Monday, August 9, 2010

The Best Assistant Ever!

Many moons ago as a young salon apprentice I was given a rare and precious opportunity.

It was a life changing moment, one that my Mother would have called a chance to...


My first position in the beauty biz was for a world famous salon easily ranked (at that time) as one of the countries top 10... Vogue, Harpers, stage work, photoshoots etc. etc.

We were everywhere.

Heading this South Florida institution was an Infamous, larger than life, Husband and Wife team that ran the creative end and their (only child) a Daughter that headed operations.

~as a side note, please understand that this position, which ran a great ten years, was without doubt, one of the reason I am the success I am today..... I began as a "shampoo boy" and ended up as the salon's Creative Director.... Fourth from the top of the Empire~

Now back to grabbing my cojones.

Let me just say that this story takes place in the 1980's.
Salons were a very different kind of cool then... drugs were not uncommon in salons... some of the best and most famous hairdressers only functioned, somewhat enhanced.
Therefore I was not shocked when a very high end, very powerful client asked this lowly shampoo boy where he could get an "eightball."

I had no idea what an eightball was .... but I was on it.

Mr. High end gave me his pager number and told me to call him when I got it.
He slid a folded up bill into my hand and slipped out the side door.

COCAINE?!, upon getting my answer.
What on Earth had I gotten my self into now.

I went to the only person I could think of.
"Mikel" was the hippest stylist in the shop, not only did he know where I could get it, but he even offered to drive me to his "friends" place to pick it up.

The next two hours where a swirl of, sweating (me) a drive thru a very scary neighborhood I didn't even know existed, a brief exchange with a wiry guy named Tito, my savior Mikel tasting it for quality control and voila, me with a bag in my hand that would surely make me the Best Assistant Ever!

I paged Mr. High End who would now be stopping by the shop around five.

I tucked the little bag away in my locker... spun the combo three times to be sure it was safe and went back to the business of hair.

Now a little intro to the boss' daughter..... A beautiful woman, long blonde hair down to there, always in tiny dresses up to there. She was dynamic, driven, with a nose for fashion.. a nose for business and (I would soon find out) a nose for other things as well!

I won't bore you with all the details but suffice it to say I soon found my locker forced open with it's precious contents missing.  
Mr. High End would be here soon and time was quickly running out. 

The next hour was another swirl of more sweat (me) more driving through that very scary neighborhood, and one last exchange with Tito, that also involved my only giving him half up front and the rest on Friday.
This was now coming out of my own pocket and.. well.. shampoo boys in the eighties didn't make a lot of money.

Mr High End got what he wanted.
I on the other hand was about to go "nose to nose" with an extremely wide eyed looking young lady who just happened to sign my checks.

"What are you gonna do about it.... Tell my parents? "

That was all she said as she walked away.

She was right, I was trapped... surely I could not go to the big bosses with what had happened.
I had supplied a salon client with drugs (granted their daughter had snorted it up) but who would they fire? their own flesh and blood or the newest shampoo boy?

That is not the end of this story.

Those words.... What are you gonna do about it?.... stayed in my throat for weeks.

Then one day that opportunity I spoke of earlier finally revealed itself.

Every month like clock work an assistant would be asked to mix up a little color for the bosses daughter.

She would take the small bowl upstairs to her office and emerge about thirty minutes later with her.... well..... how to put this in terms we all know... with the ( carpet matching the drapes ).

On this day.
This magical day.......... I was asked.

Now usually we would have mixed a bit of Miss Clariol #27, Spring Honey.

What are you gonna do about it?, again.. those words. 
This time my hand drifted over to Miss Clairol #33.............Flame Red.

This would prove to be the longest thirty minutes of my life.

I heard her high heels heading towards the break room.

And then I said it... That one liner we always dream of getting or have nightmares about having lost.

What are you gonna do about it?

I had finally grabbed my cojones.

And they were proud and strong and red................FLAME RED.



  1. l f-ing love this story!!!! one of my favorites!!! keep 'em coming!!!

  2. That is fantastic!! OMG- I totally envisioned Tito and the bosses daughter! Great story!!!

    I too was naive about what an eight ball was, I was looking for a pool table, I kid you not….lol.

  3. Love these Henry! I remember the "......" dot dot dot days when you used to write things! You need to write a book! These keep me so engrossed and wanting more!


  4. I know it is time for you to tell the story about hitting your assistant with a comb, Muahhhh

  5. Ah.... Yes, Rudy.
    Your stories will come........

  6. Absolutely loved loved loved loved this story. I was laughing my head off.....revenge as they say is a dish always best served 'what are you going to do about it?.......