Sunday, March 18, 2007

Chelsea Styles, AKA "The Canopy!"

I got a haircut in Austin from my regular stylist of 7 or 8 years just days before I left for New York City, trying to stave off the inevitable for as long as possible: having to get a new hair-dresser. This isn't a ladies' "Lifestyles" column, so I won't draw the whole dilemma out too much: In short, I'd been to the Chelsea area of New York to see some Joan Crawford movies; I'd seen a lot of hair salons in the area; I couldn't remember their names afterwards, so today when I decided I really needed my hair cut, I just looked in the Yellow Pages for names that started with "Chelsea."

Which led me to "Chelsea Styles," which is right across from the Chelsea Hotel (or, "Hotel Chelsea"---Please, don't get all "Frisco" on me). I called at 3:30, apologizing for the short notice, but did they have an opening...they did, for 4:30. When I arrived, I was expecting it to be a "hipper-than-thou" place---I'd put on extra makeup and dressed up a bit, in anticipation. Instead... there was one 75-year-old lady there getting her hair done in orange-vanilla who asked me about the weather; my own hairdresser was in her mid-60s and admired the bob I wanted, because she'd been seeing it since the '50s; the one (gay) male in the place looked like Robert Goulet, had worked there for 30 years, and had to go out and shovel snow after the store's canopy suddenly collapsed under the weight of yesterday's ice... I loved hearing the "CANOPY" conversations afterwards: SEVERAL OLD LADIES to PSEUDO-GOULET: "You really got your work-out for the day!" PSEUDO-GOULET: "For the DAY? You mean, for the YEAR!" [much laughter] Turns out, according to my own hairdresser, that just hours earlier on 23rd Street, yet ANOTHER CANOPY had collapsed from the snow, ALMOST injuring a young woman, who could not stop shaking afterwards! BEWARE OF THE SNOW-LADEN CANOPIES!!

OK, hair-story short: Once my wet hair was cut, the woman sent me to a big ol' hairdryer---the kind that comes down over your head and blows on you for 20 minutes! Yes, I was expecting a hand-held blow-dryer, per my past life 20th-century-experience... When I came out from under the Big Dryer, my hair looked like a fuzzy mushroom. Which my hairdresser insisted was instead "fluffy" and "natural." Upon my insistence, she did provide me with some mousse---a TON of mousse, sprayed directly into my own hand... "That's a lot of mousse..." "USE IT, QUICK!" OK, OK!!

You know, the cut wasn't horrible. It cost a mere $31, which is less than I paid for the exact cut I liked back in Austin, and is, I'm sure, way less than a more up-to-date (read: "hipper") Chelsea salon would charge. This first NYC cut wasn't particularly skillful or sexy, but... it's salvageable. And wearable for 5 or so weeks.

I didn't mind my venture into the world o' "Blue Velvet," but... if any female or gay male New Yorkers are out there reading, your hair salon recommendations would be GREATLY appreciated! :)


David said...

That is hilarious. I'm picturing you looking at the your Sophia Petrillo hairdo in the mirror. Did they call you hon?

Beth Austin said...

They did indeed call me "hon"!!

But there's a happy ending (i.e., "Steph's not walking around NYC looking like Sophia": Once I shampooed and blow-dried myself the next day, the haircut actually turned out to look OK! It was just that crazy DRYER!