more old-school approach. Hence the handwritten note.
It’s a note that may not technically be necessary in this situation, but it’s the right thing to do to avoid leaving loose ends.