Thursday, August 02, 2007

Five Dollar Shake

I woke up yesterday morning full of energy, as I had a laundry list of shit to get done before heading to LA. I thought I was leaving tonight, so I had but a day to get all of my errands done. As it turns out, I think I am leaving sometime this weekend and will be in LA most of next week. The whole trip is a kamikaze mission to get a case settled and I am completely winging it. My client wants this goddamn thing settled, quite understandably, as his company was sued for purely anticompetitive reasons.

One of the more bullshit things about practicing law is seeing the "good" cases get fucked by bad judges and attorneys, while the "bad" cases (frivolous, bad faith claims) somehow manage to stay in the system. This case is 180% the latter kind and it is maddening that it hasn't settled. The reason, of course, is a stubborn, petty company owner and his fuckwit of an attorney. In two years, they have put out a dozen press releases, slamming my client to his customers, but in the same period, haven't deposed a single witness in support of their claims. Utter madness.

We are supposed to go to trial in October (it was originally calendared for January, then April, now October - all delayed by the court, not the parties). There is virtually no chance that the bad guys will prevail, but the stress of litigation and compelling business reasons have prompted my client (who was wrongfully sued) to be aggressively seeking a settlement. I got the vote of confidence from all the attorneys involved as being the most likely to obtain a resolution, so next week, I am on a mission to settle a case that should never have been filed. Worse, my client will likely pay a tidy sum to make it go away, even though he truly did nothing wrong. This is the state of the civil justice system - litigation is just a cost of doing business. Madness.

Among my many errands was an almost obsessive need to get my hair cut. This happens fairly frequently - I wake up one day and realize I have bad 80's hair band hair. My hair doesn't grow long, it grows out, and it seems to happen overnight. I woke up looking like Eddie Van Halen and I knew I couldn't very well negotiate a settlement sporting Van Halen hair. Also, I am the only female attorney involved in the case (and there are eight other attorneys involved) and am the youngest by a few decades. No, Van Halen hair wouldn't help the settlement situation.

Of course, my stylist - who, irritatingly, just left her downtown salon for a salon near the U - took the day off. She is probably my favorite stylist ever and I am nothing if not loyal, but again, the Van Halen hair was a pressing concern. I decided that I was going to "cheat" on her, just this once and started calling around. Absolutely no one was available. Fuck.

I called the Seven salon I went to a few years ago - great stylist, just no real chemistry (and yes, this is important in a stylist-client relationship) - to see if there were any openings for a cut and color. I made the big mistake a few years ago of adding highlights to my hair, all because I hated seeing my few lone gray hairs stand out against my jet black hair. Nearly everyone told me not to do it, but vanity, she is a cruel mistress, and I am now in the vortex of suck that is hair color maintenance. Annie, my regular stylist, she has had me on a plan to get me back to my proverbial roots, so I was willing to just get a cut. Just rid me of my inner Eddie.

The receptionist at Seven excitedly told me that there had JUST been a cancellation for "Billy," and the marvelous tone in his voice told me that this was a freak occurrence and clearly my destiny. Setting aside the obvious red herring (Billy? Really?), I agreed to be there in an hour. When I arrived, the eager receptionist could barely contain his glee ("can you believe it? Billy....on an hour's notice? This is your lucky day") and I met my temporary stylist, Billy.

Seven prides itself on customizing haircuts to the client and Billy spent a good twenty minutes talking to me about my routine. He fingered nearly every strand of my hair and asked a great deal of questions. By the end of that conversation, I considered him a friend. He told me that he was going to do an all over color (to my original shade, to cover those rogue gray hairs), a few natural highlights, and that I needed to take some of the weight off my hair.

Fucking A, my hair needed to lose weight? God, the pressure in this country to be sleek and thin!

Thing is, I had been wanting to cut my hair for a while, but resisted because of the whole "break up and cut your hair" cliche. Worse, I didn't want to get, in the words of Drew, the "crazy chick" haircut - drastic, random and just plain weird. Still, I have this philosophy about hairstylists, namely, that they know what the hell they are doing and have a much better sense of what cuts look best on people. I usually plop down in the chair, exchange a few words about what I like and my routine, then declare "I trust your judgment - do what you think is best." I basically told Billy the same thing, as he had put so much thought and effort into considering my hair.

Two and a half hours later, I had shed a few inches of hair and had most of my original color restored. I was pleased. I also had two great hours of conversation with him - unbelievably well versed about a whole host of things. But two hours? Holy shit, Batman. I contemplated my own (obscene) hourly rate and then briefly wondered if I should have at least asked what his rate was.

I got my answer a few minutes later. $400, with tip. Oh my holy fuck. I had snagged a date with the top stylist in town and certainly the most expensive. Billy's card doesn't even have a last name - he is just Billy. $400. Because I am not the type to ever dispute charges, I smiled gamely and paid the man (as I mentally recalculated my budget for the month). As I signed the slip, the excitable receptionist told me that Billy wanted to add me as a regular client and did I know that he hadn't taken a new client in two years and wow, this really was my lucky day, wasn't it? He told me that I needed to book all of my appointments right then, as Billy books out three months and when would lightning ever strike again and all that.

I told him that I needed to check my work calendar and would call him later, but truthfully, I knew my affair with Billy was a one-day stand. $400? Fuck that noise, out loud and proud. It is a good cut, to be sure, and the color is pleasing, but I am not a former president who can spend $400 for a cut and color. I'm going back to Annie, full of apology at my betrayal, and will somehow soldier on with haircuts and color at half the price.

While I rarely post pictures, this overlong and banal post is worthless without pics. Here is what $400 buys you in the way of hairstyles:

Too serious? I can laugh at being an idiot who paid $400 for this look:


Norm said...

OK now I don't feel so bad about the randomly-selected-person at the place next to the Asian market and the immigration paperwork / check cashing joint charging me $15.

And I'm glad you like your haircut.

cornutt said...

Heh. I have to like it. I paid a king's ransom for it. And, worse, looking through a few old pics? Yeah, not that different. Just shorter.

WTF, mate?