A baby boomer’s quest for ideal hair

Look, having trouble finding someone to style your hair just right is certainly only a First World Problem! But if you’ve been around as long as all of us baby boomers have been and still can’t find The One, you’re just like Melodee Currier of Dublin, Ohio, who has written to BoomerCafé saying, Here’s My Dilemma.

I’ve been searching for a hairdresser since 1982! That was the year I moved to Florida and had my last haircut with Bill, The Scissor Wizard, in Toledo, Ohio. I was always thrilled with my hair when he cut it. It’s been forty years, and at least 200 hairdressers later, and I still haven’t found anyone who compares to him.

Melodee Currier in her youth.

Melodee Currier in her youth.

There are five things I consider when going to a hairdresser: skill, price, location, personality, and ambiance of the salon (in that order). My first criteria, skill, is a must. They must have the skill to give a great cut or the rest doesn’t matter –– it’s a deal breaker. Some hairdressers might know how to cut hair, but the price is prohibitive, whereas with others the price is good, but nothing else makes the grade.

My friends think it’s weird that I rarely go to the same hairdresser twice. Perhaps they’re more patient than I am, have fewer expectations, or a larger bank account. Whatever the reason, it’s my quirk and I’m sticking to it. I believe I’m a quick study when it comes to analyzing hairdressers and their ability to cut hair. After just the first haircut, I can tell if a hairdresser has promise. Unfortunately, I’ve found that most hairdressers are very limited. They might be able to do one style well, but everything else is just mediocre. And because it can be expensive (as well as a waste of time) to give a hairdresser numerous “tries,” I always cut my losses early and move on to the next one, in search of the perfect haircut.

boomer_woman_sideI have a second haircut next week with “Mandy.” I am already leery about it and here’s why: when she cut my hair last month, the price was within reason and I like her personality, but the location is more than 20-miles away (which seems like forever in the winter) and the atmosphere in the salon felt phony and uncomfortable. So, unless I’m thrilled with my next haircut, I will be looking for yet another hairdresser. It’s a Catch 22 with me. The only way to stop it is to lower my expectations, but I’m not planning to do that.

Most of the time I choose a hairdresser based on recommendation. I will stop people at the post office, grocery store, cosmetic counter, concerts, and classes to ask, Who does your hair? I have even contacted local TV news anchors whose hair I like. I keep a running list of hairdressers, but if all else fails, I’ll check Angie’s List and Google.

My biggest fear is, what if I finally find “the one” and then he or she moves or stops doing hair — then I’m back to square one. Just in case, I plan to keep that running list handy!

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  1. How I sympathise! i have totally given up my quest for ideal hair! Something that is tidy and easy to manage would suffice but it’s not what suits the customer, it’s all about fitting in to the fashion of the moment. My baby boomer hairdresser retired a couple of years ago and I have been systematically disillusioned ever since. Philomena, bless her, knew how to cut! Now, like the author I am constantly changing in the hope of finding someone who will not force my hair into the style that he or she currently delivers. I had high hopes on my recent visit to Italy but no, it was straighteners and sleek styles there too. When it comes to my hair, I can’t agree with the old maxim of better out of this world than out of the fashion.

  2. Very familiar story and I can surely relate to this! Over the years, I have become terrified of having major work done on my hair. Since I have naturally curly hair, any cutting makes the hair spring three inches shorter for a one inch cut. Trying to convince stylists of this is almost impossible. So many times I left the shop with bangs that looked like Jim Carrey’s in Dumb and Dumber. Once – and this will never happen again – I decided to get a permanent to try and make my hair more manageable. No, the stylist would not believe my hair curls fast and so I ended up with the largest “hair” imaginable. Pam Grier and Angela Davis had nothing on me. I cried and cried.

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