I’ll never forget the first time I got a speeding ticket. Not the first time I was pulled over – just the first time I couldn’t talk my way out of it. I was going 83 in a 65 and it cost me $385 and 4 hours in town court to get it reduced to a non-moving violation. I haven’t gotten a speeding ticket since (or been pulled over, for that matter).
There are plenty of other times in my life that I can refer back to with an exact dollar amount tied to the lesson that I learned. Like a $14 bag of cherries I bought at Wegman’s when I thought $6.99 was per bag and not per pound. I picked the biggest bag – because, duh – and snacked on them while I finished shopping, spitting the pits back into the bag as I went along. I never made that mistake again. (The price part – not the pit-spitting part. I still do that.) Or the time I actually trusted someone on Craigslist selling two floor seats to Taylor Swift for $150 each because he wanted to spend his first Father’s Day home with his new son and sick wife. My gut told me they were fake the second we turned the corner. My gut was right.
This past weekend, I learned another valuable lesson: I don’t do updos.
Although my mom has been a hairdresser since before I was born, my experience with having my hair done for formal events is limited. When I was younger, I used to revel in showing up at Christmas and spring concerts in an overly extravagant hairstyle. I fondly look back on the times when my 4-foot, 40lb frame stood out among my classmates as a halo of butterfly clips glistened in the stage lights. But as soon as I entered 7th grade and was introduced to my first Conair hair straightener, it was bye-bye updos and hello basic betch.
In fact, the last time I had my hair done was in 2011 when I modeled in a hair show and wore a 3lb lantern on my head. Please enjoy this photo evidence – proof that I’m not exaggerating.
My go-to wedding hair style is very simple, romantic curls. I might even pull it back to one side if I’m feelin’ crazy. This past weekend, I went to a ‘festive’ wedding on a farm in Boone, NC. I knew I wanted to do something fun and different with my hair to go with the rustic-chic theme and my cute floral dress. I got a little tipsy off champagne at the rehearsal dinner the night before – as one does – and agreed to joining some of the ladies the next day at the hair salon for updos. I figured it would cost around $40-$50 (we were in Boone, NC after all). I could just get something simple like a pretty braid, right? Spoiler alert: I was wrong.
At 10:30 a.m. I sat down in a sweet southern stylist’s chair, and she asked me what I wanted.
“Maybe like a loose braid … some loose pieces around my face … nothing tight … don’t let my ears stick out; I’m self conscious about them. Keep it flowy and simple.”
Forty minutes later and this is what she spun me around to see:
*My first thoughts: OK …. so … the braid is cool. I’m not wearing any makeup, so maybe it’ll look better with makeup on. I’m feeling a little bald on the left side. Is that a bobby pin sticking out? Not sure about this bang situation. I feel a little like I’m going to prom. Did I not use the word simple???*
“Oh wow … it’s so … coool!” I said, in my best attempt at genuine excitement.
I snapped a few pics of the back and sent them off to my sisters, my mom and my boyfriend.
While I waited for their responses, I stood at the front desk.
“OK, Olivia … yours comes to …. $70.”
OH. OK. So much for $50. I added a $15 tip, smiled, took a lollipop, and scurried to the back room near the snacks where I had a quiet meltdown about how quickly and unexpectedly I spent $85. The worst part was that I already knew I would take this entire thing out before the wedding later, anyway.
Sure enough, I got caught standing in front of the bathroom mirror around 2 p.m., three-quarters of the way through un-bobby pinning myself in an anxious fury. When I finally undid the braid, I shook my hair out and breathed a sigh of relief. Ah, there we go.
I made 5 more bitter comments about flushing $85 down the drain before I finally decided to suck it up and accept responsibility for not speaking up to the stylist when I had the chance. I learned a few valuable lessons that day:
- Don’t feel like you can’t speak up and be honest about your feelings – in any situation.
- You can, in fact, fit 56 blonde bobby pins in your hair at one time.
- Always ask how much something is going to cost before you commit to paying for it.
- Never assume someone knows what you want – be specific!
I brushed out my hair, gave it a quick and light curl with my curling wand, twisted the front on both sides, affixed some bobby pins in the back, and less than 10 minutes later – voila! Exactly what I wanted all along – a simple, easy hairstyle that fit my look, and most of all, fit me.