I sat in that chair and flipped him off repeatedly underneath the huge black cape I wore to keep the itchy snips off my skin and clothes. It was my fault anyway. I’d called at the last minute for cut and color only to find out that my girl was gone. The 4th one to leave the place in less than a year. I’ve managed enough businesses to know that the problem wasn’t likely to be found in the employees.
And so I sat in his chair. Dick. The salon owner himself, pinch hitting at the last moment, his brand of gossip and good times pouring over me. I felt filthy. “And you know,” his voice dropped conspiratorially, “she didn’t bother to tell me she was pregnant when I hired her.” My mirrored eyes shot open and I considered letting him in on current legal ramifications for biz owners who do not hire or who limit the employment of women just because they are expecting. I kept it to myself, though. Poor bastard was burning his bridges just fine without me. “I’m not saying that I necessarily wouldn’t have hired her, but…,” he stopped, comb in hand, and found the right words written on the ceiling. “I probably would have come to a different arrangement. Fewer hours. Something like that. I really didn’t get my money’s worth with her.” Misunderstanding my expression, he added, “You know she wasn’t even married!”
My little cutie pie stylist had been with her soccer playing boyfriend since they both began high school. And they were good together. So when they accidentally got pregnant back in January, they decided they would just roll with it. They were thrilled, actually. She was only 19, and having finished up at the Aveda Institute a short while before, she was firmly ensconced in her chosen profession. Besides, her mom had her when she was the same age. Also, she told me, all of her friends already had babies. That last blew my mind, but, you know, different strokes, and etc. She felt like it really was practically past time to get this show on the road. She was sooo happy and it’s easy to be happy for someone who’s happy, you know?
And if she became a little spacey as the trimesters passed, I didn’t hassle her. Being a mom is tough work during every part of the job, in my opinion. So, big smiles, big tips, and lots of compliments. My hair looked progressively dowdier as every month went by, but what the hell. It wasn’t the first time I’d become loyal to someone who was better at being a human being than they were at doing their job. No big deal. I liked the way my priorities were set, even if my hair looked like ass.
So, when he'd finished, after drowning me in the sludge of his opinions on children, sex, his own youth, people in the community that he didn’t like, employees who’d left that he didn’t like, as well as his thoughts on the physical abuse that he felt his spoiled niece should definitely undergo, I found myself disgusted.
I looked damned good. And, of course, I'm going back.