Trip is about more than just hair

Shepparton News - - VIEWPOINT - TARA WHITSED tara.whitsed @shep­p­news.com.au

Find­ing a good hair­dresser is like find­ing a fan­tas­tic pair of shoes — you hold onto them for dear life.

I am to­day mak­ing the three-and-a-half-hour-long jour­ney back to my home­town with the sole pur­pose of sit­ting in the sa­lon chair.

You see, I was lucky enough to find my hair­dresser at the ripe young age of about eight.

At that time, all I needed was a sim­ple trim.

But the mem­o­ries of driv­ing up the windy dirt track to my hair­dresser’s home-sa­lon with my mother and brother are fixed into my brain.

Stop­ping for the cows along the way as they made their way across the pad­dock, try­ing to avoid the many pot­holes that had formed on the road af­ter the grass had had a much needed drink.

I re­mem­ber tip-toe­ing over the cat­tle ramp to­ward the sa­lon — a con­verted garage which fea­tured a full glass door pro­vid­ing a win­dow to gaze out onto the rolling hills sur­round­ing Cor­ry­ong.

While my mother sat in the chair for sev­eral hours in a full head of foils with a cup of tea and beau­ti­ful home­made slice, my brother and I chat­ted away to our beloved Kris­ten.

I still re­mem­ber the ter­ri­ble (for us) year she fell preg­nant and we were forced to aban­don the hide­away sa­lon on the hill.

Our loy­alty to the hair­dresser we had al­ways known was pushed. For one whole year we went to a dif­fer­ent hair­dresser — we had an empty hole in our pony tails that needed to be filled.

But she soon re­turned — as did we to the gem of a hair­dresser for whom we had been pa­tiently wait­ing.

That baby is now al­most in sec­ondary school and now I am the one sit­ting in the chair in a full head of foils with a cup of tea and a piece of beau­ti­ful home­made slice.

Each time I make the jour­ney back to see her, nos­tal­gic mem­o­ries are evoked: The rad­i­cal ‘new dos’ I re­ceived over the years; all the ad­vice she has given me; all of the gos­sip we have dis­cussed — all come flood­ing back.

When I tell peo­ple I am go­ing back home to get my hair done, I of­ten get mixed re­sponses — some cu­ri­ous as to why I would bother to travel that far — but the good ma­jor­ity are with me on the good hair­dresser equals good shoes the­ory.

They un­der­stand. They can re­late to the hair­dresser loy­alty.

So as I pre­pared to make the jour­ney once again, I started to won­der what it was about her that I loved so much. Which then got me think­ing about the phe­nom­e­nal job hair­dressers do.

They have to be great com­mu­ni­ca­tors, have ex­cel­lent fine mo­tor skills, and be in­cred­i­bly artis­tic, all the while work­ing long ex­haust­ing hours on their feet.

I take my hat off to you — my hair­dresser — be­cause you, my friend, are one spe­cial woman.

I think about the long day she must have had with a range of dif­fer­ent clients be­fore seat­ing me — yet there she is, giv­ing me ex­actly what I want with­out me even hav­ing to ex­plain my­self to her.

But per­haps, when the bonds of client and hair­dresser are this strong, the client pro­vides some­thing for the hair­dresser too.

You see, when­ever I leave af­ter a good three hours chat­ting away in the sa­lon, my hair­dresser al­ways says how much of a great time she’s had.

So per­haps it of­ten goes both ways and a hair­dresser is as pleased to find a great client as the client is to find the hair­dresser.

Ei­ther way, I have been look­ing for­ward to catch­ing up with her at that sleepy lit­tle garage sa­lon nes­tled in the north-east for weeks.

And while you read this I am prob­a­bly sit­ting with a full head of foils, and a cup of tea and a piece of beau­ti­ful home­made slice in hand. ● Tara Whitsed is a jour­nal­ist at The News.

Pic­ture: AP Photo/Record Search­light, Clay Duda

Lucky find: Jour­nal­ist Tara Whitsed was for­tu­nate to find the per­fect hair­dresser when she was a child.

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