Goddess mug shot The Goddess Speaks

By Genevieve A. Suzuki

Pro advice can save
you from inner goon

There's only one man in my life who has the power to make or break me. He can ensure my social life is packed with eager companions or he can strand me at home. This guy can bring a smile to my face or leave me bereft, crying tears until only dry, heaving sobs are left. Guess you could say he has utter control over me, especially when he's wielding shiny, sharp objects.

I've been seeing my hairstylist Stan for almost 10 years. While I'm probably not his best client -- my visits are closer to four to six months apart versus the recommended six to eight weeks -- I am assuredly among the most grateful.

I remember days when I wandered lost and lonely into various salons only to find myself at home later with a new collection of hats, caps and berets.

My classmates were styling their bangs into waves with goop and gel; I was cursing the discount hairstylist who had introduced me to the phase in my young life now known as, "Is that a boy or a girl?"

Friends had terrific Alyssa Milano perms, bouncy and lively; I had the "superfrizz."

In my junior year in high school, I longed to wear a French twist to the winter ball, and was instead given the Imelda Marcos deluxe special, minus the stiff sleeves and extensive shoe collection.

Before Stan, life was bleak.

As a college student, walking into Antoine's on Kapiolani Boulevard was a little intimidating. The last time I had been to the salon, I was a pre-teen drip accompanying a stylish older sister. Years later, I was pretty much just an older version of the same drip.

Calling to make the appointment was stressful enough. I hadn't any idea which stylist to see. What if he wanted to make a statement, a newbie stylist looking to put his personal stamp on my hapless head?

Worse, what if it were someone who specialized in the Stepford Wife look, helping me blend in too much?

"Stan is free," the receptionist volunteered. Stan?

What kind of name was Stan for a hairstylist? Shouldn't it be something smashingly Italian? Vinnie? Michelangelo? Donatello?

"Yes, Bootsie, Donatello did my shag. Like it? He's booked for the year. Too bad for you."

I signed up with Stan anyway. Seeing Stan was a whole other experience. He had style, he had grace. There'd be no Stepford creations with Stan.

And in the beginning, as with any new relationship, it was a little exciting and a lot awkward. I wondered whether I was talking too much, too little, was my breath horrid, was I dressed like a goon ... I worried more about impressing Stan than I did when I first dated my husband, Derek.

Fortunately, Stan is good with goony drips and worked well with my hair and personality. Like a stray cat fed that first sweet can of tuna, I went back a few months later.

Again, again and again.

Stan, I'm happy to say, is the only person who has ever gotten me compliments on my hair. He also knows when to listen to me and when to steer me in a safer direction.

For instance, after getting into the X-Men, I went on a Rogue kick and asked Stan for red hair with platinum blonde streaks. He demurred politely and suggested a less frightening prospect with the same amount of comic-book cool.

When I wanted to go blonde, he instead gave me highlights, earning me questions from strangers about how often I surfed -- a much cooler question than "Is it a boy or a girl?"

Recently, Stan gave me heavy layers and asked whether I wanted bangs. "They're coming back," he said. I immediately agreed, something I wouldn't do with anyone else.

The last time I had bangs, I was 9 and resembled a sheepdog. After a couple of weeks, my mom trimmed those special bangs herself and, well, let's just say that it would've been more merciful for her to have plopped a bowl on my head and cut with her eyes closed.

This time, thankfully, it was different. Stan didn't let me down. He expertly cut bangs and gave me a flirty, youthful outlook on life.

Strange what a pair of scissors can do when in the right hands. Botox, you say? I don't need no stinking Botox! Not as long as I've got Stan.

Genevieve A. Suzuki is a freelance writer in Honolulu.

The Goddess Speaks is a feature column by and
about women. If you have something to say, write
"The Goddess Speaks," 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, Honolulu 96813;
or e-mail


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