I love my hair salon here in Napa. My stylist is named Christy, and she is the owner. She's also a little fun-nutty.
Not surprisingly, we get along famously.
Christy recently had to renovate her salon to make it smaller because of something having to do with her lease and the economy and some other fuzzy details having to do with the business next door. Which is a bar. The result is that the salon's bathroom is now shared with the business next door. Which is a bar.
Of course, this wouldn't matter to most of her clientele, because most of her clientele doesn't traipse through the salon during prime bar hours. But I always have to go to the salon late, after Ish gets home and can take over Eve-watching duties.
I think you know where this is going.
I didn't know that the salon shared the bathroom. So when I needed to use the facilities while my head was sprouting aluminum foil, I thought nothing of it.
Imagine my surprise as I opened the door and saw NOT a small, pleasant, single-stall bathroom (as it had been), but a large, double-stalled bathroom with a second exit door. And a man in overalls standing at the sink.
My mind tried to put all this together but failed. Perhaps the highlights had seeped into my brain.
I turned back to Christy, bathroom door in my hand. "Um, why is there a man in your bathroom?"
She explained that the facilities are now shared with the bar's ladies' room, but couldn't explain why a man was in there.
But then as we both watched the man make his way back to the bar, we realized I'd made a Bay Area Rookie Mistake: I'd assumed that the stocky person in overalls with short hair and baseball cap and work boots was a man. Oops.
Well, so then in the 15 seconds it took us to discover and discuss my error and re-open the door, I guess there'd been a run on the bathroom. There was a young woman waiting in line. So I had to stand behind her with my hair all in foils and my salon apron on, looking AWESOME.
Nothing in my entire life had prepared me for how to have a small-talk conversation with a woman in line in the bathroom when she's been drinking and I've been having my hair highlighted. MISS MANNERS IS USELESS.
I thought about saying, "Um, this is a shared bathroom with the salon," but realized that was probably obvious. I didn't want to insult the stranger.
I didn't want to feel completely embarrassed either, but it is REALLY HARD to feel like your most fabulous self when you're not wearing makeup and sporting silver Medusa hair and reeking of chemicals and wearing an apron tent.
Thankfully, the young woman spoke first. A kind, kind gesture on her part.
"What color are you getting?" she asked.
We chatted briefly about my color and she mentioned something about happy hour.
But then we had some other issue arise which is also always awkward in the ladies' room. She's clearly waiting for one of the three stalls to open up, except I can only hear a woman in two of them. I'm pretty sure the other stall is free. But I couldn't check.
You know why?
Because I didn't want to OFFEND Ms. Happy Hour.
If I checked the stall, it would be like admitting to her that I did not trust her judgment. And that's not a very kindly thing to do, even though I really had to pee and she may have been too tipsy to notice OR be offended.
I don't want to hurt imaginary feelings of strangers in the bathroom.
Anyway, two stalls opened up at the same time (by now there was a line behind us) and while I was in there, I casually looked for feet in the stall next to me and lo and behold, there was no one in there.
When I finished, I waited for Happy Hour to leave and then quietly told the women in line that "I think this one might be open."
* * * * * * * * * * *
I went back and finished the highlighting process. At the end, my hair looked fantastic (Christy does a great job), even though I was still in sweats and still without makeup.
So when I had to use the bathroom AGAIN, I was all, FINE! I can handle being with the bar-goers! I have pretty hair! No one cares if I'm not wearing makeup! It balances out! I look just as nice as people who are wearing makeup but haven't had their hair done!
Fueled with good-hair confidence, I practically BURST through the bathroom door, ready to confront a whole pack of Happy Hours.
And then I had to stop short. Again.
This time, the salon-bar bathroom was full of three booze-slinging hoochies. You know who I'm talking about? The model-like girls who liquor companies hire to promote their new drink to slobbery men? The girls were all tall, thin, 20-somethings (possibly 18 or 19) with tons of makeup, tiny bright orange t-shirts and tight short-short shorts, and 4+" heels.
Comparatively, my new hair color -- pretty though it was -- didn't have the impact I'd been going for.