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The Haircut.

A story about Joyce, By PS…

“My life had changed.” 

“A hairstylist who changed peoples’ lives.”

“Since I got a haircut with Joyce.”


This could be a summary of some entries from Joyce’s journals. There are four journals – leather-bound, lined paper, filled with hundreds of peoples’ life stories. The authors of these entries are all strangers to each other: programmers, managers, office workers, nurses, students, just to name a few. What do they all have in common? Almost nothing except for the fact that they all lost their jobs in the past months of recession and found Joyce. The former was a bad news, the latter turned out to be good news.


In February 2009, when recession hit hard in Massachusetts , thousands of people lost their jobs. Picture this: upset, depressed, unhappy, unemployed. Everyone knows, or is told by a nice human resources person, that it is NOT ABOUT YOU, it is about THE ECONOMY. Those words have little comfort. Money supply along with self-esteem are dropping down, like the temperature before a winter ice storm. You are told to do networking, have a positive attitude, and look like a million dollars, and you will launch a new job in no time. That’s easier said than done. Hundreds of resumes sent seem to be disappearing into a black hole of virtual universe or eaten by the Web-Monster. Smiles featured during career-boosting “mingle-and-network” parties don’t look convincing. Looking like million-dollars seems even harder because the average haircut in Metro-Boston costs $45-and-higher. On your small budget you can afford either your neighbor’s, student-hairdresser’s or barber shop services.


Here, comes the good news. Joyce – an experienced hairdresser with sculptor’s eye for shape and proportion decided to help her laid-off clients by cutting their hair for free until they can afford to pay again. Every Monday, since February 2009, she has over a dozen of clients, whose hair she cuts free of charge. Some of them are old clients, some new, referred by their friends. Joyce seems to work wonders. In less then an hour she transforms a tired, unhappy woman into a beauty. Her hair now looks gorgeous, eyes shining, smile sincere and convincing. Can just a good haircut have this effect? Of course, not! With each haircut, Joyce gives part of her heart, her passion, and her love of life. It is contagious. It energizes people. They write about this phenomenon in their entries, which Joyce called testimonies. I think this is a right word. I asked Joyce how long she is going to have her Free Mondays. She said: “As long as people need them.” Just like that, simple. Joyce tries to keep her initiative, as much as possible, away from commercializing or PR-sing. She is afraid that commercialization might take a soul out of it, and with it, that extraordinary positive effect it has on people. I think she is right …

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