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Dear Abby 11/16

Client learns new hairstyle is easier to get than new stylist

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Posted: November 14, 2007 3:00 p.m.
Updated: December 11, 2007 7:16 a.m.
    DEAR ABBY: I was going to a hair salon about five times a year to have my hair cut and styled. A few months back, the owner, who had always cut my hair, went out on maternity leave, so another stylist cut my hair. I mentioned to her that, as I have gotten older, my hair has thinned, that I hated how it looked and didn't know how to cut it anymore. She gave me a beautiful cut.
    When the owner returned, I asked her to follow the cut, but she didn't do it exactly, and refused to ask the woman who had done it how it was done.
    When it was time for my next haircut, I called and asked the stylist to cut my hair again, but she hesitated. Her reply was, "If my son isn't sick." Abby, the appointment I was scheduling was two weeks away. I "got the message," and I am now patronizing another salon.
    I thought beauty salons were a business and not just about "I saw you first!" Is there some unwritten rule in the beauty business that whoever cuts your hair when you first got there is your stylist forever? I'm unhappy now, and they lost a customer. Who wins? — CUT SHORT IN VIRGINIA
    DEAR CUT SHORT: This wasn't a matter of "I saw you first." You were the salon owner's steady customer. If you wanted to change stylists, you should have had the courage to tell the salon owner that you wanted to make a change and not put the other hairstylist on the spot.
    Yes, hairstyling is a business, but stylists often forge personal relationships with long-standing clients. Out of respect for the owner's feelings, you should have made your wishes known directly so there could be no misunderstanding.

    DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have a 5-year-old and a 9-month-old — both boys. They are incredibly sweet, well-behaved, beautiful children. My problem is how people relate to the boys.
    People often go out of their way to tell us how cute our baby is, and go on to say, "He looks like the Gerber baby." I appreciate their compliments, but they often ignore our 5-year-old. He is also a darling child, but because he's so well-behaved, too often people don't give him a second glance.
    When we're at home I make sure to give him plenty of compliments about a variety of things, including his behavior, his eating habits and helpfulness. I don't want his feelings hurt when people go overboard with the baby.
    Is there anything I can say when this happens to help him feel important and noticed as well? Is there something I should say to the adults involved so they are more aware of my older son's feelings? — PROUD MOMMY OF TWO
    DEAR PROUD MOMMY: The adults you described are thoughtless and insensitive, and trying to educate them in front of your 5-year-old won't work. The next time it happens, put your arm around your older boy and say, "This is his big brother, 'Bobby.' We're so proud of Bobby because not only is he a good boy, he's also smart and sweet and helpful with his little brother." In other words, bring Bobby out of the shadows and into the spotlight, too. It does work.
    P.S. What's going on with your "Gerber baby" is the reason actors don't like working with small children and puppies. They're scene-stealers.
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