The above post, by Callum Stephen, an autistic advocate who’s active on Instagram and Twitter, discusses challenges and solutions related to having hair if you’re autistic.
Callum discussed that in details so I won’t be going into my problems related to hair and instead I’ll focus on how I make decisions and on communication with hairdressers.
I experimented with different hair length over the years, once I even had it around 1 inch short (or 1 inch long?) and I actually liked it. Most of the time though I had my hair around shoulder length. Recently that doesn’t seem to work for me though, my hair seems to be giving me more problems than joy. I’m not too sure if something is actually wrong with my hair or possibly due to the lower levels of estrogen at my age my priorities change? I remember that between the age of 13 and 18 I actually loved taking care of my hair. I even used to do my own herbal shampoos from fresh herbs that I collected around the house.
Anyway, I don’t feel like I could do anything like that now so a few months ago I decided I need to cut my hair into bob. And that’s what happened: https://autisticandme.com/2022/03/01/hairstyling-adventures/
Basically the hairdresser manipulated me into keeping it longer, I had the idea that she’s worried I’m going to be unhappy about it and make an argument, but I didn’t know what to say to let her know I know what I was doing, didn’t want to stress her out and finally I just agreed with her suggestion.
Mind you, it wasn’t the first time that happened to me in the UK when I wanted to cut my hair short but it never happened in Poland. In Poland, when I said that I wanted my hair short hairdressers wouldn’t even ask if I’m sure about it, they’d just cut it.
As I was reading Callum’s post today in the morning, where he discussed challenges of having long hair I thought, yes, long hair is a pain! And I’m starting a new job tomorrow so it will be good to deal with it somehow. But I can’t go to get a haircut because I’ve been blocked by how hairdressers communicate. And anyway, it’s Sunday.
One of the advice Callum gives is: Experiment with how you style and maintain your hair. Trial and error may lead to great hacks that completely transform the relationship with your hair.
The next one is: Don’t feel bad if you need to let go of your hair because of challenges you may have with it; remember you are disabled and have additional challenges.
And I thought: yes, I am disabled and have loads of challenges (like blogging for example). I need to cut my hair! But what does the earlier statement mean? Experiment in what way? And anyway, who wants errors in taking care of their hair?
But wait a minute, didn’t I used to say that because my hair is weavy, it still looks ok even if it’s not cut perfectly? So the error will not be a problem if I cut it myself, which I actually did once or twice before. I even have hairdressing scissors.
And that’s what happened! I’m pretty happy with it. I look much more energetic now.
Possibly that’s what I’ll be doing from now on.
Anyway, did you notice how much better Callum’s photos are than mine? He says people are often praising him for his hair styles, but it’s not just that; all his photos look so good like if they were taken from a magazine! I wish mine were like that.
That’s all for now but I still have a story for you that could be partly responsible for my current hairdressing challenges. Basically, when I was in my mid 20s, I found a perfect hairdresser – a young man, probably slightly younger than me, working in a mid range salon in the town near to my village. He must have had some kind of natural talent that you can’t make up for with any amount of training. When he cut my hair it would move smoothly even though I wasn’t really styling it.
When someone else cut it, it could look pretty much the same when I was standing still but if I moved my head, it would separate into strands.
I’d never paid any attention to that before I met him.
I used to come every month from Warsaw where I used to live at the time to get the haircut by him. I mean I still wanted to see my mum but I wouldn’t be coming that often, especially in winter, if it wasn’t for the haircut.
One day I went there and was told that he doesn’t work there any more. And after that nothing was ever the same again. I tried some quality salons when I moved to the UK and never got the same results. I become obsessed with the fact that my hair separates into strands when I move my head and that made it even more difficult for me to take care of it. It just all felt wrong!
I hope the guy got the opportunity he deserved. Maybe he’s cutting celebrities hair now? Unfortunately I never knew his surname so I cannot check but I think his first name was Damian.
John pointed out that there could be many reasons why he didn’t work there no more and I realise that. But I do hope it’s this one rather than he had an accident or possibly was accused of a murder that he didn’t commit and is in prison!
You see, I do cheer for people that I believe deserve better. But I cheer for them quietly and almost never share with them that I admire them.
He was also very quiet so I never told him that I come from Warsaw because of him. It was a mid range salon and he charged mid range price that was still cheaper than mid range haircut price in Warsaw and it did seem to me that if I mention that it would sound like if I was taking an advantage of him. Or even possibly like if I was implying that he’s a looser for not looking for a better opportunity.
Also there were two other hairdressers there so what would happen if they overheard and gave him hard time? But if he was busy with another client when I came in and the other staff was free, I’d always wait for him. But still I’m not sure if he realised how much I appreciated his work. (We don’t tip hairdressers in Poland, so I couldn’t use that either to hint him).
And that’s it – I said I’ll leave this story for another post but here you are. I really hope he has a great career now. Maybe one day he’ll find me through my blog and I’ll get a chance to get a perfect haircut again! And I hope I’ll be able to afford it. I doubt he charges mid range prices now.