I am at The Hair God's house, hanging out while he waits for his client. I have known The Hair God for about nine years, since we worked on an ABC MOW (movie of the week) together back in 1999. He is one of those people that from the moment we met, I knew we would be friends for life.
At the time he was seriously addicted to drugs, but within a year he would check into Betty Ford and become sober. Over the years he has completely turned his life around- filing all of his back taxes, paying off debts both financial and emotional, and becoming one of the best hairdressers in the film industry, and in my opinion, the best colourist in the world. When he isn't on a show he takes selective clients, mostly from the industry.
The client we are waiting for is his signature client, Makeup Xtraordinaire. Her hair is her signature. They change the colours and patterns every time, and it is always different and always amazing. She is on his business cards and in some circles he is known not as The Hair God, but as "the guy who does Makeup Xtraordinaire's hair." She is a make-up artist and on more than one occasion a celebrity client has tried to copy her hair colour and design.
While we wait we talk about sex (what else?) and in particular gay sex. The Hair God is shocked to learn that I do not know what glory holes are.
"In the bath houses--" he begins.
"Well, see, how could I know, they won't even let women in to bath houses," I interrupt.
He raises a disapproving eyebrow at my interruption.
"In the bath houses," he begins again patiently, "there are holes in the walls at waist level. You can walk by them and see if a cock you like is sticking out and get fucked. Or if there is a nice hole on the other end you can fuck it."
The Hair God doesn't go to bath houses anymore, not since his sobriety. But it seems likely that glory holes are still a popular attraction. IMO, gay sex is just male sex without women involved. Most men, gay or straight, like indiscriminate, unattached sex, or at the very at least, the idea of indiscriminate, unattached sex.
We turn our conversation to more socially acceptable topics as Makeup Xtraordinaire arrives. It has been eleven weeks since she's had her hair done and her roots are showing. This is the longest she has ever gone without getting colour. (The Hair God was on a long show out of town.)
First her roots must be bleached in order to be ready to accept the new colours. An emergency call must be made to the local beauty supply for cuticle sealer-- you can't shampoo hair for three days after you colour it. You can use vinegar to close the cuticle, but a good sealer is better. Thankfully the beauty supply delivers and they bring it right over.
Because they both work in the industry, the looming threat of an actor's strike is a hot topic of conversation. There is a lot going on that isn't in the news. For instance, during the writer's strike the studios cleaned house. Many support staffers were fired or laid off-- custodial, secretarial, food service-- and many were close to retirement. The Hair God believes the studios did this so that they wouldn't have to pay benefits.
In the film industry there are people that work "above the line" and everyone else works "below the line". Above the line are the people in the head credits- the producers, actors, and some high level production jobs like Production Designer, etc. Most of the people I know work below the line and many people feel that that the studios want another strike so that they can clean house some more. Gotta keep the profits for the no-talent, uncreative, suck-ass producers, and the greedy, ego inflated celebrities.
The industry makes so much money that there really is no reason for all of this greed. But so many people in Hollywood (the industry, not that actual city) feel that there entire self-worth is based on how much they have. And if someone else has more, well, than they want more too. There are a lot of really neurotic personalities in the upper echelon of the film industry, and a culture of extravagance and entitlement that is truly appalling.
During colour application food is ordered and the depressing talk about the strike is 86'ed. Makeup Xtraordinaire hand feeds The Hair God as he applies the various shades and wraps each section of hair in foil. I laugh at how easily they do this.
"What?" The Hair God asks me.
"I wish I had a picture of Makeup Xtraordinaire feeding you chips and guacamole without missing a beat."
All three of us laugh.
"We've been doing this for over 13 years now!" Makeup Xtraordinaire responds.
The process takes almost 8 hours from start to finish. But it is worth it. The palette and patterns reminds me of an acid trip. I dub it the LSD design. The colours are true and bright and perfectly layered in six sections-- three top to bottom, and three horizontally- the left side, back, and right side.
I want to be part of the creative process so I sweep the floor and clean up while Makeup Xtraordinaire preps for photos.
We go outside to take pictures and really admire the colours.
"This is the best one yet," I proclaim.
"Every time is the best time," Makeup Xtraordinaire agrees with me. "It's always different, always a surprise. We've never done the same thing twice."