Depending on your location and/or degree of unbelievable hipsterness, some of you may have heard of The Angry Chair (located on the Berlin Turnpike in Wethersfield, CT). The basic premise of the place is “look how much I don’t give a fuck about how I look” emo/alternative cuts, dye jobs & makeup all carried out to the tune of blaring metal music. Their theme, accordingly, is: “Modern hair. Modern music. Music to motivate.” I imagined a wide sprawled, dimly lit yet impeccably polished salon embellished with the perfect balance of red and black decorum.. probably blaring Senses Fail or Dashboard Confessional or something totally mind-numbingly “emo.”
Before & After pics are always fun
I now have bangs, and from recent experience have learned the hard way failure to choose a competent stylist may cause one to fall victim to what I have coined “prom bangs.” My first choice was Lauren at the Gallery, an old high school friend who salvaged my head the first time. However, she was booked solid for almost a week and my bangs were already long overdue for a fixin.’ Every other place in or around West Hartford STARTED their cuts at $45 – $50. Plus I still wasn’t convinced I’d walk out of a place named “Medusa” or “Chameleon” feeling 100% on my ‘do. I wanted a place with a rep, a theme, a guarantee of youth and vitality. While their cuts also begin at $40, I saw an ad on TAC’s site for half-off services if you book with one of their “slightly less experienced,” newly hired stylists. $20 is cheaper than even the mall-salon mecca, C&C, so I was into it.
I call and make an appointment with Adam. I go in a few hours later, and I’m almost immediately floored by how different the place looks in real life as compared to my imagination. It’s brightly – almost harshly – lit. It’s just one medium-sized room with only 3 or 4 stations, and more suprisingly it looks bare, industrial, gutted, dirty … dare I say, authentically angry? No evidence of a color- or pattern- themed decor at all. Cream tiled floor that needs a sweeping, mopping or maybe just re-tiling altogether. I can say with confidence that no Senses Fail has ever graced these speakers, all I hear while I’m in here is straight up metal. There’s a messy check-in desk, which isn’t really necessary since I’m the only person in there who isn’t working or just hanging out, and anyone standing anywhere in the room can very easily see the entrance themselves. I sit at Adam’s station and we chat it up. He’s very young, extremely personable and lovable. As he’s washing my hair, he asks “So, what’s up? What’s going on with you?” and he’s 100% genuine. I’m in love. I immediately feel comfortable unleashing the torrid tale of my bangs from the past 2 months or so, and he totally “gets” it.
He starts by hacking away at everything else besides my bangs, allowing me to consider my options for the time being. He doesn’t just chop away in that deafening and horrifying silence like most hairdressers. He shows me how much he’s taking, explains what he’s doing, what it’ll look like, asks me what kind of time/effort I’m willing to put in to doing my hair. We both agree that in between songs, it feels like there should be the sound of a tattoo needle buzzing in the background. When it’s finally time to do my bangs, he suggests the “v-bang.” We laugh at the implicit sexual inuendo. He explains that this is more of a versatile bang that can swoop either way because the middle is slightly longer than the sides. He even takes me over to the computer to look up a photo to show me. I agree hesitantly, and he promises to just “trial” it and if I like it, he’ll cut more of it off. He makes a few snips, and I love it. We both agree the longer length is perfect and keep it in trial mode. The rest of my hair looks amazing too, lots of layers, thinned out enough so it’s light and more manageable and yet he barely cut any length at all. I’m amazed.When we’re done, he asks if I want to see the rest of his tattoos and I sit while he shows me an unfinished chest piece. I feel like I’m hanging with a best guy friend in his basement, and oh, he just gave me the haircut equivalent to an orgasm.
When it comes time to pay, it’s a somewhat awkward exchange if you’re using a debit or credit card. They have to bring up PayPal on a laptop hanging on the wall, have you swipe your card, then you type in whatever amount you want to add for tip (needless to say, I tipped him almost the price of a second haircut). You review it and click “submit.” This goes right along with my awe upon walking into the place, it’s just not as “professionally emo” as I expected. We joke that for my next appointment, I won’t even give my name – just “v-bang.” He gives me a card, writing on it a reminder that they are moving down the street soon.
Every woman knows the true test of a haircut is how it looks after you’ve gone home and washed it yourself. Mine looks better than ever and takes barely any effort whatsoever on my part, while drying, styling or otherwise just being gorgeous. For the first 2 days i was slightly miffed/heartbroken at the fact that he had innocently snipped off my “framey pieces” (the mid-length pieces between the bangs and rest of the head, mostly functioning as a frame for when I put my hair up or back as to avoid looking like I have a mushroom cut). I’m over it though. I’ll just remember for next time. I can only hope that their new location isn’t The Angry Chair of my fantasies before this visit, and that they stay true to their dirty rock n’ roll “roots.” No pun intended.