Appearance-Based Judgment and Haircuts

by admin

Appearance-Based Judgment and Haircuts

There are a lot of times when, as a parent, I feel as if I might be failing my daughter Allie. The latest occurrence was recently when I walked into a local salon.

Friday, I had decided on a whim that I could no longer stand the current state of my hair. It was, and still is, doing all of the wrong things. So I walked hand in hand with Allie into a local salon. I had never been to the particular business before, but my favorite stylist no longer worked at my regular salon. So I was on a hunt for someone who could cut my sensitive, naturally curly hair without butchering it. (I know, I just called my hair sensitive. How ridiculous. I know.)


The new salon had a sign in sheet. Immediately, I was reminded of the barbershops where my brother used to get his hair cut when we were younger. They always had sign up sheets where you signed your name and waited for your turn with whichever person became free first. The only difference between that barber shop and this place, really, was a few large Indian prints they had hanging on the wall. All in all, I was already a little weary of the situation. I certainly didn’t want to end up with a bowl cut or the ol’ high and tight look like I might’ve ended up with at a barber shop.

But I forced myself to pick up the pen and sign my name. I looked around for a few minutes. Surely looking like an idiot, because the desk where the sign up sheet was happened to be smack dab in the middle of the room. As I eyed the ladies cutting hair, I noted that they all had bad hair. One even had frizzy permed hair with fluky splotches of what was sure to be color gone wrong. The walls were decorated like they had let my dead grandmother loose in the room and given her the go on putting up whatever she wanted. Excessive floral prints, random brass ornaments, small, glass baubles galore.

After managing to write my first name on the sheet, I panicked. I couldn’t let these people cut my hair. They had scary teased hair with ’80s bangs and brass on the wall. So I picked Allie up, and I made a run for the door.

“Where are we going,” Allie asked, likely confused by my erratic behavior.

I considered telling her the truth, like I usually do. But “we’re leaving because those ladies with the scissors had scary hair and bad decorations” didn’t exactly sound right.

“I forgot something in the car,” I finally told her, still running, of course.

“What did you forget?”


“No, you didn’t. It’s on your shoulder.”

“SHIT! It is!”

“You aren’t supposed to say shit. That’s a bad word,” she said, scolding me per usual.

“We just have to go, okay?”


We got in the car, and upon pulling out of the parking lot, I was sure that I had never been more embarrassed. Because while I teach my daughter on an almost daily basis that she shouldn’t make appearance-based judgments, I had just done the very same.

The more I thought about it, the more my face burned with shame.

For a few moments, I even considered turning back around and forcing myself to let them cut my hair in order to prove to myself that I was not that shallow. Shallow enough to flee a place based on hair and decor. Punishing myself with what I still thought would be a bad haircut for what I had just done in front of my daughter, whether she was aware of it or not, seemed nearly logical. If I couldn’t apply the lectures I gave her when she doesn’t want to talk to kids with runny noses, how could I expect her to do the same?

More than just not following my own set of rules, I considered subjecting myself to whatever blotched up haircut I would get just for putting so much stock into my hair in the first place. After all, it was just hair: keratinized protein shooting through from the dermis through the epidermis. Just hair.

After thinking about it for a while, I even began to understand how one might pull a Britney Spears and just completely shave their head. Most days, that doesn’t sound like a bad idea. Most of us thought she was crazy, but maybe we’re crazy. Being bald doesn’t sound like too bad of an idea.

As I said, in the end, I didn’t force myself to get the bad haircut. Because as much as I would like to think that I am above making the sort of judgment I had made, as much as I would also like to think that I am above caring what my hair looks, when push comes to shove, I’m not.

I’m still embarrassed by the whole situation more than I am of the fact that my daughter’s favorite song is TI’s “Whatever You Like.” At the end of the day, as much as I had to admit it, I’m not letting someone with bad hair cut my hair. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone.

What would you have done in this situation? Walked out? Stayed to endure the scissors?