I did something really stupid and potentially dangerous during my wedding planning, and it still gives me a chill when I think about it. No, it wasn’t bungee jumping or hot coal walking. It was having my hair and makeup trial. Seriously. Not because of my vanity, though, but because I let a total stranger into my home and he turned out to be scary.
With hindsight, I understand that I wasn’t really firing on all cylinders, and I’d like to share my cautionary tale.
In my case, I was having trouble finding the right stylist to do my hair and makeup for the wedding, and I was starting to feel anxious and a little desperate, as the wedding was a short while away. We just wanted one person for the wedding day who could do my hair and makeup and a slight touch of styling for Drake. We had a recommendation from a friend of a friend who sounded perfect – a femme who dated studs, and she said she knew just what to do for Drake. We wanted someone who would be a good fit for us culturally, and personality-wise, since they would be with us in our wedding suite as we were getting ready. We thought she sounded perfect. It’s highly recommended, though, before hiring a wedding stylist, to book a trial run with them. This gal was a 90 minute drive south, so we’d need to take a weekday off work to drive down for our trial. And she worked in a salon, so to make it worth her while to miss an entire Saturday for our wedding, we’d need to guarantee her $500 plus travel costs. That just felt like too much money for just the two of us.
We weren’t having a bridal party — you know 8 tiny bridesmaids all in a row getting their hair and makeup done together — and I hadn’t found a salon near the hotel, so we needed a stylist who was willing to come to us, but without charging us a small fortune. I used my Google-Fu to find a well-Yelped traveling stylist who was willing to do small parties, so I sent her an email, “we’re a butch/femme lesbian couple getting married, blah blah” (hoping to weed out the homophobes). She was booked that day, but had an associate who was great who could help us on our day. He had a very minimal presence online, but from what I could tell, did mostly fashion photography work, and had a drag queen in his portfolio. We figured he was family, and maybe a little too flashy for our style, but likely could tone it down for our wedding. I filled out a questionnaire, agreed on a price, and setup a time for a hair and makeup trial. We’d have to pay his travel costs, but since he was based two hours west, I was just happy to not make the long round trip drive on my day off.
Drake surprised me by expressing an interest in the trial and wanted to be there for it. I didn’t have any motherly, sisterly, or girlfriend advisors in this process, so even though I was kinda shocked that Drake would find it interesting, I was happy to have some feedback. But I gave Drake plenty of encouragement to go do something else with that rare-found bachelor time.
Turns out, it was a damn good thing Drake was there. There was something not quite right with fashion boy and slowly after his arrival I realized what a pickle I had gotten myself into. A total stranger was in my home, and it was starting to feel weird. My spidey senses were telling me that he was off, and damn, was I glad Drake was in the house. And, here’s the embarrassing part. I’m highly trained in self-defense and martial arts. I am supposed to be almost paranoid about safety. And I just opened the door and invited a total stranger in. What was I thinking?
I still don’t know what the guy’s deal was. His travelling stylist case was virtually empty. There was no hair spray, he said just to imagine what it would look like with some spray in to puff it up. And the only eye shadow color he had was grey, with a few tubs of miscellaneous makeup. He studied the magazine photos I showed him like he had never seen them before. He took *forever* to apply the makeup and even longer to do the hair. It was like he was an imposter. He told us he used to be a highly paid business professional but wanted a more creative career so he went to beauty school, he was straight but often presumed to be gay and hit on by the other male stylists in the fashion industry, he was decorated ex military, and a black belt in martial arts. He even showed me a karate video from 10+ years ago. I dunno, his stories didn’t seem to add up, it was getting just slightly eerier by the minute, and I looked a mess.
Lastly, hours later when he was done I paid him thinking that was that, but then he wouldn’t leave. He missed our increasing clear social cues that it was time to go. Awkward!
Maybe he is exactly who he says he is, and meant absolutely no harm whatsoever, and my intuition was being clouded by anxiety and decision fatigue. But the thing is, I should not have put myself in this position, period. So don’t you do it! Be smart and safe about how and when you schedule your hair and makeup trial and please make sure you’ve fully vetted the individual.
We ended up with a fantastic stylist who was warm and calm, a wedding pro through and through, and was an easy presence in our beehive of a wedding suite during the morning preparations, and, while most of her clients tend to be straight brides, she is definitely cool with queer folk, and we wholeheartedly recommend her.
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