It was a brisk but sunny fall day when I decided to get a long overdue haircut. I used to scour Groupon for the cheapest possible way to get a quality cut. Then I discovered student salons. Before you start picturing me with mangled hair, let me assure you that has never happened. No reasonable person pays tuition to learn something they don’t care about. Every student stylist I’ve had was thrilled by the opportunity to cut a real person’s hair. Plus those dolls they practice on are creepy. Their enthusiasm is demonstrated by the superior quality and detail of each cut. In case that doesn’t dissuade your concerns, an instructor checks the progress of the haircut several times throughout the process.
I could sense the nervous excitement when my stylist, J.R. greeted me. While she was washing my hair, I told her the story of when I inserted my first catheter in nursing school. She visibly relaxed after learning I had also experienced the emotional minefield unique to students in practicum classes. Then we started to chat. A lot. We covered hometowns, rent prices, pets, boyfriends, and hobbies before one of her classmates, A.M., needed a pep talk. Apparently some of the other students decided A.M. studied too hard and was therefore a bitch. As soon as that word left her mouth, she made the face I would expect from someone who just realized they had toilet paper stuck to their shoe. She apologized to me for being unprofessional. I just smiled and said, “Every successful woman gets called a bitch at least once.” She high-fived me with a big smile and a new found bounce in her step. I was happy to be the one who removed her toilet paper.