I'm about to be a hair model. Don't laugh. Okay, go ahead and laugh. It all began innocently enough a few weeks ago. There I was at the Niles Family Fitness Center, lifting weights, which I seldom do - I'm more of a cardio guy, when a woman approached me. I'd seen her at the gym before, she's a regular in the 6 a.m. gym crowd, so you start to see the same faces day after day. So, she taps me on the arm, and says something along the lines of, "Hey, I know this might seem kind of awkward and don't take this the wrong way, but I would love for you to model for me. Here's my card, take a look at my website, and see what you think. No obligation."
At this point, I'm feeling pretty good about myself. Yup, still got it. Maybe all the recent weight lifting IS doing wonders for me. That's when I looked down at the card, which read: "CP Hair Solutions." A-ha. Yup, don't got it. Don't get me wrong - I'm not a bald man. Yet. But, the top is definitely thinning and has been for some time. I'm not approaching comb over danger levels or anything (no Christian Bale in American Hustle), and I've warned my friends to tell me if things start looking screwy, but yeah, sure. I could use some hair solutions. I didn't think much of it then, other than - hey, this is a funny little Facebook status update. I put the card in my pocket, and went about the rest of my day.
Cut to the next morning. I see the woman again at the gym. And yes, she approaches me. "Did you take a look at my website?" "No, not yet," I answer sheepishly. Then she says something like, "Well, I think I could do great things for you. You're young. You're good-looking. [Editor's Note: Yes, tell me more.] I need younger guys to model for my site. My name's Christine. Take a look at the site. See what you think. Give me a call." Okay, I sarcastically think to myself. Sounds great. So, I get to work and start telling all my friends about it at lunch. We're all sharing a laugh, but we're also intrigued. We go to the site: www.cphairsolutions.com, and I start browsing.
I see info on hair additions and repairs, hair solutions and loss, custom and synthetic wigs, and more. I see "Success Stories" of various individuals who have partaken of Christine's services. And, I see the requisite "Before" and "After" photos of the hair models. All of it looks very interesting. Okay, I'll bite. I'll keep going down this rabbit hole. So, I call Christine and tell her I'm interested in learning more. She tells me to come on over to her shop, talk to a guy who's coming in for a visit, ask him questions, see what she does, etc. We eventually set up a time on a Saturday morning for me to stop in.
Her store is located at 7665 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Niles, IL. It's in a little strip mall, but as soon as I walk in, I'm immediately impressed. Christine has been working in the hair solutions field since 1969. She's worked for hair wunderkind Jerry Casper, and now, she's striking out on her own when most others are content to retire. Clearly, she has a real passion for this. Her shop has been open for two months, and there's still a "Grand Opening" sign in the window. The interior is indeed grand, with the place split up in half with a guys' side and a girls' side. I get a coffee (brewed in house!), and then meet with Christine and her customer.
I learn all about the process that I'm being asked to undergo. It's not your typical toupee or wig. It's not Rogaine, or Laser hair therapy. No, what Christine is offering is a hair "piece." It's non-surgical, ultra-lightweight, custom-designed for your head, with a base of lace (you can see the scalp through the hair), and real hair on top that is cut, colored, styled, and blended in to your existing hairline. I examine the piece closely as it is applied to Christine's customer's head. I can't see the seams or the edge. I'm reminded of that scene in Christmas Vacation, when Clark is examining a lingerie model and asks his son, "Can't see the line can you, Russ?"
I'm told that the piece is glued to your head, and doesn't come off unless you want (by applying an oil-based solution). You go about your day like normal - you shower with it, work out with it (even intense workouts or running a marathon), go swimming with it, whatever. You get four pieces a year, so you replace the piece every 3 months. In the meantime, you go in to Christine once a month for maintenance: haircut, coloring (the hair color tends to fade in the sun), and cleaning. Think Jeremy Piven. Balding in the 90s. Nice head of hair on Entourage. That's what this is. It all sounds wonderful to me, but then comes the kicker: if I do it, and serve as a hair model for her website and in her store, I'll get the whole process free for a year. Sure, why not? What have I got to lose? So, we proceed.
Here are some pics from the first visit. Tune in next week for the follow-up. I'm scheduled to model and get my piece on Saturday, April 12. Don't laugh. Okay, go ahead and laugh.
Want more? Check out Part 2 here.
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