Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Stars of Hair on the Air Radio

Who are Alfred and Thomas?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Hair is on the Air

Here's a little more about the guys that make Hair on the Air a radio show like you've never heard before:

ALFRED: (on the left)From Boston, he’s Italian, streetwise, smart mouthed, with a tough edge and a city attitude. As a die hard Red Sox fan,he can tell you any sports statistic you want to know. With three kids, a career of dealing with parent issues, coaching kids on every team, and a family comes first, conservative values kind of guy, his matinee idol looks, and Robert DeNiro character voice fit his personality perfectly.

THOMAS: From Martha’s Vineyard, he’s gay, boarding school educated, liberal with far reaching communication skills that sometimes are over the top. His sense of humor, life experience, (for one, he lost 140 lbs 20 years ago) keeps him never at a loss for words. His prior radio talk on WBCN from 1984-87 gives him an ease in the medium. He is the “Lucy” to Alfred’s “Ricky ”.

Hair on the Air in on RadioyouBoston HD2 on Thursday nights from 7-8, but don't worry if you don't live in Boston, just go to http://www.RadioYouBoston.com , iTunes or http://www.hairontheair.com and listen online. If you have a question, topic, or comment that you want the guys to answer, call the 24 hour HOTLINE: 617 418-HAIR (4247), shoot them an email at http://www.hairontheair.com or better yet, on Thursday nights between 7-8pm CALL IN LIVE: (617) 822-6211 and take your turn in the chair.

Living Vicariously through our Clients

Alfred, Who were you this week? Who did you have in your chair that you not only did their hair, but you are invested in, identify with, give advise to, console, motivate, listen to, admire and help feel good about themselves. How many clients this week have you done for over ten years? How many have you walked through tough times with, gone through a divorce or a miscarriage with, or you handed them Kleenex discussing a problem that brought them to tears sitting with all the foils on their head. Alfred, who were you this week? Who was in your chair that let you feel the baby kick, showed off the new engagement ring, finished their dissertation, described the Olympics in Beijing, or you handed them a Kleenex as they laughed themselves into tears while they sit waiting for the hot wax to rip little hairs off their chin. Were you a famous movie star again?

One of the best things about being a hairdresser, is the magic of living vicariously through are clients lives. We have so many different, interesting, and varied people that pass through our hands everyday. When one allows another to touch them physically-such as a masseuse, a doctor, or a hairdresser- an intimacy develops. A trust develops. Many people find this bond a comforting, and therapeutic link to anther person who is involved-yet detached. There seems to be a lot of safety in this relationship. I have clients that have come once a month for 25 years. If your getting a basic single process color that lasts about two hours, that sums out to six hindered hours of time spent together. That is the equivalent of fifteen- forty hour work weeks of close, hands on intimacy. We make some serious long lasting relationships with our clients.

Some of them are whimsical and humerus. If I put myself into the shoes of a few off the top of my head; I get to be a mom whose 12 year old son just got back from the most prestigious PING PONG CAMP in the world outside of Budapest Hungary. I get to be an Olympic gold medalist rower. I get to be a three star general. I get to be the Dean of a prestigious graduate school. I get to be a fifteen year old hip-hop break dancer. I am a well known actress, news anchor, and author. I also get to be a few really crazy psychiatrists, heart surgeons, and a leading physicist.

Alfred, and others in our salon got to be a Greek national soccer player, an oil painting restoration expert at the Smithsonian, and an Archaeologist just back from Tunisia looking for ancient scrolls. We got to be the President of an Eastern European country-flanked by drop dead handsome secret service- (when asked what she thought was the most pressing world issue at the moment, she paused, thought deeply for a moment, and then answered:"What I care about the most right now is that...I become a Grandmother this year")

We also got to be a regular mom working part time, juggling three kids, a mortgage, and a husband whose job is on the line. We felt the frustration when we were not accepted into the graduate program that we had worked so hard for. We were a parent who wouldn't let their fifteen year old son attend the "legalize marijuana" rally without supervision. We were an alcoholic fifteen days sober struggling to keep it together. We were a divided family dealing with getting Grandma into the right living situation for her final days. We were first time business school clients, recommended to us to get just the right haircut for job interviews. We were a new doctor in a new city working thirty six hour shifts who wanted some ideas on where to drive out of Boston for day trips. (Ogunquit, or Newport) We were a hot trendy BU student who died her Asian black hair- snow white blond 3 days before, who spent the entire day at the salon to fix it. She bought lunch for everyone, and she walked out a sensation.

Living in voyeuristic monthly snapshots through our clients is sometimes extremely painful. It can be really hard to see someone you've been intimately involved with careening into a big mistake, staying with an abusive partner, or sinking into the depths of depression. Many clients invite you to establish the oopportunity to provide advise, motivation, and the pep talks that go beyond just the monthly haircut chit chat . When you have been involved with someone for 25 years, gone through the good, the bad and the ugly there inevitably comes those moments where we have the ability to provide service that goes above and beyond. The concept of boundaries is a big one here. My job is to do your hair. But if I can I can set you up on a blind date with my 10th grade English teacher (who hit me in the face with an eraser,) and then you get married because of it, all the better, I get bonus points

This week such a moment presented it self. My beloved long time client has been battling cancer for the last 12 years. We have been shopping for hats together, building memories with her remarkable daughter of thirteen when they come to the salon together, and I have hooked her up with other clients who specialize in treatment of her affliction. Our goal is to make it to her daughter's Bat Mitzvah at the end of October. This week, her husband carried her up the stairs late, after the salon was closed. I had the shades down, soft lights, and soft music. I buzzed her hair down to a crew cut, and tinted her eyebrows. We sat and talked. I will take the day off to attend the Bat Mitzvah to help with styling and moral support. I wouldn't dream of charging a penny for this, as it is my honor to be involved and included in this families process.

Yesterday I went to the house of a 94 year old women who had been great friends of my parents. She spends "the season" on Martha's Vineyard where she is a true "matriarch", and then is flown back to old Savannah GA where she is the doyenne of the plantation set. I have gone to her museum of a house for 28 years, three times a year. As I finneshed up her hair, I got choked up thinking that this would be the last time I would be able to help this wonderful woman maintain her dignity, put a smile on her, and help her feel like the femmenine southern Belle that she has always been. For two hours yesterday she was again the grand lady whose parents had gone down on the Andrea Doria Ocean Liner (they survived). I suggested I put some lipstick on her, clip on the pearl earings, and hey- let's slip these high heels on for a minute even just here in the bed. The look on her face once again made me realize why I am in this buisness. Her son came up to me later to say she had been looking forward to this all week. I was in tears as I reminded him how to massage her head every night, and that she had conveyed to me to make sure she has her lipstick and earings were ALWAYS on in the hospital until the very last day.

The one year old kid whose bangs I cut my first year as a hairdresser- (I don't do kids...no way...well, OK just this once) is named Dylan. He is pushing thirty and should be a Calvin Klein underware model. I have watched him grow up for his entire life, and feel like "Aunt Thomas". He makes all his girlfriends come into the salon for a "drive by". It's like running the Mohegan indian gauntlet. Some of them have walked out with a tommahawk squarely in the forehead. But if they think they can just come in and pick the golden apple without some sort of litmus test, they have a surprise coming. I think being a 28 year old Calvin Klein underwear model, a three star General, a cancer survivor, or a fireman are all right up there as the truly great clients to live vicariously through.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Botox with a beer chaser

We're both back on the Air after my self imposed torture at the Fat Farm, and anti-aging clinic in Mexico. Alfred had a great solo show, but Ricky needs Lucy, the Captain needs Teneile, and Frankie Avalon needs Annette to have a great beach party.

I was all set to call in from Mexico, but the afternoon tropical thunderstorms kept the (1) phone out of commission, and my computer limped along in safe mode, just barely avoiding a full crash. Thank God for 16 year old computer geniuses who can scrub your computer clean for a good haircut. Jack, I owe you big time. It's like my computer got a high colonic, and a few syringes of SURGIDERM; like I did South of the border.

I'd like to talk more about "off shore" beauty treatments and procedures on the air. Alfred gets a bit squeemish talking about Brazilian injections and chlorophyll enemas, but we do get a lot of emails, comments, and hotline calls (617-418-HAIR) about this whole concept of "Medi-tourism". Eco-tourism used to be the big travel term a few years back, but now we have clients that go off to India for triple bypass surgery, Canada for Lasic eye surgery, and South America for cosmetic procedures. Take your pick- You can either go to Costa Rica to see the Scarlet Macaws, or get a top of the line tummy tuck. A good travel agent gets you both.

Here is what a great plastic surgeon in South America looks like. His name is Dr. Daniel Robles. He's a great guy:


He has a great philosophy: "Plastic surgery is a medical human specialty because it deals with one of the most sensitive essences of human beings: the beauty and it’s great numbers of meanings; That´s why the plastic surgeon must know the most assorted and advanced surgical techniques, as well as humanity rudiments, in order to considerate his patient’s body and soul."

Don't you love that!! This guy does everything from Facial fillers and the latest forms of Botox, to calf and ass implants. I keep to the kid stuff with a few injections here and there, but one could get a complete body makeover if you wanted to on vacation. We get a lot of questions on the air about nips and tucks. This is the guy who's clinic does it all. They say that Merle Oberon, the great beauty of Hollywood in the 1930's was the first star to get into plastic surgery. She went to the famous clinic in Cuernavaca that is still there today. Like Dr. Robles's clinic it is all white marble and tinted glass in a modern and impeccably clean high tech facility. Best of all everything is about 1/4 of the price in the United States-which is why everyone is zooming off to India for heart operations, Thailand for Hepatitis cures, and South America for cosmetic procedures. As one should for any good vacation- do your homework, use a good travel agency that specializes in medi-tourism, and research where your going and what your in for. Have a great trip, and when you get back everyone says "you look so RESTED! You must have had a great vacation. I did.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Greetings from MEXICO:Travels of a hairdresser

Buenos Dias:

There was a terrible Thunder and lightening storm Wednesday night that knocked out all the phones/DSL Internet (and maybe mortally wounded my laptop) I was unable to call into the radio show (or HOTLINE), and I'm sure Alfred is furious, since HE called in from the room that Anna Nicolle Smith died in when HE was on vacation..."Ummm, some people take this seriously missy"" I can just here him now. But I'll say:"Yeah, OK I was hatching baby Rattlesnakes-had to take a message...".

I just lost a whole page and a half of writing...I have been tinkering with this computer for 2 hours now- I'm on "SAFE MODE" and that seem to be the only setting that doesn't go CRASH on me...But I can't upload any pictures yet

Anyway, I'm limping along on email to reassure you that Luis and I have a satellite cel phone, and a GPsatelite tracking device for roughing it. This morning was our final "PREP" ride before we go out for a few nights under the stars. Don't worry about a thing- He's armed, knows all these mountains like the back of his hands, and he's like Tonto and Sir Edmund Hillary on Horseback.At least
I get to eat!! He makes his own wild Veinson Jerky, Maybe a baby pig if I'm lucky, hard boiled (chicken) eggs, and camp coffee. I get to swagger in my beat up chaps a bit looking for firewood (Serpent sonar circuits overloaded) and pretend to be "Rowdy" (Clint Eastwood) from "Rawhide." Luis is DEFINITELY Antonio Banderas from "The Mexican" -What BUTCH is all about.

The preperation 4 hour hard ride this morning was way down the canyon to this wonderful little hot springs pool that we swim in (104 degrees The waterfall boils down and massages yo
ur shoulders and neck perfectly...A beautifully pristine (even drinkable) yet totally undiscovered place. We never ever find trash out that far as we do other places much closer to campers..

We came back via the place where we had discovered a clutch of Rattlesnake eggs, and Luis skillfully scooped them up more to show what an extraordinary nest of slightly slimey viscosity Those impressive big Rattlers make.. As we were mounding the small leathery eggs for "the money shot" with the camera, Luis casually mentions that the mother is usually in the area to keep an eye on the nest. (OK, NOW you tell me as I'm picking up rattlesnake eggs, hoping they won't hatch and chomp my finger as their first assassination assignment. I kept my eyes out as we set up for t
photo op that the big mother
wasn't behind me ready to sink her huge hypodermic fangs into me.(Again, that would suck. Dad would always cheerfully point out how this would make a GREAT obituary item, or better yet-Headline. However if I saw a six foot rattlesnake coming up behind me I would go all "snakes on a Plane" for sure.

I will try to load these shots of us swimming and squatting over the nest of "ouvos de Cascavalle. But, I'm a bit nervous about my computer...I'll keep you posted. I've had had a bunch of "treatments" in Guadalajara, and I got a haircut from the most expensive, attitude oozing, coolest hair salon in town called "Patrice Coiffure" I of course had Patrice do it Himself, My God he was so gay-he was like Ricky Martin meets Anthony Quinn in that movie about Aristotle Onasis. He gave me a great haircut.

Tuesday I rush back for my follow ups at the clinic (I got the latest,and coolest.. my final High Colonic before I go to the airport.) I am really packing the spa concept in this year. I LOVE being 45...What was I thinking?? The best is ahead!


The Fat Farm

No one can work a dress like a Spanish girl. CRRRRRUMBA baby. Cheeta Rivera could pick up that side of her dress, with one hand. The Latin sexuality; her gestures to shimmy and shake her side wrist: shake, shake. shake, It makes that Latino style of “working a dress” the best culture ever to do so. One could argue the Italian's have that built in ability to instinctively know how to walk a dress down a Milan Runway as well, having a cultural sense of the natural and instinctive ability to preen, move well, flick your hair, fiddle with your top blouse button, twinkle, saunter, and the men- constantly adjusting themselves. The Romeos, and the Hot Latin lovers. A Tony Curtis movie and a martini. (That would be Alfred-the other half of Hair on the Air)

The Mexican people here are the warmest, friendliest, family based friends I know. I gave up a ticket to the famous and expensive Guadalajara national Mariachi Festival to spend the evening with one of my dearest friends. Two days before we lost another dear friend who rode horseback with us 2 years ago on a long pilgrimage to TALPA. He was tragical crushed by a horse. Truly, a real cowboy and I'm honored to have rode with him. I went to his funeral yesterday, It was a mob scene. He was only 42, and his name was Malecio. The widow was out of control, then the older sister- there were 8 sisters- all started to go. There were a couple of "jumpers" who got down in there sobbing, then dramatically pulled up by the strong men. I've seen that at an Italian funeral; "climbers" where they try to climb up on the casket.

I'm at a Spa. It's kind of like going to girls fat camp, but your never picked last for the teams. A little like a diet vegi psychiatric wellness center- kind of Eslin workshop-meets European Hot Springs rejuvenation clinic. Brilliant and interesting people get "treatments" and get into poolside networking. Then it's right into the non-FDA approved injections and surgical procedure clinics for all the anti aging stuff. We are out in a pristine Mexican wilderness, with old style rustic Mexican Cowboys. The meals are torture; either juicing on 8 glasses of "the green slime" or Vegetarian low cal. "Come on people let's pick it up, feel the burn, burn the fat') The work out is lots of hiking mostly and Yoga- I should say Battan death march at one point this week in the heat.Vincent Price is right there with the taskmaster's whip. "Keep moving wimp, just wait until tommorrow's hike"!

When I was in town the other day "having a treatment"I went to a very expensive hair salon and spent about 40 dollars to have the fabulous "Patrice" do my hair. Patrice was a little like Liberace meets Anthony Quinn. In a queeny pursed lips kind of way. "I can give you VERY good price...and by the end you get a "very good price" on the 1979 Ford LTD. as well as a great haircut. Little black haired Mauricio shampooed me and asked me if I had ever seen Madonna. He gushed in broken English. Then he shampooed me so hard he almost drew blood. It was fun. I forget what it's like to be on the other side of the chair. It really is all about trust, and making a comfortable connection with the poerson doing my hair. I felt Patrice really CARED how my haircut turned out. He took pride in his work. It was an important lesson to remind myself what the client is going through. It was quite a good learning experience to see the workings of another salon, their layout, equipment and interaction with each other. Patrice begged me to get some highlights, but I have seen to many victims of a foreign hairdresser in my career, and I politely opted out. It takes time to build trust between Hairdresser and Client.

I'm sneaking in to the little village to meet my friend with the horses and go out for a long picnic. "Picnic" in Mexico can mean 3 days. It's an ambivalent time stretch- He is bringing my all time favorite cheating on the diet food: (but it's pure protein, no carbs, and IN the ATKINS weight loss book) Ready for the all time "binge at a fat farm food"? Roasted suckling Pig. I'm not kidding, after a week of green slime drinks and lettuce, I going to chow down on him like a cannibal in Borneo. Now THAT"S a picnic- I stay with bottled water, and maybe a few diet cokes, I opt out on the tequila and the soft tortillas (that one rolls the tender pork inside of- smothers it with -go to the emergency room- hot sauce , and your eating a Tortilla Chommorro. This is the the great delicacy of the state of Jalisco, up here in the mountains with the fat girls and the cowboys.

I just thought of an idea Alfred came up with. I could stand outside the gate of the Spa and sell roast baby pig, meatball subs, and Hershey bars for $100. a piece. Leave it to Alfred to come up with how to score an angle on that. Frankie and the boys are probably running odds in Vegas at how much weight I'll lose. I plan on coming back looking like one of those Chinese Gymnast girls.
Hasta la vista