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Sunday, June 25, 2006

My Long-Distance Relationship

We met during welcome week of college so that makes it almost 11 years, even longer than I've known Ryan. Through the years, I've only cheated on V. three times. Once with a French guy in St. Tropez, once with some anonymous person at the mall, and once with my friend's sister. In those instances I was desparate, V. was in London and it had just been too long since I'd seen her and her magic hands. The morning of my wedding, when I needed her services, I couldn't imagine using anyone else.

V. is Vickie Lavanty, my hairdresser. She is truly a hair artist. Please, if you know my hair and don't think it's that great, don't judge *her* work by *my* laziness to maintain it. I would rather have bad looking hair which is unattractive from neglect because it has been 6 months since I saw Vickie than to have bad looking hair because it was cheaply cut by some newbie at Supercuts. (And BTW you may be able to get a decent cut at Supercuts but it's very hit or miss.) She is worth any amount of money because she truly has a gift for perfect, precision cuts that flatter face shapes.

I first met her when my roomates and I decided we wanted drastic changes, freshman year of college. Linda, Janet and I saw an ad and a coupon in one of the UCSD publications and we took a bus to downtown La Jolla. She cut 8 inches off of my hair to an above-the chin pageboy, while 2 of her associates chopped even more off of Linda's hair and gave Janet some hip purple highlights. She charged what we thought of at the time was a ton of money for the cuts, but luckily this was offset somewhat by the coupons.

Somehow after that I found out about her academy and her need for hair models, who got free cuts in exchange for sitting there for 2 hours while students painstakingly practiced. This is not as risky as it sounds because you can think of them like beauty grad students. They were already licensed and knew how to cut hair but were learning her precise method. Having sat through so many of these classes, I can tell you a little bit about what she does. She has them look at the shape of the occipital bone, the symmetry of the person's face, and any natural parts or cowlicks. Then they use "overdirection" and "underdirection" and hold the hair out from the head at certain precise angles while cutting, so that it falls a certain way and flips in or out. Even for those very shaggy cuts that seem to be imprecise, they first do a very precision bob and then shorten or "take some weight off" pieces on top. Once she had someone redo my entire cut 1/8 of an inch shorter because they were holding the scissors at the wrong angle.

Another time in college, my favorite cut, I was a model for her in a runway show at a fashion/beauty convention. For that, I had a rounded bob with long layers and three kinds of highlights/lowlights with copper and gold tones. Very glamourous, back then I could fit in size 8/10 clothes. (Funny, we never appreciate our looks at the time. I never though, wow, I am looking so fit! Never thinking I'd go up sizes in the future or that eventually the pix in the photo album from that time would look okay to me in comparison to now!)

Whenever I tell people about being a hair model, they usually react with horror thinking of some wild experimental haircut they'd likely end up with. But actually IMHO, it's the best time to get any kind of drastic change because with that much attention paid to you, your face shape, etc. they will not screw it up. They are being watched carefully by instructors who will rush over if they sense anything amiss. (Oh, and sometimes the instructor cuts it as an example for the whole class.) Since then, I have gone to Luis Licari in Beverly Hills to be a model for highlights. Licari salon is famous for their blondes. I cannot afford to regularly go there and spend several hundred dollars every few months to maintain a platinum look. Instead I can get blonder whenever I feel like my hair is getting too dull& dark by paying $35 and going to Licari model night so they can make it look like I spent a week at the beach.

I haven't done highlights in about 2 years because of the pregnancies and I'm kind of enjoying the darker hair. Ryan says he likes it lighter because "I married a blonde". What he doesn't realize is that before my wedding I went to Licari and actually got LOWlights where they highlight parts of your hair *darker*! So he married a brunette! Well, darker blonde anyway.

Back to Vickie and my hair history though. Until I was in 4th grade, i had long(ish) blonde hair that got very light from summers in the pool. Then in 5th grade, I got a perm and a layered haircut all at once, and they chopped away all of the blonde parts. I didn't feel like me. It looked horrible, and I went home and cried. After that, haircuts were never relaxing, they were always long drawn-out tense experiences where I wondered if I would emerge looking worse. This was true even later when I knew the hairdresser (my best friend's aunt) and trusted her. It always took me a day of buyer's remorse before I could like the cut. When we moved to San Diego and I didn't know anyone or where to go, I picked a Fantastic Sam's because it had a convenient location. I got a horrible bob that was about 2 inches longer on one side than the other. :(

Anyway, later when I met and began to trust Vickie, I put myself completely in her hands and told her she could do whatever she wanted. And I have never not liked a haircut. In about 2000 or 2001 I decided I was sick of long hair and wanted very short, inspired by Camille in "Milou en mai". She was the only one I would trust for something that drastic, and she didn't do it exactly as pictured, she altered it to be more flattering to my face and showed me several other ways of styling it. She did my hair for my wedding. I hope she does Lauren's first haircut. I used to ask her for recommendations of students who'd been through her courses and worked in LA, but she never followed through on actually giving me their contact info and I stopped asking. Now I just go see her whenever I can when I'm in San Diego. We've got a long distance relationship, but it works for me!

1 comment:

jenna! said...

Ok, if you can still get into Licari student sessions, let me know. Last time I called the waiting list was so long they wouldn't even take my name.