William Collier: Synopsis of a Memoir, Pt. 9, - Practical Application

October 08, 2015

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The early part of the training soon became quite routine. Theory in the morning. It seems like we started early around 8:00 am, which would account for the overall ambiance. There were approximately 25 students in the class give or take a few depending on the day. Some of the information being offered was interesting but seemed more appropriate for medical purposes than hairdressing. We studied the bone structure of the head, neck, arms, and hands. By 8:30, many heads were being supported by a hand under ones chin which seemed to encourage the eyes to bulge with a sincere desire to convince the instructor that you were paying attention. By 9:00, all efforts to appear to be paying attention had dwindled to muffled noises, mostly associated with sleep. Some students were asked to leave the room after being asked to wake up a couple of times. Lloyd and I always sat next to each other. We managed our attention span by whispering back and forth, sometimes resorting to what was supposed to appear to be note taking and more likely note sharing. I honestly cannot remember what our communication was about -- my guess, would be a morning critique on the appearance of certain girls. There were some really cute girls, and there were a few stunners.

There was a particular part of the content we were to memorize, which included the muscle structure of the scalp that I found particularly intriguing. I remain fascinated with it to this day. The Arrector Pili muscle is a small flat muscle attached to the base of the hair follicle, when contracted it causes the hair to stand up. The contraction of this muscle is often referred to as “goose bumps”. There are several causes that encourage it to contract...most commonly a sudden chill causing goose bumps, this may also occur when suddenly frightened. As human beings evolved many aspects of this process relieved them of suddenly being chilled or frightened, such as advanced heat providing technology, safer environments, and clothing materials designed to retain warmth, resulting in less activity of this muscle (my own hypothesis). This is what continues to intrigue me. What if it were possible to encourage this muscle and nerve system to be more active? This muscle is considered an “involuntary muscle”. The heart is also an involuntary muscle. Perhaps a general awareness of the Arrector Pili muscle might cause it to work in conjunction with the heart in matters of excitement, potentially creating thousands of follicular erections on the scalp.  A conscious awareness of this activity, interpreted through aa story you have chosen for yourself, could have added value in matters of the heart. I’m just saying...this could be my first public rant.

Lunch was always welcome being so close to the Pike Place Market. We experimented with all types of food. One of my favorites was and is to this day Filipino chili beef and chicken abodo. This was quite a few years before Starbucks started in the market. After lunch we spent time with the mannequins doing roller sets, finger waves, and pin curls which I could do okay. However, my main interest was haircutting. We were being taught very basic hair cutting methods which were important but I could not wait to start cutting some of the hip geometric shapes that were being introduced by Sassoon. Vidal Sassoon became my guru. I could see that he was on the leading edge of the transformation that was occurring. Mary Quant introducing the mini skirt and  Andre Courreges also laying claim to the mini skirt with his modern designs and go go boots were part of the new fashion rage. Carnaby Street was world famous as a fashion hot spot in “swinging” London. The fashion industry was on fire.




I began cutting hair whenever and where ever I had the chance, mostly friends and neighbors. I was passionate about hair cutting. To this day I continue to enjoy a cutting challenge. After a month or so in the early days of the training we were progressing through practicing on mannequins each day after morning theory, doing finger waves, roller sets, pin curls, and wrapping perms. I was anxious to begin working on real people...that was about two months away.


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