posted by Joe Anaya on October 24th, 2011

I’m excited to get my hair cut today. When my hair grows out, it doesn’t just get longer, it gets puffy. As in bigger, wider, further from my head in a two-inch radius. But mostly I’m happy to be getting my hair cut by a stylist I like. I am generally too disinterested in my hair to make an appointment for a hair cut. My previous M.O. was to wake up one morning and realize I was starting to look a little like Dr. J from the 70s. So, I would wander over to the salon in the mall and get my hair cut by whoever was available.

After a few visits, I got to know one particular stylist, Sonja. She did a fine job, but I never felt the need to call in advance and make an appointment. Sonja was always there when I showed up and she would usually squeeze me into her schedule, which was fine with me. One day, Sonja’s not there and I get my hair cut by a different stylist, Alexis. Alexis does a really good job. So good, I take her card and resolve to make an appointment the next time a need my hair cut.

Six weeks later, I actually make the effort to set up an appointment. But I recognize Sonja’s voice answering the phone. I know it’s just a haircut, but I feel like a cheating boyfriend about to get caught. I’m sure Sonja considers us to be going steady, even though I’ve never committed to her. Would she have hurt feelings if I asked her to set me up with Alexis? She’s a woman, of course she would. Wouldn’t she? Can I just hang up? Do they have caller ID? Will she recognize my voice? When Alexis cuts my hair, will Sonja be there stabbing me with dirty looks? All this runs through my head in a split second and I do what any coward would do, I make an appointment with Sonja.

The next time I need a cut, I go to the mall and plan to walk by and peek into the shop and see if Alexis is there. If not, I’ll come back later and try again. I’m in luck, I see Alexis cutting some lady’s hair. But of course so is Sonja. She’s sitting at the front desk and waves as I walk by. Damn it. Now this is serious, I get my hair cut by Sonja again, but this time I’m forced to get devious. I take Sonja’s card and innocently ask which days does she work? Next month, I call on a day when Sonja’s not there and get Alexis’s schedule. There are a couple days when Alexis works and Sonja doesn’t. I make an appointment.

This system works and I get great haircuts, but I always worry that Sonja will trade shifts one day and be in the shop. I have months of leaving Alexis’s company and feeling a little less guilty each time, knowing I made the right choice. Until one day, Alexis doesn’t work there any more. How could she just up and leave without telling me where she went? I spend a few awkward months getting my hair cut by Sonja and trying new places always wondering if I’ll run into Alexis.

Then one day, I’m telling my neighbor about my tragic Sonja/Alexis relationship and he reveals, he had the same exact experience. Not just with two stylists, but with Sonja and Alexis. Except he found Alexis! Also unable to go back to Sonja, he tried a different salon in town and Alexis was there at the next station. I’m so excited I get the number and make an appointment for the next week.

At our reunion, I tell Alexis the story; she laughs. She gave me her cell number and told me to call that number to make appointments. She explains, how most salons frown on customer loyalty to stylists above the salon. So, she couldn’t tell anyone she was leaving. She also explains the stylist code that the customer is right no matter who they pick to cut their hair. But all that was in the past. All is forgiven. I found Alexis.

File Under Mr. Cool