It was my birthday a few weeks ago. I generally don’t like to make big plans for my birthday, not because I dread getting older, but because once I start planning anything, I start having expectations. And I know all too well what happens if those expectations aren’t met. Tears. Lots of them. I prefer to go to bed after a day of not celebrating my birthday, content with the knowledge that I may have gained a year in my age but I have also gained in my awesome. This isn’t an over inflated ego talking. It’s science. Take a look at this graph chart taken from Google images. You can see precisely how my awesome increases after each birthday.
Even though I don’t like to make birthday plans, I’m not going to say no if my friends want to celebrate or do something special for me. My friend J.J. called me with the news that we’d both be getting our hair colored and styled into a “red-carpet up-do” courtesy of a L’Oreal celebrity hair stylist. Apparently, the L’Oreal salon hosts hair workshops once a month featuring a celebrity hair stylist and people come from far away to learn their secrets. “Models” are used for these workshops and in exchange for modeling, L’Oreal does their hair for free. If getting a free hair makeover wasn’t enough (and for me it definitely is), they provide breakfast AND lunch. Oh, and what’s this? A goodie bag of hair products? Can I say happy birthday to me or what!
The night before, instead of dreaming about birthday cake and presents, I had dreams of hot rollers and frizz free hair. In one dream, the stylist, represented by Ken Paves, highlights my hair while saying things like, “Jessica Simpson’s hair isn’t nearly as soft as yours” and “Why don’t you start your own hair extension line?”
“Maybe one day.” I demur.
In another, strangers stop me on the street to compliment my glamorous hair. “So this is what it’s like to be beautiful,” I whisper, as my new boyfriend, Ryan Gosling, leans in to kiss me.
However, when I woke up that morning it was raining. And it wasn’t just regular rain. It was old-testament-gonna-flood-this-city-till-everybody-dies rain. It didn’t help that the L’Oreal salon is in the West Village, where I’m lost the moment I step out of the subway station. It took asking two strangers, a pair of ruby-red slippers, Gryffindor’s Sword, and a golden ticket to get me heading in the right direction but eventually I made it to the salon just as they were removing the cellophane off the breakfast buffet table.
Bagels, I’m a-gonna eat you.
I was the first model to the salon. I thought the man who greeted me looked familiar but I figured he was just another fah-bu-lous! hair dresser getting ready for another long day at the salon. I didn’t realize it was David Evangelista.
THE David Evangelista.
David Evangelista: A red carpet stylist and friend of celebrities
Not to be confused with the other David Evangelista: Your neighborhood magician and friend of birds
By 9:00, the other stylists participating in the event had arrived. But David Evangelista was the only one who mattered. His words.
I kept looking for the cameras filming David. He was, as the people in the entertainment industry like to say, “on”. He danced around the salon. He bemoaned the horrible weather. He name dropped. He kept half yelling at me. “Oh, this ONE! She looks scared!”
Turns out, there were no cameras around. This is just how he is at 9:00 in the morning.
My friend J.J. was swept away by David’s celebrity stories. “What’s Rosie O’Donnell like?” asked J.J. after David made a casual reference to the time he was on her show.
“She’s great when she takes her meds.” he said in a sort of world-weary, seen-it-all tone. I thought that was a pretty honest answer.
Soon it was time to go in front of the people who paid a lot of money to learn how to style hair. David decided that J.J. would get a 60’s beehive, a la Mad Men, and I would get highlights and waves like Rita Hayworth.
Let’s start with my before picture, taken right after I came in from the rain.
After my hair went through the highlighting process, David went to work. He started by placing my hair in rollers.
And then he– well that was pretty much it. He did take my hair out of the rollers and sweep it to the side, though.
J.J.’s look, however, required a lot more hairspray.
After lunch, the students had to practice recreating these looks on bodiless mannequin heads. The live models were dismissed.
I couldn’t wait to show the world my new look. My hair looked fantastic. It had a weightlessness to it. It bounced. It no longer looked as though I wrestle rabid raccoons for a living. I’m a somebody! I’m going places! I’m–
Missing my umbrella.
“A couple of students left early, they had flight to catch. One of them probably took it.” said the receptionist.
“But it’s still raining!” This was a terrible turn of events. I couldn’t ruin David’s work! Not when I’m so close to having it all!*
The receptionist handed me a shower cap to protect my hair.
“Thanks.” I meant it. This woman saved my hair and my birthday. Of course, I didn’t realize that David’s work would not hold in the shower cap as I headed home, losing myself twice in the W. Village, but I’d find that out later. It’s okay. I have a second chance at hair bliss as L’Oreal contacted me and asked if I wanted to get a free haircut on Monday. Uh, you better believe I do! I can’t wait. I hope David’s there and he remembers me.
PART TWO COMING SOON…..
*I don’t even know what “having it all” means but I pretend like I do, just like I do with a lot of other sayings like You complete me and Love means never having to say you’re sorry and Superman that ho.