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Hostile makeover – cheating evolves into ‘hairowing’ experience

Let me start off by saying I love my hairdresser. For seven years, she was a faithful and loyal stylist. Let’s call her Rhonda, because if you call her Ronny she goes Sweeny Todd on your head.

Rhonda and I have been together since the early 2000s when she convinced me that maybe it was time to get rid of my Farrah Fawcett hairdo. She told me the curling iron was dead. And she didn’t just cut my hair; she was more like a therapist. We shared medical stories. Showed each other our surgery scars. We read People magazine, and questioned why Sheryl Crow ever dated Kidd Rock or Lance Armstrong. We assumed it must be that she liked high-risk guys. And what’s with Lance and the ladies? I don’t think he’s ever going to have a good relationship with a woman until he gives up the bike.

What I am saying is we were comfortable. But then things started to slide between us. She got more successful and I travelled more. I became what you’d call a road warrior, spending more time on the 401 than I did around here and, well, I started looking around. It was innocent, at first. I was eyeing other people’s up-dos. Their de-frizzed hair. Rhonda started making me wait longer for appointments.

There is no one to blame but, before you know it, one night I was out of town, alone in a hotel room, and I had an overwhelming urge to get my hair cut. Blame it on bed-head or boredom, but the next day, I found myself in a salon called Pretentious. The walls were black and silver and trendy, and the owner was an angry hair barista named Ovid. Or Avid. Or maybe it was Abba. His face had so many tucks, he looked like the guy from Siegfried and Roy. You know, the one who was attacked by the tiger?

But boy, Ovid was good. He knew how to use a pair of scissors. From the moment he slung the apron around my neck, I knew we were in for a dynamic and tumultuous ride. He asked questions: “Are you dramatic or attractive?” I said, “I’m both” and he kissed me on the cheek and laughed. He began swinging his paintbrush around my head, madly swishing and swashing colour this way and that. But as he was dolling me up, he was also insulting me, telling me my lipstick was horrid, my clothing colours were all wrong and my last hairdresser sucked. It was abuse, that ’80’s kind of disco abuse where hairdressers dished out insults in those kinds of salons where the customer is never right. If we had been in a reality show, it would have been called Hostile Makeover.

Now some people, if attacked by a hairorist, would storm out. But not me. No way. In fact, I tipped him more than I normally tipped Rhonda — 20 per cent. I also bought products. Lots of wax and glue, straighteners and volumizers. The more he insulted me, the more attached I got and the more I bought. Why? Because I’m as conceited as the next woman, and when it was over and done with, he made me look fabulous. Everybody said, “MY GOD, WHERE DID YOU GET YOUR HAIR DONE? (Yes, they said it in capital letters.)

So for the next four months, I snuck around behind Rhonda’s back again and again and again, driving to another city to see Ovid. I couldn’t get enough of the guy, but then he started to get crazy. In fact, dangerous. “Cross your legs again and I’ll cut your ear off like Van Gogh” kind of dangerous. He was so temperamental. If I didn’t love what he did he sulked, and frankly the cuts were getting crazier with every appointment. And finally, the last time I came out looking like a skunk I said to myself, “Enough is enough.”

When I told my friend Lorna, who doesn’t sugar-coat things, she lit up a smoke and blew a plume in my direction. (Some call it second-hand smoking. I call it smoking for free.)

“It’s your own dog-ganged fault, she said. “You cheated on your hairdresser. It’s instant karma. Just add water.”

She was right. If I’m going to be honest about it, the only reason I got Rhonda was because I was cheating on Melissa, who was on maternity leave.

If I am really, really honest about it, Rhonda was not the first service person I have stepped out on. My cleaning lady was the first. I didn’t like the way she did things so rather than tell her, I brought in the Molly Maids on her off-week. She caught me; found a dirty Swiffer cloth in the laundry room and shook it in my face.

“What’s this?” she accused with the veins popping from her neck.

“Maybe I was dusting.”

“What kind of fool do you take me for?” she sniped back.

“The kind that wants symphony tickets. Box seats.”

It was then that I realized it was time to stop this behaviour. I had one more chance to change, to do it right. But what was I going to tell Rhonda? How could I say that I had gone somewhere else? I couldn’t pretend I was a victim of a random drive-by colouring. After all, I looked like Pepé Le Pew.

We started slow. Built trust. I brought her a coffee from Tim’s. I bought cheese from her kids’ school, and raffle tickets from her husband’s hockey team.

The first cut was the deepest. I am not mincing words. I looked a little like Edward Scissorhands had had his way with me. Then, instead of using the usual foils to colour my hair, she inflicted the colouring cap on me. It’s an old-school bathing cap they put on your head, then use knitting needles to pull strands through microscopic holes so they can colour your hair. Often leaving tears in your eyes. And dents in your skull.

Now, Rhonda and I are back in. We are settled into a nice routine.

That’s not to say that I’m not tempted. I walked by Ovid’s shop the other day when I had occasion to visit that city again. There he was, looking out the window, smiling. It wasn’t because he was happy; he was wearing a chin strap. Must have had a nip and tuck. But I thought, “No.” A person who went back to that kind of pain would have to have holes in her head.

Even more holes than Rhonda would give me.

Deborah Kimmett is a humorist and motivational speaker who inspires groups with presentations through her company, Wit with Wisdom. She is also an author and a regular performer on CBC Radio.

Visit Kimmett at

May 28 – Creative Writer’s Day on Amherst Island beginning at 10 a.m. with funny woman Deborah Kimmett. Escape from the world and unleash your creativity in a safe environment with like-minded people. Visit for details and registration.

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About the Author: Deborah Kimmett is not just a funny face. She knows a thing or two about life. Whether on the stage, or in the conference room, this witty and wise woman knows laughing matters. With her hilarious stories and interactive exercises she ignites, inspires and offers strategies for success. Side Effects: You might get your sense of humor back. Visit her at or on youtube at

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