My Stylist. Let me show you her.

Pardon my lolcat-speak above. I can’t seem to stop doing it.

I’m very pleased with my stylist right now. Her name is Linh, and she owns a salon in Houston’s Chinatown/Vietnamtown area.

Half the time that I go to see Linh, I complain about it. See, I’m the type of girl who likes to change her hairstyle often. And, I always have some vague, ephemeral idea of a future hairstyle in mind. So I’ll buy a hairstyle guide magazine, pull out a colored marker, and start creating a half-ass presentation of the way I want my hair to look.

Then, I’ll take my markered-up pictures to Linh, and she’ll look and listen and say, “Okay. Uh huh. Okay, Wen. I see.”
And then, she’ll cut my hair totally different from the way I told her I wanted it.

And then, it always comes out freaking awesome.

Remember a while back, I was telling y’all I wanted bangs, but was too scared they’d look funky? I eventually gave up on the idea, and went to work finding pictures of chicks with extremely layered styles. I was ready for something new, right?

So then I went to see Linh, two or three weeks ago, and she listened to all my conceptualizing, and then she pulled out her scissors and said, “I think you need bangs.” And, just like that, she cut bangs. And, dude – they are kind of freaking awesome. I mean, I’m not trying to brag about the way I look — but Linh made me the most flattering bangs possible for my face. People are like, “Did you cut your hair or have dermabrasion or something? You look… younger. Can I have sex with you?” And I’m like, “No, ma’am, you may not. Can you please just renew my drivers’ license and let me go home now?”

I’ve been wanting to write about Linh for a while, actually, because we’ve known her for a long time and she’s always fascinated me. She’s been my boyfriend Tad’s stylist since he was a kid, and she used to work for someone else’s salon. However, ever since he’s known her, she’d been talking about saving up money to buy her own salon, some day.

When he and I first started dating, four years ago, he took me to see her, and told her I was his “friend.” Because we didn’t want to freak her out with our interracial relationship, because we weren’t sure how she’d react. Dude — first thing she does, when cutting my hair, is start trying to matchmake me with Tad. She spent the whole haircut telling me how awesome he was, and how she could tell he’d make a really good boyfriend, and how we looked cute together, and etc. Eventually, we told her we were an item, and she got such a kick out of believing she made it happen, we just let her. (Now she cuts my kids’ hair, and I think she’s angling for Tad to adopt them. Ha.)

Linh is the only person who’s ever made blond highlights look good on me. Before I met her, I tried them on two separate occassions and was extremely dissappointed with the results. See, even though I mostly look white, I have this light-Mexican-olive (i.e., lime green) skin tone, and it’s super hard to make blond look right with that. But you know how I knew I could trust Linh to do it? Because’s she’s Vietnamese, and she’s blonde, and she looks awesome. She told me, right off the bat, “No, I know what those other places were doing wrong. They didn’t look at your skin. They picked the wrong colors. If you ever want to go blonde all the way, just come to me. I know what to do for you.” And then she gave the most beautiful highlights I could imagine.

About a year ago, Linh finally realized her dream of opening her own salon. She threw a big party and invited all her best customers, so you know Tad and I were there, chowing down on roast pig and jellyfish salad and stuff. We were super impressed with the new salon, because everything in it was brand new, top-of-the-line. And it’s, like, extremely… I’m trying to think of a way to say this that doesn’t sound weird or stereotype-y… It’s very Viet-fabulous. Like, if you think of every nail salon you ever went to, and the way they’re decorated with the bright colors and elaborate floral displays… but multiply that times a lot of money, then you’ll have Linh’s salon. I mean, she obviously saved up and fantasized about this place her whole life. She has the giant, insanely over-the-top chandelier above her reception desk, and I love it so much, I’m trying to decide if I can get away with putting one in my house. And she has this awesomely groovy painting of herself — a full-body portrait in which she’s, like, a goddess or a muse in a field of flowers. She told us someone made that for her as a gift, and that sort of portrait is the latest trend in glamour photography amongst her people (it’s actually a photo of her face, digitally blended into a painting, then printed on canvas), and that she put it in the salon to show her appreciation. And I secretly want a painting/photo like that of me, maybe with a unicorn or something in the background.

And she has all this other stuff that people have given her, like giant swans made of silver origami paper, and a little fake tree with dolls hanging from its branches, and a huge basket of candy that my children can’t resist. But, most importantly, she always makes our hair look good, sometimes against our will. And she worked hard all her life, and now she’s reaping the rewards at a relatively young age, and that inspires the hell out of me. And she reminds me, repetitively and consistently, why Tad is the best boyfriend I’ve ever had. And, well, she’s just generally awesome.

So… I was writing all this, thinking, “I should put in a link, in case some poor light-olive-skinned Houston girl wants to go blonde and check it out,” and then I found Linh’s web site, and it has a photo of the awesome portraint and the chandelier, and the silver swans! So here it is: Linh’s salon. Maybe some day I will see you there.

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Posted in vanity on 06/21/2007 10:31 am

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