School of Beauty

I go to the local beauty school every four to six weeks.

My mom always stated my hair was my shining glory which meant from my earliest days I was not allowed to complain about my thick and vibrant mane. I wanted to! I tried! I got no sympathy from my friends that my hair would do its own thing no matter how I tried to tame it.

I stopped arguing with my hair in grade school. It grew fast and I was required to get it cut three times a year. Fortunately, the local salon was owned by two men who won lots of awards for hair styling and they never grumped about how long it had been since my last trim, or whatever I’d done with the scissors during the interim. I think they were Jay & Bob, and both were married with children, and I always got a great cut for my hair with their dedicated attention to style. I really only wanted it off my face.

I moved to Oregon in 1997 and one of my first friends was my neighbor, Nancy. It wasn’t long before she revealed she taught at the local beauty school. Nancy was happy to trim my hair and soon she was coloring it too. I’d been content with the low-priced box that would cover dull and gray strands. Within a few months, Nancy told me they needed “real heads” for the students to learn. I thought it would be fun, and it was! During one color class I had four students working on my mane.

I soon learned that Nancy had to cut and color my hair because my personal “beauty regime” was such a disaster that she couldn’t talk to me without cringing.

So, since 1998, whenever I didn’t like what I saw in the mirror I called Nancy at work and she’d get an appointment on the schedule within a few hours. The students I met were always in their final days of the program, excited to be moving soon into their new careers. Working on my hair was their treat from Nancy, their teacher, even though she’d hover because a less than good job from a student would impact our leisure chats.

Nancy and I have lots of stories we’ve share through the years and our eldest grandsons are the same age. She was the mom-on-the-street when I had to leave our younger daughters, at 13 & 16 yrs-old, in charge of our home; the horse, the dogs, cat, bunny, after  Ed’s accident in 2002. His job included 85% travel and he couldn’t do his job without me as his pack mule, for almost a year. A few years later I was there for Nancy each day when she sold off everything after her husband’s death in 2005.

I continued going to the beauty school every month and later learned from the students that I was one of the few friends from Nancy’s former life that was still a friend in her widowed life. For about a year, the students assigned to my hair already had heard about me.

I became addicted to meeting these students and hearing their life stories and career plans. I’ve sampled every beauty treatment taught at that school and I’ve been a test client for a variety of beauty treatments from facials to pedicures. I enjoy being the guinea pig for a new process for beauty students. It rates way higher for me than being a medical test case. One is interactive to make me look and feel good, the other requires documenting heart palpitations and diarrhea.  Yeah, I avoid pills and a good shower after the hair color chemicals is a favorite cure.

Nancy is the Beauty School director now, she still teaches some classes but the students know her by sight and reputation instead of as their primary mentor. The school has also moved twice, so I’m really knowledgeable regarding the differences of wash-out bowls and issues with water temperature. I’m known as that novelist friend of the director, who tips well, and has this most awesome head of hair to cut and color.

I understand that my association with beauty schools is tainted by having students hand-picked for my treatments. However, my attention to my shining glory hasn’t changed much. The only difference is, I’ll pull out my business card and explain that I need to look like my author photo.

The students and I have a great time because I really am more interested in their personal life stories; goals, dreams, challenges, achievements, than what they do with my hair.  And they love running their fingers through my hair.

I totally appreciate what I have learned about what goes on behind the scenes in film, television, fashion shows, and plastic surgeons offices.

There’s a lot to learn in beauty schools.

4 thoughts on “School of Beauty

    1. Phagans is at the Clackamas Mall. They just moved into the new store. My cut and color was $31 and that’s why I tip well. 😀
      However, not everyone likes going to beauty schools because they are students and can botch the job even though instructors are hovering. I’ve had a few bad haircuts and color “oops” over the years but my hair grows fast and hides all kinds of mistakes.


  1. I would say your appreciation isn’t tainted so much as it is tinted :)))) So much fun. You are correct in reflecting that the right space is important, but the right stylist can do her magic anywhere. BTW, you can always change your business cards. wink-wink.


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