What is your Super Power?

LR_FINAL.JON-DAVID MED Cape

Day 2 of my 50 Days of Women Blog

Everyone has at least one super power. And I believe that wholeheartedly. Even if, on the outsides, we can’t see someone else’s super powers or we cannot see our own. It’s there. One of my super powers is that I can remember every story, personal drama or event that every one of my clients has revealed, divulged or disclosed to me.

Just the other day, I went to the front of the salon to greet my next client. On the schedule the name was Barbara V. I didn’t even have to look at her client history. I had never done a Barbara V.’s hair before. This was obviously a new client referred.

There happened to be only one woman at the front of the salon and her back was to me but I immediately felt a familiarity. I knew this woman call Barbara V. Just as I was about to say her name, she turned around.

“Oh-my-God!” I screamed. “Barbara, how are you?!”

I was shocked and elated to see the face of one of my clients from California. Barbara hadn’t changed at all (except for her last name) and it had been 20 years since I had seen her.

We hugged and got down to doing her hair which seemed to me to be only the secondary purpose for our re-meeting again. During her appointment we caught up at which time it was her turn to be shocked.

While slithering my scissors through her long blonde hair I glided down memory lane, “Do you remember that crazy wedding you went to?”

Barbara was pretty sure she knew which wedding I began talking about. It was the one where one of her college gal-pals, more of an acquaintance, made a visit to her home in Long Beach, California. This gal-pal was originally on her water polo team and the two ladies hardly kept in touch except for this visit which was under the guise of seeing Barbara’s first born child (now a hairdresser). Barbara’s husband happened to be home during this visit when the gal-pall asked Barbara if she would be a bridesmaid in her upcoming wedding. Barbara’s husband (she’s now divorced from that one) was the one who chimed in and said, “We’re not doing anything that day;” Barbara was then officially in the wedding.

Unbeknownst to Barbara and by coincidence, I was the gal-pal mother’s hairdresser and I had recently started doing the gal-pal’s hair too. The mother was a well-to-do, prim-and-proper, show-off-my-status kind-of-woman. The uppity mother (great tipper!) began bringing her daughter into the salon so I could make her a show-offable beauty before the wedding. But the joke was the mother because gal-pal had been confiding in me how her mom was all but forcing her into a big wedding so daughter-dearest had decided to: “F-it. If my mom wants a lavish wedding, I’ll make her spend her money on a lavish wedding no one will ever forget.”

BTW: This wedding was held in the mid-1980s and we were in Southern California. So it didn’t seem too outrageous to anyone concerned at the time, just expensive.

Gal-pal had decided on a Gone with the Wind themed wedding, complete with bridesmaids wearing hoopskirts, clip on curls and parasols. The gents had to wear crazy vintage tuxes with string bowties and side burns. There were horses involves, and maybe carriages, certainly lots of ivy stapled to gazebos. Oh, did I tell you that gal-pal and her finance were both engineer nerds and he was Japanese? She had never walked on heels, let alone wore a bustier. Yeah, right? Oh, it gets better. Gal-pal decides to hold the wedding in Palos Verdes Estates which is a massive hill with winding roads which means taking pictures, getting married in a church and then having an outdoor reception is a logistic nightmare. And the food she was serving was ribs. Messy ribs! ‘Good thing I didn’t have to do the hair for this hot summer wedding because of the clip on curls, but I could not wait to hear about that wedding after Barbara attended.

“How did you remember all that?” Barbara asked me. I had also recalled and extolled my memories of her own wedding which I had done her hair for. I even remembered when her kids were born.

“It’s my super power,” I stated matter-of-factly.

After her hair was done and we caught up to the year 2014: She’s married to a great guy, her kids are grown, she now lives an hour out of Chicago, and her daughter couldn’t do her hair that month so she looked me up… Then we said our goodbyes until the next time we’d see each other.

capeI didn’t tell Barbara about my other super-power, the one that may not be as useful as my gossip and story memory. This super power allows me to see the super powers in other people and that day I got to see how Barbara’s again. She always had the super power of patience and kindness. Of course I’d remember her and everything about her, even I hadn’t seen her in 50 years. She’s the kind of person who would clip on synthetic blonde curls and dress up in a too-hot and uncomfortable Bo Peep costume to stand up for an acquaintance at her wedding. She’s the kind of woman who stuck it out with a marriage that may not have been good for her but she stayed until her kids were grown. Barbara even kept the memories of me in her heart and she still had the logo-T’s I used to sell at the salon I had owned. Lord!, she must have also put up with me in the 80s during my diva-hairdresser phase. That makes her a saint, not a super hero.

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50 Days of Women Day 1

Mafia Hairdresser Explains Women

This is the start of my new series about women. I’ve been wanting to write about my women friends, my clients and my female family members for a while. (Watch out, sister in-law!) You see, I last left you off with my 50 Days of 50 series, I wrote 50 blogs in 50 days leading up to my 50th birthday. But, as real life and reality blogging go, my mother became ill during this time and what was supposed to be a light funny look at ageing turned into a bitch-slap on my ranting face and tribute not-quite-finished. That was quite a while ago and I have turned the blog into an eBook titled, 50 Days Turning 50, and you may download the PDF version free if you like. It’s my gift to anyone who is reading this. The reason I bring up 50 Days of 50 is because, as I was writing it, I kept writing about my mom and the other women in my life and I thought, “I should write a 50 Days of Women series. Come on…, who could write more “dishilly” and lovingly about women than a hairdresser who has made a career and gladly lived a lifetime listening to them?

Other than blogging for TheLocalTourist.com, SassyMomsInTheCity.com, JudyTheShow.com, SalonSpaChat.com and MafiaHairdresser.com, I’ve been neglecting my creative writing by not blogging here at WordPress. The emotional toll of the 50 Days blog was immense so I shied away from creative writing for a while. You see, my mom passed away around my 50th but I kept writing and blogging on through that experience. I never published my mom’s story, here at WordPress, nor did I let the public know what really happened at the end of those 50 days. It took me over a year to even add those journals into the eBook version. But I’m free of that at last and now I want to get back to some fun.

Fun for Women2

Women are fascinating creatures and I don’t care how much gay men think that they have so much in common with them, they are not like us (men) at all. So, next week I’m going to dive in without abandon and I shall be the bearer of good spews about the “opposite sex.” I will be kind and I will be as factual as I know how to be which means that I can be almost as bitchy as a woman and I don’t mind telling a few fibs to make a point; like all ladies do.

I will choose my subjects at random. I may use real names. Every woman in my life should be wary of my pen because you are or have been in my life. I am a better man for this or I am completely at my wits end because of our differences, I will either glorify you or take you down for this. I was going to call this series 50 Days of Women… but,…. Yeah, let’s just call it 50 Days of Women: BUT I’M ONLY COMMITTING TO WRITING ONCE A WEEK, BEYOCH!

(Thank you to Janice G. Ross for igniting my writing today. Sometimes all it takes is a nudge on Twitter and you’re inspired to write again.)

too much hair on a white woman4

50 Days Forward by Liz

The Bride – The Wedding Planner – The Burned-out Hairdresser

Best Hairdresser in Chicago

I have a problem. I’m a guy. And, like most men, I don’t always know what I want. Thank God for women; they always ask us that basic question, “What do you want?” If they didn’t, we’d always be breaking hearts, contracts, agreements and every guy would be that guy.

To illustrate our handicap of not always knowing what we want, I give you today’s drama tale. It will seem like a big or small happenstance to some, and tragic or stupid to many. But throughout the whole morning I felt like I was in danger of eternal mortal pain until I asked myself that basic question, “What do I want?”

This morning I got an email from a wedding coordinator who, every year, books me as a hairdresser for a few weddings. She’s one of the best. She screens her clients and matches them with the right service people and it’s easy and usually fun for me. The wedding coordinator and I are also friends.

The email contained a revised contract that I had sent the bride about my pricing and what she could expect from me. I didn’t read the whole returned contract when I opened up the document, all I saw was two lines in red (there may have been more) that the bride had added. One of the sentences stated that if, for any reason, I could not make my commitment to her and her three bridesmaids, then it would be my job to make sure she had an adequate back-up hairdresser. (Like I knew someone as good a me?! NOT.) The second point changed was that she was going to include the “pre-trial-run” of her hair in the pricing package that I was offering. Not an excessive or unreasonable request from a bride, I must admit.

I wish I would have just emailed my friend back that I simply did not accept revisions and that would have been the end of that. But before the emails started going back and forth between me and my friend, the wedding coordinator, I thought about the bride: this is the girl’s first wedding and she’s probably a lawyer. And it was that thought alone that began my stress-out.

I immediately wanted to back out of the wedding. Because of the changes in the simple contract, I felt dis-trusted, and yet the bride was obviously trying to cover herself. And furthermore I immediately judged her for being young and therefore trying to control every part of “her day,” which goes against my airy-fairy way of doing things; I’ve become a guy who goes by his instincts and trusts everyone to do what they’re supposed to do and I believe the universe will take care of the rest.  In my mind, I pictured the bride micro-managing the day of the wedding and watching the clock and telling me how to put every hair on her head as well as her mother’s and her bridesmaids. By neck was in knots just thinking about it.

I had all sorts of scenarios frightening me in my imagination of who this bride was or wasn’t, and I didn’t like any of them.  So I smoked a cigarette. I worked out. I ate a hamburger. And I painted the trim in one of my apartment bathrooms. But my morning dragged-on, dreading negotiating with this bride, or worse, telling the coordinator that I didn’t want to do this wedding. Not only did I agonize over the bride’s feelings, her requests and the impending negotiations I had heartfelt-obligations to the coordinator; I could damage the relationship between me and my wedding coordinator friend (at least the professional one).

And then I asked myself the question: “What is it that I want?” How I learned this secret to inner peace was from my women clients. They are always blustering about how their relationships with men are so hard because men don’t know what they want. Whether it is a love-partner, friend, or business associate, when their men get quiet and pull back, or when the men just up and walk away from situations, get angry all the time, or drink more or just begin to respond inappropriately or differently than they used to, then the man has “an issue.” Not all women have the maturity or the self-assuredness to understand that it’s not about them. But most women know to (sometimes) leave the man to himself for a while, and yet all women know how to cajole, badger, taunt, beg, plead and then ask the question, “What is it that you want?”

When I asked myself the question, at first the answer was not as loud and clear as I would have liked. The voice in my head said, “I simply just don’t want to do this wedding.” I didn’t feel comfortable with this bride whom I had yet not met and the red flags that her changes to my contract signaled scared me. Again, I’m a gut-instinct guy. And that might be a legitimate enough business reason to back out of a job. But thinking about the big picture of the question it became apparent that I also had “an issue.” I began to think that this wasn’t my about weddings or brides or contracts. After beating my head against the wall a couple of more times I realized that I really didn’t want to give up a Saturday and do another wedding for someone I didn’t know. (‘been doing this for over 30 years…) It used to be fun and the money was okay. But I’ve begun to like writing on Saturdays more than weddings.  And if I do hair on the weekends I’d prefer working in the salon on my clients who have become my friends. Hmmm. I don’t like doing weddings anymore!

Not a big epiphany but I didn’t know that I felt way about my work schedule or weddings. I didn’t know what I wanted or I didn’t want… Sound familiar ladies?

Well I emailed my friend and I backed out of that wedding and now I’m retiring from doing any. So, to anyone reading this, “you can’t pay me enough—unless I already know you!” And I don’t feel too bad about cancelling that wedding because the bride has three months to find a hairdresser. By the way she re-worded my contract; I have a feeling that she’s already got a back-up in mind. And, guess what?: she’s a lawyer!

My friend let me off the hook, but not without telling me first that this original email was already 3 weeks old and that was bad of me. Of course I felt bad about that. Three week just shows you how I don’t take care of the business of my business end of things… sometimes. And then again, if I was consciously or unconsciously avoiding that email for three weeks, my wedding coordinator should have known something was up and that I had “an issue.” She should have asked me the question.

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Afternoons of Dark Shadows

Dark Shadows

When I was in Kindergarten into 1st grade, I was allowed to roam the block where I lived after school. Around the same time, each day after school, I would make my way home and then suddenly turn away from the house where I’d lived at teh time and run to the house across the street. Then I’d quickly knock on the door while hoping my mother wasn’t nearby or looking through our front windows where she’d probably spy me looking over my shoulder being suspiciously impatient while waiting for the door I knocked on to receive me.

The neighborhood house that I was regularly visiting was that of an older woman and her name was Ruby Keyes. I don’t remember if she was married, or a widow, but I remember she didn’t have any kids that lived at home and that she had a pool in the back yard of which I was never allowed to swim in. I was so young then, so I cannot recall her exact age. But I definitely remember that she was older than my mother which could have put her anywhere from 30 to 60. Age is relative, you know?

Mrs. Keyes always knew I was coming and she would joyfully open her door for me, promptly after I’d knocked, and then she’d whisk me in for our daily time together in her family room. She had large bay windows with big black-out curtains that she had always drawn closed in preparation for my visits. This was to insure that my mom wouldn’t find out what we were doing.  We weren’t up to anything bad, we were just going to share something that my mother would never approve of.

I suppose she fed me cookies and lemonade. And most kids my age would have visited any “old lady” just for that. But I don’t even remember any of that kind of childish type of reward. And Ruby Keyes was not just some old lady whom I was trying to score candy or cookies from anyway. We were equals, she and I. We shared a passion. Me and Ruby Keyes loved drama and fantasy and horror and storytelling. And every day that I went over to her house, we’d sit in her dimly lit family room and together we’d watch the gothic soap opera, Dark Shadows.

Dark Shadows was filled with tortured characters who kept scary and hideous secrets from each other. The sets were filmed in a black and white noir. And the creepy segue music between scenes alluded to the horrors that were going to befall the hero as he got too close to the mystery in each episode.

The main character, Barnabas Collins, was tall and ominous. And he seemed to be in charge of a large family, and he ruled his mansion by hiding near his secret passages where he’d eavesdrop on his family’s conversations. And yet I also remember that he seemed afraid and vulnerable because he acted like his family and fortune were always at risk by outsiders. Barnabas was a wonderful character. He was also a vampire.

I do not know how or when or how long it took for Mrs. Keyes to know that I was the kind of kid who wasn’t scared of monsters or never had nightmares from scary movies. And did she ever realize that I had a spark in me that would end up loving cinema, theater, TV, and writing? Or did she see that light in me all along so she fanned the flames? She took the risk of pissing off my mother (if she ever found out) by letting me watch Dark Shadows. After all, Dark Shadows was not for children. I didn’t tell either of my parents about my secret afternoons with Mrs. Keyes and so they never found out till later.

Ruby Keyes was one of first women in my life who shared something special with me that changed me. Because of her, I was able to tap into that love of story, a love of character development, acting, and TV and movies at a very early age. And for that, I thank her deeply.

When I was in high school I finally told my mother about Ruby Keyes and our Dark Shadow afternoons. You know what she said? “Oh, that explains everything.”

The Hooker and the Mafia Hairdresser

The Hooker and the Mafia Hairdresser

I was planning on firing one of my favorite clients today. But she has just texted an apology for her latest explosion of emotions, of which I regularly have had to put up with, for many years; and now I don’t know what to do. I’m in a phase of self-growth in my life and I seem to gravitate to more peaceful evened give-and-take relationships. On the other hand, she does pay me…, if not for her hair, then for me to tell her that she’s beautiful–on the inside, even though her bipolar highs and lows seem to be at odds with that truth.

My first inclination that mine and “Tina’s” relationship was not going to materialize without a bit of escalated drama occurred to me when one of the front desk staff came to my hair cutting station, ten years ago.

“There’s a nutty chick on the phone who’s been trying to get an appointment with you,” the young girl said. I cocked my head as if to say, soooo. “She’s been here before, to almost all the other stylists, and none of them ever want to do her hair again.”

I’ve not worked at a lot of salons, but in every one of them, I’m the guy you give the hard-to-handle clients. They call me the Mafia Hairdresser because I’ve been a hairdresser to real mobsters and I don’t mind a little crazy. Not only are people who might seem odd to others intriguing to me, I find that they can be the most fascinating individuals who have chosen or have been “gifted” idiosyncrasy, they inspire me to be different as well.

Much to the chagrin of the front desk staff, and even some of my co-workers, I began to do Tina’s thick, down-to-her-waist, long blonde hair. She’s has come into the salon every three weeks for ten years and I color her mousy brown roots to a soft blonde shade. Aside from attracting men with her 33DD boobs, Tina’s hair has always been a source of pride. She even has other women stopping her on the street to tell her that she has lovely hair. It’s part of her mojo. But Tina literally has a mental break-down every time I trim her ends and she obsesses about the condition of her hair. About every three months she has me add highlights and then has me strip them out on her next appointment and then accuses me changing the way I do her hair; which I have learned never to do unless she has begged me to. While doing her hair I nod and listen to her stories of being victimized by her Botox doctor, her last dentist who drilled too deep, or why she was in the hospital again: a fever, new bigger boobs, an infection as a result of her anus bleaching or her new lips—either set. And try and apply color or cutting the ends of on a moving target… Tina constantly fidgets like a five year old in my styling chair while answering her phone or trying to show me pictures of her latest “boyfriend.”

I’ve done a lot of “professional” girls in my 30 year + career. I’ve always thought that I would write about one of them in my fictional books. But most of them are not so much bigger than life, or exotic, or more bad or good than anyone else. Most of the girls that I’ve come to know and befriend, like Tina, receive big gifts, cars, expensive clothes and shopping sprees,  and they get years’ worth of their mortgages paid for by their “boyfriends.” The boyfriends are different ages but many are married. Some of them are Indian or from a country and family where a “fun girl” with giant tits would not be considered a suitable mate for them. All of the men are rich and enjoy spending time with girls like Tina, however compartmentalized or long or short a period of time that they can steel away from their “real” lives.

Prostitution

      One girl I knew was a dancer at one of Chicago’s strip clubs. Her name was “Laurel” and her apartment was fully paid for and furnished by a head coach of one of our town’s major league baseball teams. I used to go to baseball games where Laurel would get tickets in the wives’ section, behind the net, between home and first base.  It was strange to me at the time, but it was apparent that many of the wives knew who and what she did to get those seats. Now I realize that those particular wives were not worried that such a girl could be kept by their own husbands because those wives were there keeping an eye on their husbands.

Laurel and I parted ways when she began “dating” an A-list player on the same team as the coach. After all, the coach had to go home most nights to his own wife and kids, but she had the time…to secure more gifts. This particular famous player was single and sometimes Laurel would be whisked away with him so he could take her to his original home, a small island country, or a quick San Francisco date. Unfortunately for me, Laurel would cancel her appointments at a minutes’ notice as well and she began to cost me money. So I fired her as a client. The baseball player fell in love with Laurel but his own mother didn’t take a liking to Laurel and hired a U.S. private investigator to protect her son. When the mama of the star major league player found out that Laurel was a “kept woman” of the coach, her son’s relationship with her came to an abrupt end. A fact of note: very few of the exotic dancers in men’s clubs are “professional girls.” I know because the ones who are have told me so.

I’ve met many of Tina’s boyfriends. I’ve even become friends with one of them, a great guy. And please don’t judge him for “cheating” on his wife. If I told you his circumstances of how noble he is to keep his wife in his life, both to support and protect, while not being able to actually receive any love from her, you would like him too. He also adores Tina. He puts up with her bipolar disorder. He takes care of her. But I’ve come to the point where I might not want to anymore. This makes me sad.

If you are reading this, you probably want to know what the tipping point was for me to consider firing Tina. Last week I trimmed her hair. The whole ten minute ordeal made me sweat. My back was tight as my hands clenched around my comb and scissors while Tina screamed that I was pulling too hard and that she could actually feel the nerve endings in her hair die. Then, two days later, I got an emotional and angry text from her. Why had I made her looks so horrible? She asked me if I hated her. Of course I admitted that I may have neglected to taper her hair around the edges and had her come back in. After her hair was fixed, I thought we were finished with that “cycle,” but nooo. In the middle of the night I began getting zany texts and pictures of her before and after hair-disaster. More accusations and nasty names. After one more apology and another offer to fix her hair, I thought it was the end—until she said, “I’m sorry you feel that way.” And I think I was done.

But if there is one thing that I’ve learned from women, it is to be patient. Women like Tina and Laurel have opened up to me and I have learned not to judge and that it must be very complicated to be them, bipolar disorder aside. So I’m going to sit tight on this subject for a few nights. As I’ve stated, I’ve already received a full apology text from Tina. I just don’t know if I need to give any more of my patience to her anymore. It might be time to let another hairdresser receive what I’ve received from her these past ten years.

Twitter For Salons & SpasNew book by Jon-David

The Woman behind the Hairdresser

Best Hairdresser in Long Beach     One of the most influential women in my life has been a former boss of mine, Leslie Diamond. She and her business partner, Sandy, owned Jon Don’s Salon, which was located on a little-known small island in Long Beach California called Naples Island. I was nineteen years old at the time.

I was living in Long Beach with my boyfriend, Chuck (high school sweetheart!), when I had my first two assisting jobs in the hair industry and both of those were in the Valley; an hour’s commute every day back and forth. It was Chuck who advised me to just get a job as a stylist at a locale salon and forget about assisting. He knew me well enough to know that I thought I knew everything I needed to know to start making money as a hairdresser. Assisting was for someone who thought they needed to pay their dues. Arrogant plucky spirited young people, like me, cut in line, and that’s just what I did.

With an impressive resume,” Bernie’s Hollywood Salon,” Assisting at Cassandra 2000, recommendations from my teachers, and lots of “stretched” dates of actual employment, I walked into Jon Don’s Hair Designers. I can’t remember why Leslie and Sandy hired me other than they had a few chairs to fill. I do remember why I wanted to work at Jon Don’s. First of all, the location was so close to home. It was a long walk or a quick bike ride to get there from our apartment. Chuck and I lived at 11 S. Termino, which was right on the pier in Belmont Shores, Long Beach, and Naples Island was an even more prestigious area with lots of rich potential clients living on it. Secondly, it was the name. My full name is Jon-David. [I legally chopped off my given last name, Elshere, so I don’t have one!] And Jon Don’s was sort of like my name so I thought that anyone who called the salon and asked for Jon Don to do their hair would automatically go to me. Now that’s what I call “cutting” in line!

I was a go-getter in the business. I was only just an “adult” and I began representing Jon Don’s at the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce Wednesday breakfasts and began networking every month at the mixers. And yes, I built a clientele very quickly at Jon Don’s. But I was a handful. One of my co-workers, Carla, was constantly rolling her eyes and shaking her head at me. For the first five years of my ten-year association with Jon Don’s, I was a big-headed Divo.

      I refused to just do a hair or bang trim. Every style had to be work of art. I threw tantrums at my clients who wouldn’t let me color their hair the shade that I felt it was ‘dying’ to be. I took long lunches to lay on the beach and I worked late to my own natural clock. I ran around for a time with a Hollywood mob crowd. I wore the most fearless of 80s outfits and hairstyles. And I even quit Jon Don’s for three years to run my own salon before coming back.

      What does this say about Leslie? I’ll tell you. Over those ten years a pretentious hard-working boy became a caring man who came to respect his peers and his clients. When Sandy ended up leaving her partnership at Jon Don’s it was fully up to Leslie to squeeze my big head into a size that would fit through doors. She challenged my childish boorish ways and constantly scolded, screamed, cried, threatened and threw up her arms at me. She relentlessly wrestled with my brashness by sitting me down, many times, to explain to me that the client was a breathing feeling person living under “my art.” She brilliantly tried to keep my mind more full with my desire to be a great stylist rather than let my ego plump anymore than it could by me going after the superficial things in life; like who I was hanging out with, drugs, or what I wore. Leslie passed on to me ancient secret tips of great colorists and hairdressers before us and she paid for me to go to countless academies such as Vidal Sassoon. She tirelessly took the time to teach me about styling hair for weddings and special occasions, which is something very lacking in most of today’s stylists. The intricacies of hair being an art form, and hair cutting was architecture, and color was about light were all insights given to me by this master-stylist, Leslie Diamond. And it was Leslie who slowed me down, sat me down and gave me my first taste of “zen” by introducing me to self-introspection. Ha!: I remember she took me to my first psychic who told me I was going to move away to Chicago!

Leslie opened up her heart and her family to me and Chuck. She shared with me her ups and downs and she cared for me when Chuck and I broke up. We both loved dogs and were constantly bringing in strays to the salon to get our clients to adopt. I bet she still does that. And it was Leslie who made me go to the Long Beach pound to adopt my dog, Daughter, whom I had love from for 18 years.

My career and my humanity are in great debt to Leslie Diamond. She is and has always been one those fantastic hair stylists and colorists in the beauty industry, always learning the latest products and techniques which always adds to the accumulated artistry she already possesses. She’s beautiful on the outside as well as the inside which makes her the best person for anyone to get their hair done by and for any stylist to look up to and be trained by.

Thank you, Leslie. I love you.

Jon-David

+++++++++++++++++++++++++

Leslie Diamond currently owns and operates Spirited Styles on Naples Island.

She is my ispiration to the Brooke McFarland character in my eBook novel, Mafia Hairdresser.

Best Colorist in Long BeachMy “Professional” BACKSTORY: Before I met Leslie at Jon Don’s I had graduated from cosmetology school at Citrus Jr. College in Azusa California and immediately began assisting at a small salon where the head stylist, Bernie had hired me to be his personal assistant. Bernie was a high school friend’s brother and he was one of the inspirations to me for getting into the hair business. He was a Hollywood stylist and did hair for many of the stars of the soap opera, The Young and the Restless. Unfortunately I had no stomach for putting up with early 80s diva behavior, unless it was mine, and I was shortly let go when I talked back to actress Melody Thomas. I think I said something to her like, “I’m not your slave, get it yourself.” I was arrogant, plucky and spirited so it was with another push of audacity that I applied at the “IT” salon of the time for another assisting position. Cassandra 2000 was the working think-tank salon for the hair-care company Sebastian International. Because Sebastian was a sponsor of my graduating cosmetology school and because Bernie actually gave me a great recommendation, along with my natural writing skills, I got in the door. Cassandra 2000 management went against their policy of hiring someone who had not previously worked in the industry for 2 years prior to hiring them. Big mistake–on their part. On the day of my release from their employment, they wrote the words “arrogant,” “plucky” and “spirited.” Oh, and: “Good Luck.” I had the best luck because I met Leslie Diamond and was hired at Jon Don’s.

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50 Days of Women: Responsibility

Obama HatI think the word Responsibility means different things to different people and I’m glad that both my mom and my dad, and my grandparents, taught and instilled in me their version of what responsibility is.
Without looking up the definition and stating it here, I turn to the two questions that run through my mind for myself, and what I would also ask someone who is a responsible person and to the many I see in this world who are not.
What is your responsibility to yourself?
What is your responsibility to your friends, family, pets, or to the world?
My answer to those two questions is the same as my definition of responsibility; the same description of the word that was taught to me by family. Responsibility is constantly asking those two questions of oneself and then taking appropriate action at the appropriate time to do what is needed and called for, for yourself and others.
Even though my father and my grandfather were very responsible men, I’m going to venture to say that the women in their lives helped them, nagged & cajoled them, and patiently taught them to be so. I think, by nature, men are responsible but we probably wouldn’t take on “extra” responsibilities if we didn’t have to.
How many past dorm-mates, room-mates, boyfriends, husbands and sons have the ability to not-see what needs to be done?: The dusting, toilet cleaning, stocking the pantry, or buying dog food before it runs out, or doing our homework before it is due… If we had a room-mate or mom or wife or boyfriend who will do this for us, we would continue to be blind get them to do our homework for us.
Men let emotional issues fester. “I’m sorry.” “I didn’t know how you felt.” “I thought if I didn’t think about it, it would go away.” These are few of the things that will come out of our mouths when it’s too late.
How many new fathers would actually jump in and change any diapers, let alone be in the delivery room, without a little nudging, tantrum or threat from their baby mama? Of course the father who steps up, whether coerced or not, reaps the benefits of actually becoming a better man for it. But I bet most men would stay on the lower steps would it not be for women
Women are not this way. Most women do what needs to be done before it runs out, it goes dry, it gets a late-fee, or it gets smelly or disgusting. She waters it before the leaves fall off, or feeds it before it starves. And that goes for relationships too. Whether it’s keeping her eye on the clock to make sure the kids get to school on time, making sure we have the right kind of beer in the fridge for Sunday football, or demanding a date night once a week to keep her relationship together, she does what she has to do to keep everyone happy or exploding, including herself (hopefully) –before it gets to be too late.
My mom was a master of these things and I’m pretty good too, for a guy. I do what needs to be done, not just when I get around to doing them, but when they need to get done. That means if I have to write two professional blogs, do 4 interviews, do 30 hours as a hairdresser and be at 4 business meetings that week, I will still make sure both dogs get their morning excersise and their teeth brushed, my laundry is done, my bathrooms are clean and my friends and I have time together; even if I have to wake up at 5a.m. for six months in a row! I will still get to the gym to take care of my body and I will continue to reach for my dreams until I don’t have them anymore, and I will make sure I don’t leave more than tiny carbon footprint for the Earth to clean up after I die.
I’m a responsible person and I’m very thankful that I had a mother, a bunch of perfect aunts, two grandmothers, and their men, who taught me how to be responsible. I only wish I had kids to pass-on to them what responiblity means me.

50 Days of Women: Women vote Differently over 50

Politcal WomenTo continue my series on women, I bring you, “from behind the chair,” one of my surprising and recent insights about my women clients. As a hairdresser who has daily un-guarded conversations with women, while I do their cuts and colors, it has been illuminating to me that many women may vote one way when she is younger than when she is older. I always thought I could count on a woman to vote from her heart and education where it concerns her political, economic, and human rights issues. But during this election, I have been hearing from my women clients a startling admission: some of the older women will be voting in the opposite direction of their own inner morale compass.
For instance, one of my Jewish Democratic clients, who is wealthy by my standards, will be voting Republican. In elections of years past she would vote Democrat, virtually canceling out her husband’s votes. She told me that all those years of voting for social equality, economic reform, social justice, reproductive rights for women and civic programs were and are still what she believes in; but she has straight-up told me that she is voting for her own personal pocketbook this year. She believes that a vote for the Republican presidential candidate would be more in alignment for keeping her personal taxes down and her retirement safer. She’s over 50, she’s had medical bills, she’s worried about her retirement.
Fact: in 2012, more single women are voting Democratic and the married woman voter is less inclined to vote Democrat than previous years. I believe it’s because married women are also voting for their nest eggs. Most of my younger women clients will be voting Democrat. P.S.: I live in Chicago and I understand we are a Democratic city and state. Where you live, your hairdresser might report differently.
The client whom I’ve have told you about is not the only woman over 50 who has admitted to me about switching from Democrat to Republican and I can see their point of view and I respect their honesty.
To place this insight or revelation in my mind in a way that I can understand it, I recall my men friends who have always poohpoohed my harping on green issues and global warming discussions. A majority of my men friends have expressed that while they understand that individuals should recycle, use less packaging, re-use and buy electric cars, they also admit they like their conveniences and comforts much more than to change the way they do anything, let alone invest in change. I have always understood why men have voted for their personal gain. We are short-sighted as bunch, and we don’t let go of our comfort habits until which time as we are forced to.
But I have been surprised to hear women changing the way they vote, not out of personal gain or laziness, but out of ‘sound’ economic self preservation. Again, I respect my women clients for their up-front reasons to switch. I get it.
But have we become a society where both men and women have given up on the world, the environment, and the rights of the younger people who will out-live us and have to deal with the mess we have left behind?
I offer nothing more but an invitation for further the discussion on this issue on this day of voting in the United States of America. In discussion, we just might learn a lot more from each other, both men and women.

You can probably tell that I am a Democrat by social issues standards and yet I stand by a fiscally responsible government who also can make these issues part of the business of government. Please don’t let my political views keep us from talking to each other intelligently.

50 Days of Women

I love my mom
John, Marie, Jess, Jon-David

Today’s blog is dedicated to any writers with Writer’s Block.

I’ve had a really hard time getting back to writing. You see, my mom died less than six month ago and, since then, every time I sat down at my computer to “let the magic happen,” or when I picked up a notepad to scratch out the skeleton of a few creative projects that have been glaring at me from an old goal list, my mind became a solid mass of clay. Soft, but firmed up and unmoving. I had a passion to sculpt this clay but the fear of what was inside of that clay was too intense for me. For inside of my head of Play-Doh is probably hardened marbles of emotions that I had never seen before. I wasn’t ready to investigate the marbles; let alone play with them for literary gold or publicly displayed catharsis.
I will not put the pressure upon myself to write 50 days straight about my new subject: women. (As I did with 50 Days of 50: soon to be an eBook). But I am committed to writing at least one entry a week. Monday’s are good for me. You can count on it.
There should be no question as to why I chose women to be the focus of this upcoming series. They are fascinating. They are multitasking. They are manipulative and beguiling. Enduring, long-suffering and self-sacrificing pave the feeling tone of describing women’s un-flailing and undeserved patience with men.
I had planned to write this series long before mom went in the hospital for a quick yet risky operation that went well… that is until a simple, yet undetected, complication took her from me, my brother and father. I was with my mother every second that mattered during the time she left her body and it was the most precious few moments in my life and I shall hold that in heart as my greatest honor. Of course I will also write about mom. She was character and a wonderful woman. Every mother is the most important woman to everyone’s life and my mom was the single most influential woman in mine. This series is dedicated to you, mom. I miss you very much.
If you are my client, or sister-in-law, or one of the gal-pals in my posse, you should not be afraid. Yes, I’m writing about you beyoches. But I will write from the love and wonder I have for you in my heart. One of my best friends is Allison, she’s also my boss at Joseph Michael’s Salon & Spa. She knows I’ll write about her too but she’d also assure all of you that I would never write anything that would or could be seen in a negative or embarrassing light about you. (At least not that you would recognize…) I adore you all and you have shared your stories and your views with me and I want to relay those thoughts here on my pages–for the laughs and tears and wisdom they can bestow.
Part of what has me committing to this series now is that I’m about ready to shoot a Youtube mini-series called The Judy Show. I’m Judy! I’ll also be writing a blog as Judy, so getting into the mind of a woman has been my job as well as just a subject that I felt needed to be mined. I hope you take a look and subscribe to The Judy Blog as well as this one. She can say things a lot differenty than I can. (“Coincidentally,” Mondays will be her entry days as well.)
So give me a week, ladies and gentlemen, and then read all about beautiful, sexy, mothering, smothering, mesmerizing, infuriating women.

It’s nice to be back.

Jon-David