I have come to appreciate that parallels can be drawn between an amazing hair cut and a great day of kayak instruction.
Follow me here in replacing “getting my haircut” with “taking a day of instruction” and see if it sounds familiar to you….

First there is just the idea of going to a professional stylist when you can do it yourself/have your friend help you out. Of course there is no telling what the outcome will be in either situation until it is over; and while both can be fixed afterwards—getting it done right produces much better results and avoids a huge deflated ego when the results are in.

Choosing the professional best suited for one’s style/needs-which are different than other people’s is also part of the process.
Take me:
For starters I stuff my head/hair into a helmet, sometimes seven days/week for my job;
I am typically in some stage of wet for most of the day (unless it is cold out);
I don’t have a lot of time for frills;
and while I have come around to the idea of spending the time and money to get my hair cut—I want to see results.

All of the above brought me to Van Michael Salons and my friends Van and Rob. First they was really fun to hang with (of course, I met them kayaking) and they both have great laughs. More importantly, they both have amazing reputations and have earned the respect of their clients (information I garnished through fellow hair-cut aficionados, as well as watching them work while I was waiting for my time in the chair). Since Van did not do a lot of floor time, I latched onto Rob to try and salvage my mop of wet hair.

I typically show up at the salon for a scheduled appointment not looking my best. But I aspire to try and leave looking better. Even in my bedraggled state, I begin to relax almost immediately because in a crowded salon, I sense that Rob’s focus is honed in on me and his priority while I am there is making me feel like the most important person in the room. I know he will do the same for everyone that came before me/comes after me, but it is the time I am there that matters.

I must confess that as Rob tries to sort through the mess of my sun baked, river soaked mop of hair I always feel a little self-conscious. When he asks me how using the blow drying method he showed me the previous visit is working—I must look as chagrined as the student who has just been asked if they are using the stern draw in all the ways we practiced the previous time.

Having made my choice of who is cutting my hair, I relax and trust that he is steering me in the right direction. And trust that the strands of hair soon falling to the floor will achieve the same great results as would practicing the individual steps of the roll over and over again for someone learning to roll.

Along the way Rob takes the time to suggest tools that will help improve my hair/haircut—a different conditioner, hair brush or approach to drying; just as I do in giving someone “homework” to take back from their instruction to continue to improve. Rob makes it look/sound so easy to do and makes me feel so committed. But then I wonder if I will ever have the skill–or the time, to use this new tool/take his advice. Even so, at the end of the appointment I am amazed at the transition I see in the mirror. I walk out the door holding my head a little higher and cannot resist giving my new mane a little swoosh as I walk down the street. It is like finally learning how to successfully peel out of an eddy and then doing so with great success.

And I confess that as a result of Rob’s nudging (pure salesmanship I know), I leave with bag in hand that holds that little styling tip/tool that was suggested to me—knowing that the first couple of times trying to do it on my own might be a little scary. The execution may be awkward and chances are good I won’t immediately achieve the results of today. But with some practice I will feel better about doing it on my own. Who knows—there may come a day when I feel so confident I trying using something like the hair straightener tool that looks as complicated as some ancient torture device.

And to think I would have once have said “never” to such a thought ☺