Feb 10, 2006

I didn't always have bad hair years

My longest running relationship with a hair salon was with "Akis' Coiffures". Akis was quite the magician with scissors. The salon was co-owned and run by Aries, who was Akis' life partner. Aries was the salon director; he would give the nod for the aluminum foil to come off itching heads, which customer was next in line for shampoo, which client deserved a scalp massage. Overall, these guys had a smooth running business. I loved going because of Akis' superb haircuts and Aries' exaggerated gay theatricality.

His overplayed staginess derived from the 60's Greek society which could finally offer women such extravagancies as frequent salon visits. However, Greek spouse regulations demanded that if their wives were to be "touched" by another man, that man better not mean "nasty business". Therefore most of the gay and even non-gay professionals had to exaggerate their roles as "innocent men" in order to keep the women clients and their husbands happy and "safe". Aries decided to bank on this role although it was the late 80's and Greek people's views were (thankfully) expanding.

He was very adorable. I would walk in the salon. He would put both hands on his waist; cluck his tongue and shake his head, "Tsk, tsk, tsk. Pleeeeeease tell me you don't go out in public with hair like that!" He would drape his hand on his chest and roll his eyes in dismay. "Oh, my, I'll have to beg Akis to work his magic on you!" He'd twist a lock of my hair between his fingers, "THIS, darling, is crying for a hair mask! I swear if it wasn't for me you'd all go bald!"

And the teasing would continue. I kept a straight face throughout our banter although he reminded me very much of Nathan Lane from "Birdcage".

On one of my appointments I sensed a tension in the air between A & A. Akis was cutting hair without engaging in his usual friendly conversations with the clients, whereas Aries was clamorously executing his duties. He was practically shouting at the poor salon assistants. When I asked how they were doing, Aries burst forth, almost throwing himself in my arms, "I told him we should franchise. And do you know what he told me? No, I ask you, do you? He said to mind my own business! This IS my business, Athena, YOU tell him. Knock some sense into him. The big-name competitors are opening branches across the street and he just WON'T listen?.."

Well, to make a long story short: They started to argue right there in front of the patronage and most of us took sides. Peace was restored between the couple. They never did branch out, but instead they hiked their prices to "compete" and lost a lot of clientele. Unfortunately, I was amongst those who couldn't afford the privilege of Akis and Aries. Besides, they had also implemented a store policy that hair cuts were escorted with a compulsory (aka pricey) hairstyling. They didn't want their competitors to see their customers walking out with wet, lifeless hair. Aside from the money issue, I have this quirk: I always shampoo and shower after a haircut because I feel itchy. Therefore my hairstyling would just wash down the drain as soon as I got home. They refused to NOT dry and style my hair. So I pouted. Aries pouted more. I got upset with them and cut them off. My hair misses them, not my wallet.

I searched and found cheaper hair services, but never the quality of Akis' haircuts. I've been away so long at various hairdressers that I feel extremely guilty to just stroll in and pick up our business relationship again. Akis might be glad or indifferent to my presence. Aries, however, will probably pull his darker shade "shampoo" stunt to get back at me; charge me for a soft hair dye and rid me of what he called "ungodly" white streaks from his sight! Revenge for Aries and a make-over for Athena all in one stroke.