Trip is about more than just hair
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.
Lucky find: Journalist Tara Whitsed was fortunate to find the perfect hairdresser when she was a child.