There is the loveable hot mess persona that is a persona that I project, and then there is the reality.
The reality can be seen in the missing chunk of my hair at the back that I had to cut out when I lived in San Diego because I hadn't combed it in three days and, after spending $50 on conditioning treatments and visiting a few different salons who said they could not help me with a knot that big, I just clipped it out as I watched "Scarface" twice in a row.
Or it could be seen last night when I entered the posh Benjamin Hotel and met the dashing Federico Calce, who did hair and beauty on "Batman" (the first) and "When Harry Met Sally," and for countless celebs like Nicole Kidman and Katie Couric -- and who is "100% Italian," he'll have you know.
The darling Federico flirted with me all to hell and back until I showed him the article about his wife that I had pulled up on Google. Actually that just encouraged him more. But, hey, I loved it. Funny flirty guys are my jam. I asked him if he had seen "Don't Mess With the Zohan" and if he was the Italian version. He said in his thick romantic accent, "Yes. I also fight crime at night."
But all of my confidence and sass disappeared when it became clear that my hair was not just way behind in a cut and color but could only be accurately classified as an actual Project. As in, I hadn't washed or combed it in days, and he had to call in backup to try to get my hair workable.
"Feel free to just go for it," I said, as he untangled knot after knot. "I have a high tolerance for pain."
"My kind of woman," Federico said with a smile.
I read him aloud some of his press. "In the mid 1980s, 21-year-old Federico Calce set off from Milan on a journey across the Atlantic Ocean to New York. Little did he realize that this trip would end up revolutionizing the landscape of the high end hair and beauty world."
I paused. "Wow. That's pretty over the top, Federico," I said. "You revolutionized the landscape. Did you know that?"
"You are too much," he said. "Why do you give me a hard time?"
"That's how I show you I love you," I said with a smile.
And know how Federico shows you he loves you? With a cut, color, blowout and wave that is pure revenge on any of your exes. It made me want to stroll back and forth on the streets where each of my ex-boyfriends live for hours at a time until I "accidentally" ran into them and then put my finger to my lips and said, "I'm so embarrassed! It's so awkward to run into you like this," and then flipped that shit in their face as I swooshed into a haze of blonde.
When I first talked to Federico, I told him that I wanted to maybe match the hair color that I had when I was younger, and he knitted his eyebrows concerned.
"No," he said, lifting and examining my now detangled mop of hair. "We will make it soft and beautiful and NOW. Highlights and lowlights."
He asked me how blonde I wanted to go, and I decided that, this being 2013, it was better to go successful businesslady who takes time to comb her hair daily and has little time for sex and men white-hot rather than dishwater-soaked-bend-you-over-the-sink nympho dirty-blonde. It's important to use the official names on the Clairol box.
What was interesting was that after my color was done, all of our joking stopped and I could see the wheels spinning in his head and Federico was truly plotting out what he thought would look best for my face, style and look. This is different than other hairdressers who are so terrified to do anything beyond what you tell them to do that you end up with the same 'do every time.
He used the razor to give my very thick hair more texture and went a lot shorter and lighter than I've gone in the past. Not short-short, but just not cartoonish mermaid Marvel comic book character long as I've been known to go.
And then, just when I was ready to pee my pants from happiness at the look, he took it a step further. Using a wave-shaped flatiron, he took big chunks of my hair through it in a twirling motion and then curled it with his finger. The sexy ringlets held, with no product used whatsoever. It was amazing.
"Do you think I can do this every day?" I asked.
"Well, sure," he said. "Of course, we will have to come over to your home to comb your hair for a half hour first, but that is okay, I do not mind."
He's now presiding over the Federico salon just opened inside The Benjamin Hotel at 125 E. 50th Street, which offers all the services I listed, along with standard spa treatments such as mani-pedis, facials and waxing. Also, you don't have to actually be STAYING at The Benjamin to get services at the salon. Plus, Federico offers 24-hour beauty service from head to toe for convenience at914 882 2978so his hairdressers can come directly to the homes of celebrities (or, you know, just folks with money) on a moment's notice for hairmergencies. Yes, I just coined that. Don't steal it. Or wait, do. Let's trend "hairmergency" stat.
Next on my 2013 resolution list? Botox and other crap so I don't look 100 years old. HOORAY!
What are your vain beauty resolutions? My other one is to comb my hair.
I know, I know. I aim high.
Find Mandy long-form at http://tinyurl.com/stadtmiller.