I have been asked by several readers of my last post if I wouldn’t mind further explaining the concept (or perhaps my concept) of Midwestern hair.
I swear, I’m not one of those New Yorkers who discusses “flyover states” without irony, or says things like, You’re from Idaho! No way, do you know Bob from Ohio? But there is such a thing as Midwestern hair, even if not all Midwesterners have it. It’s a fact. Just like there’s a New York accent or a California tan or a Texas inclination to put minor felons to death.
Truth be told, you don’t even have to be Midwestern to have Midwestern hair.
Midwestern hair is a cut that just misses (at best). It generally incorporates style tricks from a decade or two earlier, like angled overgrown sideburns in front of the ears or a spikey top with shorter sides. Or perhaps it’s just a sad helmet-looking thing that hangs there over your head as if it weren’t even attached to your scalp in the first place. The word shellack comes to mind.
To say nothing of the color. The word shellack comes to mind.
Of course living on a coast does not guarantee one a spectacular haircut, I assure you. I know my own hair is hopelessly inadequate. It always has been, ever since my mid-80s Ducky ‘do. Or even sooner. There’s one photo in my baby album of a 3 year-old me, just out of the pool, with an opaque mess of dark unnatural looking curls parted down the center, falling into my face and covering it in spotty patches. Years later I came across the photo and asked my mother whether I was wearing her wig.
Indeed, my hair is my beauty cross to bear, which is why I work the cleavage. Much rather you look there. However since in New York we pay six times as much for a cut–or sometimes 32 times more for it–we feel entitled to act as if we look better than everyone else.
However we do have one thing in NYC that other cities don’t: Better hair salon names.
Our salon owners, for the most part, seem to save their creativity for the inside of the salon and simply use their names for the outside. But in smaller towns and cities, wow, you just can’t beat the salon names.
I’ve always loved driving through unfamiliar places and checking out the name of beauty establishments. They are simply the best in any retail category, bar none. And because I am a total freak whose mind works in absolutely useless ways, I mentally categorize them, if not actually jotting them down somewhere.
First of all, there are the cliche names that you see absolutely everywhere: A Cut Above. Shear Elegance. Mane Expressions. Pizzazz. Foxy Lady.
Don’t believe me? Google “foxy lady” and hair, and you get 124,000 hits.
Then there are the fast and loose spellings which seem to permeate this retail category like no other: Nogginz. Sassi Styles. Topp Notch Hair. Changez. Kutterz. Hairdooz. These are also the people whose children are named Madysynne and Tymythy, no doubt.
I cannot for the life of me figure out why Topp Notch Hair was chosen over Top Notch Hair. Maybe the latter was already taken?
This summer when we were driving down from Raleigh/Durham to Carolina Beach, I caught perhaps my favorite name ever: Best Little Hairhouse. It absolutely works as a pun. Do I want to go to the best little hairhouse? Why, yes! Yes I do! Other salons are not so smart about their puns. I can only imagine what hair do’s and don’ts occur at the following establishments:
Scissor Happy, Lowell, AR
“Take just a little off the si…no? Um, okay.”
Doc Scissors, Boise, ID
They make you wear those paper gowns.
Tangles Hair, Freemont, NC
Bring the kids!
Anything Goes for Hair, Omaha, NE
Is this a good thing?
Curl up and Dye, Logan, WV
It just gives every customer a warm fuzzy feeling.
Headgames, Madison, WI
Maybe we’ll give you the cut you want…maybe not. You’ll know when you take off the blindfold.
Crosshairs, Kansas City, KS
Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow, Lincoln, NE
A truly transformative experience
Although there is one single worst name for a salon that I uncovered this morning while searching for hair salons. I kid you not, this is an actual place, and more frightening yet, it’s a chain. I saw it time and time again, in cities across America from coast to coast. I beg of you, go someplace, anyplace else. Please. For me. For the children.
It’s called J.C. Penney