Eastside Salon Rouge Makeover: Andrew

Andrew Huff ('10)/ Eastside Humor Editor and Andrew Huff ('10)/ Eastside Humor Editor

The response to my new ‘do has been subtle; a few peers have noticed and have mostly said “Oh my gosh! Your hair is so shiny!” Others have asked, “Did you dye your hair?” to which I respond, “No, not me personally.”

This “makeover,” if it even equates that, has highlighted a unique trend of hair-care segregation, at least to me. There are understated, over-expressed caveats of “guys go to barber shops, girls go to salons,” which have produced a split-end of the hair-care business. There is an implicit bias against males getting anything more than a 5-minute haircut, or even stepping foot into a salon, as if those actions aren’t manly enough.

I found out literally last minute that I had a 4:00 appointment at Salon Rouge to have a stylist go wild with my one-inch of blonde hair. Eager to change my token hairstyle, I entered the high-end salon ready to give whoever held the scissors free reign over my hair.

Ever since my seventh grade history teacher enthusiastically remarked that my spiked hair looked good, I have worn the ubiquitous male version of the up-do. Guys don’t have much leeway with hair styles, aside from the few who are patient enough to grow it out: I am not one of those people, so I settled for the traditional close-cut haircut.

Desiree, a sociable young stylist with a wavy blonde reverse-mullet type of haircut, asked me if I wanted my hair to “speak, scream or whisper.” After initially choosing a mild-mannered tone, I opted for my follicles to scream. Unfortunately, the color specialist thought my hair would be best suited for natural highlights. The nearly-colorless verdict was disappointing, but not completely: I was getting highlights for the first time.

Hair care, from a simple cut to more complex chemical procedures, is not (or at least should not be) an esoteric business driven by gender; feminine or masculine, gender should not limit one from being adventurous with his or her appearance. I’ve been to barber shops, cut my own hair and gone to hair salons. Salons offer an ambiance of being a part of a community of others in similar situations, as opposed to the one-on-one environment of a barbershop. In my experiences, stylists are more conversational, more rushed, but acute with their work; barbers are more reserved, work slower but are less precise. Stylists, too, encourage innovation, change and are eager to craft a new haircut, whereas barbers return an old haircut to a customer.

But the question remains, and may always remain: Do guys really need a candy-cane pole to feel secure about getting a haircut? Of the four hours I spent at Salon Rouge, surrounded by female customers and employees, I never felt a singe gender-driven glare from anyone. No one seemed to care that a guy had stopped by to get his hair done, and I found that observation to be refreshing. Of the four hours I spent at the salon, it took only one-and-a-half hours for my hair to be washed, cut, colored, rinsed, dried and cut again.

To me, those archaic delegations of guys to the barbershop and girls to the salon seem unreasonably tedious.

I don’t care where you get your haircut and whether I get my hair cut at a barbershop, a hair salon or in my own bathroom is really none of anyone’s business.

Well, except for this eyebrow-raising (and hair cutting) experience.