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My Hairdresser, My Self: A Love Story

I can hear him before I see him. I hear the front door close, keys are set down on the counter...
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I can hear him before I see him. I hear the front door close, keys are set down on the kitchen counter and I hear, "Lizy. Hello, baby. I am here." Before you get excited, I have to warn you: this is not a passionate, romantic story. My hairdresser and friend, Moishe, has arrived and is downstairs looking for me. As I hear my name being called, I pull the duvet cover higher and tighter over my head.

After the birth of my first son my mom urged me to get a haircut, manicure, go for a walk; anything to get me over the baby blues. I am 100% sure she was responsible for summoning Moishe to make me "feel and look better."

Just then I glance up and see Moishe standing in the doorway. He is dressed in what I jokingly call his uniform: faded Diesel jeans, a black button down shirt with his cool glasses resting on his nose. His hair is always a different style, cut or color -- he is always right on trend.

Moishe urges me to get out of bed and to stand up so he can see my "beautiful hair". I laugh at him. Like any great hairdresser, he is always full of compliments. As I stand there, he moves his hands through my hair and quickly declares in his thick Israeli accent, "My princess, it's time for cut and highlight. I meet you downstairs." I shuffle to the bathroom, try to wake up, brush my teeth and walk downstairs. We both know the drill: He cuts and styles, while we talk, complain, joke and listen to each other's problems. Like a good (yet trashy) novel, we pick up right where we left off. We are blunt and honest, as we ask for details and give our opinion.

Moishe has come to my rescue on various occasions. We first met in 2005. I lived in Fort Lauderdale with my now husband, Jason. While Jason spent most his days and nights studying law, I spent the hours after work walking, browsing and yes, even buying some things at the Aventura Mall. I came across a nice-looking salon, and on a whim, decided to walk in. I have always been rather laid-back (or lazy) when it comes to my hair. I have very thin, very straight short blonde hair. I do not have the patience to schedule and sit through appointments and blow dries. (Truth be told, Moishe and I have an ongoing fight. I hate having my hair blow-dried. It looks puffy and old fashioned. Moishe totally disagrees, and insists that a blow dry is part of the treatment). Serendipitously, I was placed in Moishe's chair, and just like that, we became fast friends. I was lonely, and loved the idea that I had found such a nice guy to style my short hair. It helped that the salon was located in my favorite mall.

Moishe jokes that I am one of the absolute "worst-behaved clients." I give him little notice, I'm impatient and I am always running late. I frequently rush Moishe through my appointment and almost always try to convince him to not blowdry my hair. I fuss over the products he wants to use and the amount he wants to cut. But at the end of the day, we have each won and lost battles. No matter what, every six weeks or so, I return to the sanctuary that is Moishe's chair.

Seven years after that first impulsive appointment I can honestly say that while I might not care so much about the particular cut or style, I do care about Moishe. So we will continue to follow each other around the state, even out of state, if necessary (he met me in Philadelphia to do my hair for my brother's wedding). Moishe has seen me through my engagement and wedding, family members' weddings, three pregnancies and two moves. While so much has changed in the past seven years, I have not changed who does my hair. My commitment to one particular hairdresser is not uncommon, as a matter of fact, I'd argue that I'm rather low maintenance (in the hair department). I only see Moishe once every six weeks. But after thinking about this, and talking to some girlfriends, I was not so surprised that many of us have been with our hairdresser for countless years and through many different salons, styles and phases. We care about them, and they about us. We count on them to make us look good. Just as important, we count on them to listen to our problems and keep our secrets. A good friend of mine joked that she goes to her hairdresser instead of going to therapy. "It's a better deal. I get the therapy and I look good when I leave." Another friend remarked that when she had moved away to college the most difficult breakup was the one with her hair dresser.

We grow close to the cast of characters in our lives: the hairdressers, manicurists, aestheticians, personal trainers and tailors. They remain constants and they are committed to us. I always tell Moishe that whether I'm sexy and stylish, or unfashionable and unkept, I can just blame him for the way I look. Despite my best efforts, Moishe grabs the blow dryer and starts to style my hair. I speak loudly, so that he can hear me over the blowdryer. " Not too poofy, please." He nods and just keeps on doing what he's doing.

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