Perms, colors, cuts and friendship

David Spade sports a classic mullet in the 2001 movie ‘Joe

In his 12 years as a hairstylist, Ramiro Aguilar has heard it
all. Once, a female client told him how she was sleeping with her
husband’s boss, but only because her husband cheated on her
first.
Another client, a 21-year-old male, confided in Aguilar when he
was going through a rough breakup with his girlfriend and needed a
shoulder to cry on.
In his 12 years as a hairstylist, Ramiro Aguilar has heard it all. Once, a female client told him how she was sleeping with her husband’s boss, but only because her husband cheated on her first.

Another client, a 21-year-old male, confided in Aguilar when he was going through a rough breakup with his girlfriend and needed a shoulder to cry on.

In a day and age when failed relationships and marriages are all too common, many hairstylists and their long-time clients share bonds that have lasted five, 10, even 25 years – and counting.

Part of the reason may be that once they step inside a salon, many people find the idea of talking to someone who’s not quite familiar but not quite a stranger comforting, and the walls of secrecy come tumbling down. “I’m going to get my hair done” becomes “I’m going to see my therapist.”

After all, if you trust them enough to make you look good, why not trust them with your deep, dark confessions?

“I think it’s the nature of the business,” said Aguilar, a stylist at Turning Heads Hair Salon in Gilroy. “People feel they can trust their stylist because they know what they say here won’t go any further.”

Aguilar said he has about 50 clients he considers regulars, the longest being Oscar Medrano, a Gilroy resident who has been going to Aguilar for haircuts every Saturday morning for the past 10 years.

The two talk about everything from relationships to work to sports, and occasionally Aguilar attends Medrano family birthday parties and other social events.

Aguilar and Medrano also get together for sports games and weekend activities, and Medrano has been bringing his 5-year-old son to Aguilar for haircuts since he was born.

“There’s a level of trust there. I’d definitely say we’re friends,” Medrano said.

So, what happens when clients “cheat” on their stylists, venturing off into an unknown salon with a brand new stylist?

“It doesn’t bother me. I don’t get offended,” said Linda Pedrazzi, a hairstylist at A Cut Above in Hollister, who has a handful of clients she said she’s been seeing for nearly 25 years. “I want them to come not just because they like me, but because they like my service. If they don’t care for my service, it’s OK. We’re still friends. I still talk with them. I don’t get angry.”

Pedrazzi’s long-time clients, all female, range in age from 50 to 80. They come to Pedrazzi for a variety of services including perms and colors, which can take several hours. With that much time to whittle away, the topic of conversation often strays from the weather to more personal matters.

“Sometimes we talk about what’s going on in their lives and their families. And their husbands, we talk about that,” Pedrazzi said. “We’ll talk about their children. Lots of things.”

Aguilar’s exchanges have been a bit juicier. Sometimes, he said, he hears more than he wants to hear, such as steamy details of dramatic affairs or emotional breakdowns from ailing relationships. One client told Aguilar she was pregnant before she even told her husband.

“A lot of times, they’re talking to you for a reason: They need to vent,” Aguilar said, adding that sometimes he’ll offer advice but most of the time he simply offers an ear.

It can take a while for new clients to become comfortable with the idea of opening up to a stranger.

But asking the right questions helps uncover what people enjoy talking about, and while Aguilar said he doesn’t push people to converse, he’s often able to gauge who wants to spill the details of their lives and who doesn’t.

“It’s important to know which questions to ask and which to stay away from,” he said. “Some people are just more comfortable keeping quiet, and that’s fine, too.”

When Aguilar first began cutting hair, he, for one, wasn’t so sure about getting personal in conversations. But the hairstylist said he slowly warmed up to it after he realized it was OK for his clients to be his friends, too.

Like Pedrazzi, Aguilar said he doesn’t get offended or upset when his long-time clients slip a visit to another stylist – something that does happen occasionally. Even Medrano, for example, goes to other stylists when Aguilar is on vacation. But that’s not to say Medrano likes it.

“When you go somewhere else, it’s a new deal. You don’t talk about much. Just the weather,” he said. “You don’t even really get into, like, ‘How was your weekend?'”

Both Aguilar and Pedrazzi said they’ve seen long-time clients return, after suspiciously long hiatuses, with haircuts that leave much to be desired.

“I wouldn’t say (the haircuts) are bad,” Aguilar said, laughing. “I’d say different. Interesting.”

When that happens, Pedrazzi said most clients are sheepish, preferring not to admit where they went for their last appointment. But more often than not, the faux pas falls by the wayside, and stylist and client fall into their old rhythm again.

“You try to make them feel as comfortable as possible as a client,” Pedrazzi said. “It’s therapy for them, and even for me sometimes. They can tell you things they know they won’t be judged for, and it goes no further.”

Top 5 Worst Hairstyles For Men

1. The male mullet: a hairstyle from the 1980s in which the hair on the top and sides of the head is short and hair in the back is long. Hair on the top of the head may be spiked.

2. The rat tail: an exaggerated version of the mullet, in which the hair on the top and sides of the head is very short, with several strands forming a thin, long ponytail at the base of the neck. There are two versions of the rat tail: the simple, straight extension and the braid.

3. The comb-over: a hairstyle commonly used by mostly bald men, in which the hair from one side or the front of the head is combed over the part of the head that is bald or balding. Hairspray is a mainstay of the comb-over.

4. The flat-top: a hairstyle in which the hair is short on the sides of the head but long and raised in the middle to form a flat, table-like surface. M.C. Hammer and Vanilla Ice, well-known rappers in the 1980s, embodied the flat-top, although Vanilla Ice’s version included spikes.

5. The bowl cut: a hairstyle in which the hair is cut in a straight line around the head. Variations include the dipped bowl cut, in which the “bowl line” is adjusted to follow the curvature around the ears, then dips at the back of the head.

Top 5 Worst Hairstyles For Women

1. The female mullet: similar to the male version. Hair on the top and sides of the head may be longer, enabling it to be curled and/or tucked behind the ears.

2. The teased: a hairstyle in which the wearer adds volume by holding a portion of the hair far from the head, then repeatedly moves a comb back and forth in a repeated motion until hair reaches the desired size.

3. The crimp: a hairstyle in which hair is made into small, tight zig-zags using a special kind of iron or curler. Often causes hair to appear poofy and large.

4. The side ponytail: a hairstyle in which all of the hair is secured on either side of the head. Occasionally positioned in a manner that makes it difficult to decipher if the wearer indeed intended the ponytail to be a side ponytail.

5. The female bowl cut: similar to the male version. Hair above the bowl line often is curled slightly over the tops of the ears.

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