Wobbily bobbilies.

I am about to attempt a blog that is probably one of the reasons why Brian warned, “Be careful,” when I began Square Piece. You see, I work with the public; and with the public comes lots of material for writing.  As I’ve mentioned Square Piece to my clients, I’ve gotten a lot of, “Oooo, I bet you have LOTS of stories from working at a salon!” It’s true. I really, really do.  And while I would never want to make light of the relationships that I have with my clients, there are many moments that are too amusing to not give story telling a careful try.

So today let’s discuss the wobbily bobbilies. A wobbily bobbily, to me, is a man, woman or child who consistently reveals an extreme inability to keep his neck and head straight while I’m performing a hair service. It’s my opinion that if it weren’t for my “back straight/chin up” mantra, wobbily bobbilies wouldn’t even realize that they’ve got this tendency. It’s quite unintentional.

There are two kinds of wobbily bobbilies. You’ve got the A) moving target wobbily bobbilies and the B) loosey goosey wobbily bobbilies. The moving target wobbily bobbilies are often children, but not always. These are the beloved clients whose eyes wander during a hair service. And it’s normal to people watch at a hair salon (heaven knows there’s plenty to see!); it’s when you begin to turn and face the people that you’re watching that all the uneven haircuts begin (a lesson I learned a long time ago). The rule that applies when you’re driving – you look with your eyes, but not with your steering wheel – also applies during a haircut: you look with your eyes, but not with your face. The other day a woman suggested to me that I put a dot on the mirror on which everyone could focus. This would keep her head straight. Really? I couldn’t suppress my chuckle.

Me, “As opposed to just looking at your face in the mirror?”

Her, “Oh, is that what I’m supposed to be looking at?”

Perhaps some of this is my fault when I assume that certain expectations are common knowledge.

Then there are the loosey goosey wobbily bobbilies. These are the beloved clients that go where the comb takes them. What I mean is that if I comb the left side, the head leans left; and if I comb the right side, the head leans right. When children are loosey goosey wobbily bobbilies I tend to have a lot of fun with correcting them. First I demonstrate what happens when the head goes where the comb takes it; then I make it a game and if they “resist the pressure,” they win. With my adult clientele, however, I gently place the fingers of my two hands on the sides of the head and center it again. This made me laugh the other day during a haircut because I realized just how difficult this can be for expressive communicators. Communicating is such a major element of the salon experience that I can see how those of us who gesture more have a hard time keeping our heads still.

So there I was working on a mature client. Comb. Measure. Snip.

Readjust her head.

Comb. Measure. Snip.

Readjust her head.

Comb. Measure. Snip.

Readjust her head.

Once I finished trimming the back and moved onto the sides, she looked at me and with all sincerity asked, “Do I still have to keep my head still?”

“Yes… You’re still getting your hair cut.”

You see, all my cutting was getting in the way of all her talking. Perhaps I should have just stopped right there and poured us two cups of coffee. Because, at the end of the day, sometimes the conversation is really why we’re both there.


  1. December 26, 2011
    Diane Bruch

    OMG I’m a wobbily bobbily and didn’t know it!! Now I know why you keep telling me “back straight/chin up” all the time. I will try to be more considerate. It’s just that I get talking and forget to be still

    • Nahhhh… You’d be a wobbily bobbily if I had to correct you before each and every snip. It’s normal to move a little here and there. No, you’re especially still considering our riveting conversations!

  2. September 8, 2013

    Hilarious! 😉

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