Every time I get my hair cut, Maria asks me, “What are we doing today?”
For the past six years, I’ve said one of two things: Either, “take off two inches and we’re keeping it all one length,” or “take off two inches and we’re doing layers.” Maria soldiers on: “You ready to try highlights yet?” I wince. Like a kid not ready to take the dive off the high-board, I make a face that indicates that one of these days I’ll be ready and I hope she’ll wait for me.
As she cuts my hair, she’ll ask me whether I’m dating. She’ll ask about the magazine and my son, and she’ll share a funny story or two of something that’s going on in her life.
As she’s shampooing my hair and doing her famous deep tissue massage, which after six years isn’t a second shorter than when she first used it to woo me as a client, she tells me about a new product she found recently and wants to try on me. It might be a new conditioner or a special comb for hair like mine. I’m usually interested. As she’s detangling me and taking off those two inches of growth, she’ll figure out a diplomatic way of mentioning that one of these days I’ll have to deal with the issue of hair color. Maybe she’ll suggest a gentle semi-permanent color or colored gel (“just to play with,” she’ll say). I bought a gel once, but usually figure I’ll look at stuff at the next show I attend.
As she trims and shapes, her pace is the same as it’s always been, as she patiently asks me to turn this way, scoot forward in my chair; sit straight.
When I’m done and sitting there with still-wet hair; she’ll ask, “How about I just dry a little?” because I always leave with wet hair, “No, not necessary,” I say, “I would rather it air-dry.”
So that’s been our routine every three months for six years. In the time I’ve been seeing Maria I’ve referred every friend and family member to her, my son has a standing six-week schedule, and even though she moved from two blocks away to six miles away, I’ve followed.
You know why? After six years, she’s till asking me what I want. How many of us can say that about our clients?