The Psychology of Hair

This guest post was written by Ron who blogs over Vent.  I found Ron’s blog through Blog Catalog a few months ago and I’m so glad I did.  He’s an excellent writer with a great sense of humor and always puts a smile on my face.  Ron is an actor, one of his many talents, and has experience in theater and as a make-up artist.  He describes his blog as a space were he can vocalize about his own personal observations of life.  I have enjoyed my stays over at his blog, so please let’s give a warm welcome Ron as he blogs about The Psychology of Hair.


Unless you’ve actually worked as a cosmetologist, you would never realize that this occupation is 5% styling hair and 95% psychiatry.

It amazes me that cosmetology schools don’t include a basic psychology course as part of their training program.

They don’t even mention the fact that when you get out of school and start working in this profession, you’ll be touching the heads of people who are severely delusional.

I used to have a “magic wand” at my hair styling station for when a client would ask me to cut their hair, which would usually resembled a Chia Pet to look like either a movie star or a super model. I would literally take the wand, tap them on the head and say, “Not unless this wand will produce a miracle.”

My favorite clients where the ones who brought me in about 10 magazine clippings from VOGUE, ALLURE or HARPER’S BAZAAR on how they wanted their hair to look when I got finished with it. The clippings were always professional models who had been air-brushed and digitally mastered. Now, the reality of this was that the client wanted to BE these models. I finally got to the point were I bluntly started telling my clients, “If you decide to bring me in any magazine clippings, please be sure to use white-out on the faces before you show them to me, because I can only cut your hair…not perform cosmetic augmentation.”

Not only is this occupation riddled with unrealistic physical manifestations, but it’s also about having to listen to a clients personal problems. On the average, a stylist will usually see 8-10 people a day. So that’s 8-10 hair services, coupled with 8-10 psychology sessions.

I knew I was getting close to my “swan song” in this business, when one day a client said to me, “I know it’s only been 2 weeks since my last haircut, but I had to get in to see you because I’ve been an emotional mess and needed to talk to you, Ron.”

(oh, you mean…Dr. Ron?)

Finally, that day came when I had a new client who could not make up her mind about how she wanted her hair to look. I cut and blew it dry TWICE. She was a foreigner, so we had a bit of a language barrier, but I had been cutting hair long enough to know when someone shows me with their fingers, just how much length they want cut off. She wasn’t exactly sure what she wanted, so I guess she figured, “Oh, well…let me just see what it looks like at various lengths.

After cutting it for the second time the demon within me SNAPPED!

(I totally lost it)

Without even thinking, I ripped the cutting cape off from around her neck and then grabbed her purse off the counter; handing it to her, saying, “You don’t owe me any money for this appointment, but kindly remove yourself from the salon.”

(she blinked…then blinked again)

All the other stylists in the salon suddenly stopped cutting hair.

(you could hear a pin drop)

She looked at me and said, “Excuse me?”

I reiterated.

She said, “I want hair cut, sir!”

I said, “No, your haircut is finito…bye!”

She looked at me with a stern face and said, “You VERY mean man!”

I looked at her with a smile and said, “Yes, I agree, but you VERY confused woman”

After she left I picked up the phone and called the owners of the salon, giving my two weeks notice.

I let my license expire and never looked back.

However, I HAVE learned something very valuable from this experience.

I would rather eat thumbtacks and glass…than style another head of hair!!!

Posted on September 29, 2009 at 7:00 am by Ron · Permalink
In: Guest Post · Tagged with: , ,

64 Responses

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  1. Written by Norman Rockwell Art
    on October 13, 2009 at 11:20 pm

    Great story, Ron. Most of us in retail wish we say that to the difficult customers. I do say it under my breath sometimes.

    I have a good, old friend who has been giving me trims for over 20 years now. She rarely gets me in trouble with the missus any more over too short hair. I hated my curly hair as a boy, but love it now. Especially now that its ok stylewise to let it go a little wild.

    Can’t wait to go check out your site.
    .-= Norman Rockwell Art´s last blog ..Oct 10, Where Norman Rockwell Art Collectors Begin =-.

  2. Written by Ron
    on October 14, 2009 at 11:43 am

    Hi Norman Rockwell Art!

    Hey, it’s funny you should be mentioning RETAIL because that’s the same business I’m in at that moment. And YES…you have no idea how many times I have to say things under my breath – HA! However, I do love my job.

    I too have curly hair and hated it as a child, but as I got older I realized how easy it was to take care of…..just cut, wash, and wear….viola!

    So nice meeting you. Thanks for stopping by for a read. Enjoy your day!
    .-= Ron´s last blog ..An Italian Family Dinner =-.

  3. Written by Jannie Funster
    on October 18, 2009 at 12:00 am

    Okay, no pressure on your creative genius or anything, Valerie, but I’m looking forward to your next post, you never disappoint.

    New e-mail address thus this will probably go into moderation?

    I’ll see in 3, 2, 1…
    .-= Jannie Funster´s last blog ..10 Great Mysteries of the Universe, 2 =-.

  4. Written by Jannie Funster
    on October 18, 2009 at 12:01 am

    Shoot, I’ll have to get my gravatar switched over first, so back to the old one for now…
    .-= Jannie Funster´s last blog ..10 Great Mysteries of the Universe, 2 =-.

  5. Written by Jannie Funster
    on October 18, 2009 at 12:02 am

    Ahhhh, that was better. :)
    .-= Jannie Funster´s last blog ..10 Great Mysteries of the Universe, 2 =-.

  6. Written by BK
    on October 19, 2009 at 8:37 pm

    Maybe as a guy, I’m not too bother by how a hair cut will turn out as long as the stylist don’t just shave my hair bald. If I did get a good haircut, I appreciated the stylist and if I didn’t, I’ll just have to wait for the next hair cut.
    .-= BK´s last blog ..How I Got Into the Wardrobe? =-.

  7. Written by Ron
    on October 20, 2009 at 2:13 am

    Hi BK!

    Oh, boy…you’re one of the easy clients!

    I bet your stylist appreciates you!

    Sure wish I had you as a client back when I was styling hair – HA!

    Thanks for stopping by for a read. So nice to meet ya BK! And thanks for dropping by my blog!
    .-= Ron´s last blog ..Philadelphia and Precipitaton =-.

  8. Written by Seth Painkick
    on October 20, 2009 at 3:48 am

    Huh, that is some story my boy! You really was mean, but I understand that sometimes we all need something changed in our life. There is nothing more disturbing than doing something for living that we hate so much. Many of us are in such jobs that can be only hated by everyone, but sometimes there is no other way. But if only an occasion to drop that torment occurs – catch it and go doing something more pleasant and useful. You did the right thing stepping out of there.

  9. Written by Overseas Property
    on October 20, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    I think passion with hair is absolutely essential – all too often I think hair dressers treat it like a job – rather than an art!

  10. Written by LaTonya
    on October 21, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    This was sooooo funny!

    Chia pet, OMG, that’s hilarious! I’m one of those who comes with a picture. Only ONE!

    Psychologist, yes! Stylist become many of their clients close friend. Mine is. I’m going to your blog!
    .-= LaTonya´s last blog ..I Opted For Distraction =-.

  11. Written by Ron
    on October 21, 2009 at 10:59 pm

    Hi Seth!

    Thank you for sharing such wise words! I agree…there comes a time when a change is needed, and I think this situation allowed me to realize that.

    So, thank you confused woman – HA!

    Nice to meet you Seth! And thanks for stopping by for a read. Enjoy your evening!
    .-= Ron´s last blog ..If You Were a Fragrance =-.

  12. Written by Ron
    on October 21, 2009 at 11:05 pm

    Hi LaTonya!

    You have no idea how many times I think of this whenever I see a CHIA PET in the drug store – tee, hee!

    Yes, I’ve had several clients become close personal friends. I mean what better way to really know someone, than by cutting their hair and sharing conversation?

    Thanks so much for stopping by for a read, La Tonya! Nice to meet you. Enjoy your evening!
    .-= Ron´s last blog ..If You Were a Fragrance =-.

  13. Written by Big Pumpkin
    on October 22, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    I totally agree with Ron about hairdressers being psychiatrists!!! This has been happening since my first hairdresser visit as a child and I felt that they were grossly underpaid! Well, in Malaysia anyway…..Even masseuses’ are psychiatrists these days and I speak from experience. LOL.

  14. Written by Ron
    on October 22, 2009 at 9:20 pm

    Hi Big Pumpkin!

    I think what it is with occupations such as hairstyling, massage therapy and any type of occupation where you “touch” someone, seems to naturally open up people to freely talk, because they’re more “personal” occupations where the client and stylist/masseuse connect quickly, which can actually be very enjoyable. However, it can also be very draining because of the amount of clients one sees in a day. Some stylists it doesn’t seem to affect as much. I, on the other hand, began to find it too draining. So, I think it’s best that I left cosmetology when I did.

    Here in the U.S. hair stylists can make very good money, but it just takes time.

    Thank you for stopping by for a read. It was nice meeting you. Enjoy your evening!
    .-= Ron´s last blog ..If You Were a Fragrance =-.

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