Forty-Three miles. That’s the distance I drive, each way, to get my hair cut and styled. Undoubtedly, an hour’s drive for a monthly hair appointment is extreme; however, I have the BEST hairstylist, and his name is Christopher.
We’ve all heard a friend, co-worker, or relative utter the words “I have The Best Hairstylist” multiple times throughout our lives. And that may be true, but how many of them will drive an hour, each way, monthly, for a hair appointment? I’ll admit, there are days when the drive takes me more than an hour, each way. But having found the best, I am unwilling to look for a closer salon.
Before finding Christopher, the only salon I had ever known was in our kitchen. You see, my dad was a barber, and he was the only “stylist” my family had ever known. There were no mirrors, blow dryers, product, or even a barber chair. There was only a black case and an old metal folding chair strategically placed in the center of our small kitchen. Inside that case were scissors, razors, combs, a cape, and other necessary barber supplies.
Growing up, my sisters and I had hair down to the middle of our backs. Getting a trim or a haircut meant that we had to stand. Standing still wasn’t always easy for me because I tended to sway back and forth. So, facing the dining room, I would lean against the cooktop, steadying myself, while enjoying conversation and laughter with everyone who sat patiently waiting their turn.
Once the trim was complete, I would get to sit on the old folding chair for the rest of my haircut. One day, I convinced my dad to shorten the length, add some feathering on the sides and cut my bangs a little shorter, with a slight crop on the top. Surprisingly, he agreed.
I was 19 when my dad unexpectedly passed away, and suddenly I found myself without a hairstylist. Several years later, I was anxious to cut the length shorter, but first, I had to find a hairstylist, I couldn’t just go to anyone. Luckily, my sister, who followed in my dad’s footsteps, became a licensed cosmetologist. Thankfully, she was able to give me a shoulder-length bob, which I loved! And boy did my head feel lighter. About six months later, I wanted a short, stylish haircut, but my sister was not confident cutting short hairstyles or at least the style I wanted. That’s when my mom told me of a salon in Brea, called Christopher’s, that she had been to years prior.
On a mission to find the phone number, I dialed 411, also known as, directory assistance. Immediately, the operator transferred me to the salon. After making an appointment to see Christopher, the owner, specializing in short hairstyles, I confirmed that the salon was in Brea. To my surprise, the woman on the other end said, “Oh, no, we are in Pasadena. Our salon is called Christopher Carole Designers.”
Immediately I thought, “Pasadena is too far to drive for a haircut.” However, I had never been to Pasadena, so I decided to keep the appointment, meet Christopher, and see the city that hosts the Rose Parade. Time would tell if this trip was meant to be, or if it was a mistake to drive so far for a haircut.
Arriving in Pasadena, I immediately fell in love with the charming town, but, boy, was I nervous. After all, the only people who ever cut my hair were my dad and my sister. The moment I walked into the salon, I was welcomed warmly by Carole, Christopher’s wife. But when I met Christopher, sat in his chair, and started talking with him, the nervousness disappeared. It was at that moment that I knew that I had made the right decision.
Through the years, he has moved locations and has settled a few miles closer in Sierra Madre. I am not going to lie, it is still a drive, and on good days, with traffic in my favor, I can get to his salon within an hour. Other times the journey takes a little longer due to varying factors such as time and day of the week, and, of course, any accidents.
It’s been 24 years, and I still make the monthly drive to get my hair cut and styled by Christopher, whom I adore and trust. Each visit is more than a haircut; it’s a chance to catch up with my friend, who I consider to be part of my family. Not only does he know what to do with my hair, but he is smart, caring, makes me laugh, lifts my mood, and I always leave feeling loved and beautiful! He is The Best and worth driving the distance.
So, when you find someone who provides a service that you LOVE and who you know is The Best, don’t be discouraged. Instead, go the distance and make a day of it. you’ll be happy you did.
“Am’s View” now appears monthly.