Tracy Lee Curtis

I thought we’d be together forever....

Our breakup was something I didn’t see coming. I wasn’t completely happy – but I wasn’t miserable. I thought we could talk about it, work on it together, and move forward. But it’s over. I broke up with my hairdresser.

I’d been with her longer than anyone. We had a great connection. I could tell her anything and she dyed my eyebrows for free. She was younger than me and made me feel young, as she talked about concerts and trips and boys. She explained eyelash weaving. And how Tinder works.

But in every relationship, there’s that thing that gets on your nerves and for me it was her blow-dry. She dried my hair flat and smushed to my head. Which robbed me of the opportunity to leave the hairdresser with my hair fabulously styled, and then go to the grocery so everybody thinks it just naturally looks like that.

For years, I dropped little hints. Could ya dry it a little fuller? Maybe not pull it straight back like a vampire. Get that round brush going, give it some curl, hit it with a little more height. But I just wasn’t being heard.

And then I met someone. I wasn’t looking, it just happened. I was out of town in a very humid city, and I needed a good blow-dry to keep me from looking like Steven Tyler. It didn’t mean anything, I swear. But she made me realize there was something missing.

I told my hairdresser we needed to talk. That I needed more from her – more volume, more body. She bristled and brushed my hair straight back, and when I asked her to try to understand she said, “The way you wear your hair looks like a helmet.”

And suddenly I’m Sally Field in “Steel Magnolias,” sitting in Truvy’s beauty shop, while Annelle struggles to do her hair, her daughter Shelby telling Annelle, “Just tease it and make it look like a brown football helmet.”

The irony is, my hair looked like I had just pulled a football helmet off of it. And now I wanted her to say, “I’m sorry, I’m having a bad day.” Or the same reassurance Annelle offered Truvy: “Miss Truvy, I promise that my personal tragedy will not interfere with my ability to do good hair.”

My hairdresser conceded that maybe she should do as I ask, since I’m the client. I said that’s a great idea, and then she said, “But I’m the professional.” And that’s where it ended. And now I’m alone, and I’ve got one month to find someone who can meet all my needs.

But just as Shelby said she “would rather have 30 minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special,” I would rather have 30 days of looking for a new hairdresser than a lifetime of helmet head.

I’ll be okay. Summer’s coming. And hopefully, love is in the hair.

Curtis: tcurtis@charlotteobserver.com

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