Turns out beauty is expensive -- Who knew, right? ... So yeah, if your teenager is all gaga for glam, you can send him (yes, him) to a decent cosmetology school for about what you'd pay to send him to community college. Just cross your fingers he'll stick it out through all the unpretty parts. I didn't.
Then again, I had a bachelor's degree in my back pocket. There's a point in there somewhere -- Oh! Parents, please teach your glamor guy that disorders like psoriasis and vitiligo and alopecia aren't gross. Teach him to be kind, compassionate, and to be THE student who will take the clients that the less tolerant, less gracious students will turn down. He'll gain the respect of his instructors, which ultimately will mean the BEST hair models; that extra bowl of bleach for his cut-and-color project; that extra set of initials on his manicure sign-off sheet.
And when your boy starts working with the usual beauty school clientele, you should remind him to keep his hands out of his eyes and mouth, because he's going to be all up in people's biological business; good, bad and weird. Prepare him, kind parents, to keep his cool when he finds himself holding Agatha's fungus-riddled foot in his hands, freshly plucked from the pedicure bubble bath -- If he doesn't freak out he'll have a client for life, and he'll be very likely to NOT QUIT the program and be saddled with senseless tuition debt.
And while we're on that topic: Clients, if you're only willing to pay $10 for a cut and style, spare the poor kid the torture of handling your cesspool of a scalp by simply, you know, bathing. Some day I'll tell you about that one hair model who was so gross I asked my instructor if I could put my hair dryer in the barbasol. Shortly after picking all of her dandruff out from under my nails (seriously people, she had long curly hair and every inch of it was coated in white flecks that were sticky like wet toilet paper), I walked outta that place and didn't look back. Did I mention that I made it four months?
No, wait. That wasn't the point. Here's the point: Choose wisely when going into debt. Yeah, that's it. Even though I'm a Beauty School Dropout (sing it with me, now!) I still have to pay for the schoolin' I received. But I'm okay with that, because I still cut hair on a regular basis for fun. That's the key: My livelihood doesn't depend upon the number of haircuts I give, so I can be super picky about my clientele, and I can practice my craft on a schedule of my choosing. Beauty School Graduate doesn't get to pick his clients, though he may exercise a little control by getting a chair in a decent salon. And he's got to work weekends, because that's when the service industry rakes in the most bucks. He'll still need a second job for awhile, to pay for living expenses, professional-looking clothes, and service that cumbersome tuition debt.
But if he can get through the first rough year or two, he'll be makin' bank if he's got the chops. It's about patience. It's about not letting a sense of glitter-flecked entitlement push him out before his time comes. Before you sign the papers, ask him: Is he ready to scrape together those monthly loan payments by washing, cutting and styling head after head of lice-ridden, dandruff-shedding, grease-caked, matted hair; all after banking only four hours of sleep because he worked late at the bar the night before?
In fairness, working in a salon doesn't always involve biological warfare. What it IS, however, is REAL. Glamor, by definition, isn't reality, and that can be hard to swallow while toiling through cosmetology school and an apprenticeship -- I had my hands in a lot of other people's hygiene and skin disease problems almost daily for four months, and despite the fact that I love, LOVE hair, I couldn't stick it out. Even though I was that girl who got the BEST clients, the custom color formulations, the nod at my worst manicures; because I treated the $10 haircut clients like a million bucks... Life got to me, so I'm not a success story here. But if beauty boy can slog through all the things a student/new stylist must endure, he'll feel happier about clicking "pay now" on that hefty loan.