If you happened to read my March 18 blog entry, you might remember my encounter with a straight-outta-Blue-Velvet (and not in a particularly "hip" way!) hair salon in Chelsea called "Chelsea Styles," where I got my very first haircut in NYC.
At my first visit, I was slightly freaked out by all of the 80-year-old women with pastel hair shades and by the huge hairdryer I was eventually placed under... But in fact the haircut turned out to be something I was complimented on, and it was only $31, so... I decided to give the place a second shot today.
Same little old ladies hanging around, same Robert Goulet-ish gay man holding court, all engaged in a spirited conversation about the Poconos (except for the one little old lady who was just sitting there staring off into space; I never could determine what she was having done)... Though later, a good-looking, sexy old lady came in to liven up the joint a bit. She was only 70-ish, rather than 80-ish, so a real spring chicken. But her features were fantastic! She had on a ton of makeup and her personality was overt to match. (Though her "banter" with Mr. Goulet was actually un-funny and a bit cringe-inducing, I still couldn't stop sneaking looks at her in the mirror, because she really was good-looking! I wonder if she was a small-time actress years ago...As my cut was finished and I was leaving, I was blessed with her pronouncement: "Young Lady, your hair looks terrific!" Uh-oh. I think I just figured out why I keep coming back to this place... Here, I really AM still a "Young Lady" at 41!) :)
Anyhow, ageing actresses aside: Since last time the lack of hair gel and big ol' hairdryer so distracted me, this time I cleverly thought I'd be proactive by asking outright after the cut if I could have gel (while my hair was still wet) rather than mousse (on my dry hair), and if my stylist could use the hand-held blowdryer... My hairdresser was amazed by my gel request---
"You don't use mousse? Have you ever TRIED mousse? You don't want mousse? Last time we used mousse."
"Well, yes, I used to use mousse---back in the '80s..."
"Don't worry, we have gel. We'll use gel. We want you to be comfortable."
At which point she reached into an unmarked tub of Vaseline-looking GOO and started to slather it onto my head, where it sat there in big greasy blobs...The stuff wasn't even a cute pink color, like my mother's old 1970s Dippity-Do (the forerunner of today's gel), but, really, some heavy-duty Vaseline-colored PASTE that coated my hair, refused to dry, and then, once finally dry, created a completely dull finish...
Oh, speaking of drying...Nothing weird there. The stylist did happen to own a hand-held hairdryer and used it proficiently. (Thank goodness. Since it was a warmish day, and the salon door was propped open, I hadn't especially relished the thought of having passing tourists GAWK at the FREAK SITTING UNDER THE HAIRDRYER!)
All was well, pleasantries exchanged, etc., until it was time for me to pay Mr. Goulet, who apparently runs the joint. The charge was $31 for the cut. And... $30 for the blowdry!!!!! I thought the man was kidding! And then he pointed to a pricing sign on the wall: sure 'nuff---it did indeed say "$30 for a blowdry"! Now, the only place in my life where I've ever been charged to have my hair dryed is back when I was a poor student in Austin and had to go to SuperCuts, where the basic cut was $8 and then they added on charges for every little thing, like shampooing, drying, requesting a specific stylist, etc.
I'm afraid I offended Mr. Goulet with my astonishment, because he stopped talking to me while and after I forked over the dough! Ooops! I've offended "Chelsea Styles"! Perhaps it was all just too magical to last...
I did salvage one good thing from my visit despite that mighty faux pas: I learned (from Mr. Goulet, back when we were friends) where a really good shoe shop is in the neighborhood! I desperately needed more work heels; my ONE $100 pair that I'd bought from Macy's weeks ago wasn't quite sufficient for the work-week! This shop is called "Bently Shoes," and it's on the same block across from the Chelsea Hotel that the "Styles" shop is on. It's tiny, but the selection is great, the proprietor Mr. Gurses very nice, and the sales today fantastic----I got a pair of Etienne Aigner for only $40 and Bandolino for $30 (marked down from $98)...