Christmas Style

I woke up this morning thinking about Christmas. Then the Rolodex I call my memory, brought forth things that I hadn’t thought about in years.

When I first moved to Las Vegas, I worked at American Hairforce for about 6 months, until I could find a Fantastic Sam’s. I didn’t really know the lay of the land then, though scouting around for about 3 weeks, I finally found two. One close to home and one not so close. I chose the one not so close. Being from Los Angeles I wasn’t used to running into clients where I shopped, much less where I lived, so it seemed a pretty safe choice. I’ve pretty much always worked for a Fantastic Sam’s somewhere in Los Angeles. I was in charge of several of them at one point and the designated Creative Director.

My second year on the floor, working in Diamond Bar, California, we got a call from someone who’d been in a serious car accident and hadn’t been allowed to wash her hair (doctor’s orders), for almost 3 weeks. When the phone was finally passed to me, she was in tears. I said sure and for free too. It was just a shampoo and blow dry after all. That Christmas, one of my regular clients named Rose, passed away, while under the dryer. I wished her well and the medics took her away.

Does anyone remember the “Nightstalker”? Not the show, the serial killer. That summer we had the “Freeway Killer” and the “Nightstalker”. My last day at the Diamond Bar, Fantastic Sam’s was the day I drove to work and from the freeway overpass I could see cops, surrounding a house, less than 2 blocks from the salon. He’d killed a family there. I transferred to the Monrovia Fantastic Sam’s. I met a girl that had these really strange bumps on the back of her neck and told her with some emphasis, that seeing her doctor soon, was of the utmost importance. I got a call three weeks later thanking me for saving her life. During that summer, some guy came into the salon, asking if someone could give him a lift to his car. Because it was the number 2 store in Southern California and a Saturday, there was no way any of us could have left the floor. We were slammed, we were so busy that I switched the first two letters in the words, cut and front in the phrase, “First I’m going to cut the front,” and my client and I almost fell down laughing. Later that same day, one of the girls that worked at Frogen Yozurt was found dead, next to this man’s car. I decided that day that I would never again allow someone in my car that I didn’t know, in trouble or not and then I moved on to the La Canada/Flintridge Fantastic Sam’s. I met Kevin Costner’s wife and family and I met Harrison Ford’s wife and family too. They were my clients. I also inhaled some quaternarium ammonium compound, that I thought was glass cleaner, because that’s what the store manager told me it was, and wound up in the emergency room, unable to breathe. The reason for my move to Las Vegas.

These are little snippets that my Rolodex brought up this morning. I moved to Las Vegas and one of my co-worker’s clients, at American Hairforce, had a really serious case of psoriasis, all over the right side of her face. She had been to a dermatologist on several occasions and tried just about everything possible, to make it go away. Let me be clear about this too, hair may be everyone’s crowning glory however,  you greet the world face first. I told her to try hydro-cortisone cream. She called 3 days later to tell me the psoriasis was gone. That stuff works pretty fast, I know from personal experience.

I moved on to the Fantastic Sam’s from there. I think that’s one of the Sam’s salons where I had the most fun. We were all team players and there were at least 12 of us working there, in a brand new salon. One of my co-workers was complaining about his arm hurting one day. He told me it had been hurting for at least two days and he just didn’t know why. On a whim, and because I liked watching medical shows on television at the time, I took his pulse in both wrists. They didn’t match. I called 911, against the protests of  my co-worker, and he lived to see another day. He was having a heart attack and didn’t even know it.

I’m sure there are other stylists out there that can share similar stories, the thing is, every Christmas, clients bring us presents. Every Christmas and New Year’s Eve, cosmetologists, manicurists and aestheticians everywhere, put their best foot forward for their clients, and stay until the wee hours, long after celebrations have begun.

Yes we do it for the money, we also do it because we care. If you don’t look good, neither do we. The best advertisement is word of mouth and we know that too.

About gifting your stylist, I can say we all have this in common. When thinking of us, tip a little extra (I know, I mentioned “money” again), better than that though, bring us good food, all year long. The way things are situated here in Pahrump, very rarely is there an abundance of places to eat fast, with good food and a variety to choose from, close to where we work. Because of the way we work, very rarely do we really get a chance to break away from the salon area, to get a chance to even look at food. Actually, food is a good gift anytime of year. That’s the real secret to getting a stylist to do almost anything you want them to do to your style and it’s a little bit of Christmas style for the stylist all year long. Please give.

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