Something but Nothing


Friday night I paid a visit to Dee at Cutler’s Soho salon for his signature ultra sleek, ultra straight blowout. As he put his finishing touches on my pin-straight hair, I couldn’t help but think how I now resembled the Addams’ family matriarch, Morticia. Without the benefits of my native California sun my hair has lost all natural highlights and become a uniformy dark, almost black, brown shade. So much so, in fact, that people often ask me if I dye my hair.

I pointed out my observation to Dee and he summoned over Alex, his go-to colorist. Alex is a petite, Greek, recent-New-York-transplant with spotty English and a thick accent. He is a man of few words with a penchant for sweater vests, perfectly tailored trousers and all things related to hair. Dee and Alex spoke in hushed tones while inspecting my current hue, then Alex came over with the Sun Tea swatch from the coloring station. He showed me how the bottom of my hair was noticably lighter than the top and suggested adding Sun Tea highlights all over to have a lighter, matching color.

I made a 3:30 pm appointment for the next day and instructed Alex to go home immediately and get a good night’s sleep.  I needed him to be focused and on-the-ball (I actually told him that).  This was a big deal: you see, I have virgin hair. For years I have been touting my steadfast creed that natural hair color is best, not to mention I usually think that highlights turn out looking tacky.

The next day, after brunch with the girls, Dawn, beauty editor at Lucky magazine, walked me to the salon. She also interrogated Alex, enforcing his growing belief that we’re completely OCD with nothing of real importance to think about. While Dawn focused on her main concern–striped hair–I haphazardly gushed about Gisele’s golden locks and pointed out the natural sun-kissed highlights on a 5-year-old girl who was waiting for her mom to get her hair done. Alex smiled knowingly.

Three hours later, the unveiling. Hum. Did the dye not work? Is that even possible? I tried to recall the few episodes of Shear Genius where they have to do color. Had it ever just not worked? No, it had worked because something was definitely different. Alex held the bottom pieces of my hair up to the top, just as he had the night before, and sure enough the highlights he had put in had the overall effect of lightening my hair. Alex finally spoke, and said, “it’s something, but nothing”. And that’s exactly why I love it.

Cutler Salon
465 W. Broadway, New York, NY 10012
nr. W. Houston St.
Ask for Alex Papagianis

Photo: Me at Maisie’s birthday Saturday night (now that I’ve started doing my hair all I have to do is start wearing make-up…)