We have all seen a business/restaurant/establishment that looks less than appealing/clean/upstanding, located near a topless bar/7-eleven/Ethiopian restaurant and we have all wondered "who keeps them in business?"
When I first saw Dazzle Salon: Issa for Hair, I believed those customers might just come from the strip club only a block away. Its large vertical sign, name that doesn't quite translate into English correctly and stained, two-toned brick exterior might indicate why.
So when I asked a stranger where she got her fabulous haircut and she replied, "Dazzle Salon on 23rd," I laughed out loud.
And then I booked an appointment.
To be honest, there is nothing more exciting to me than finding a diamond in the rough, a tiny, ethnic restaurant with delicious eats (that stay in your body for more than an hour), a dirty little thrift shop with amazing steals - you get the picture.
So I arrived at my appointment Saturday to pistachio ice cream-colored walls with frizzy-80s-hair posters blanketing them; and a balding, middle-aged man trimming the mustache on another balding, middle-aged man; and a tiny Asian woman who beckoned me to join her at the sink. The next thing I knew, she was standing on her tiptoes, thoroughly (shredding up my scalp with those fingernails) shampooing my hair. She finished, rustled my hair with a towel, then proceeded to clean my ears out with that towel. I'm not making this up. She basically gave me a wet willy at least three times in both ears, only with a towel. I giggled a little bit, then felt sick to my stomach and began to devise an exit plan, a scheme to tell these people that I had only come for a nice, invigorating shampoo - not a cut.
But, with a bright smile, that tiny lady nearly picked me up off the reclining chair and guided me over to the man who I now know as Issa. He just stood there in silence so I took my cue and told him what I wanted - really thinned out tresses with hardly anything taken off the length. With a thick accent (Middle Eastern, I'm guessing) he said, "You have beautiful hair," then his scissors feasted on it. The first tuft of hair that landed in my lap was 2 inches and I knew, at once, that my hair would not be the same length when Issa finished. He rifled through my hair with these amazing scissors that took large sections out, thinning out the lower layers, and I began to feel really good about my decision to stay. He blow-dried, and I was out of there in 35 minutes flat.
I ended up with a coiffure a la Michelle Obama - you know, curled under just so, with loads of volume. So I straightened it. And I really like it. Dazzle Salon: Issa for Hair can now count me as a customer.
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