A Day in my Life with Roger Thompson

It’s 7am, and time to get ready for my workday. I am excited and nervous. Roger is in town. What new things will I learn? Will he think my haircuts have improved? I am excited and nervous. What should I wear? Does my hair look good? I am excited and nervous. Roger is in town.

I work at the Roger Thompson salon. I can still hardly believe it. How did I get here? Am I good enough to be here? I never dreamed I would be here, but here I am. I am a stylist, a haircutter. I have been in the business for 11 years now, and for the last year, I have worked for/with Roger Thompson.

Just in case you do not know who Roger Thompson is, firstly, let me say that you SHOULD. Secondly, let me say that he was the best pair of hands in the hair business. That is what Vidal says as well. So thirdly, let me say why he was the best pair of hands in the business. Roger was Vidal Sassoon’s first-ever International Creative Director, and the only person that ever worked for Vidal that had his name on the door of Vidal’s salon besides Vidal Sassoon. Roger was incredibly creative. He did things his own way, and had uncompromising integrity and dignity. He was a leader, yet he was reserved and quiet. Never showy. He did not have to be, he was sure of him self, but in a way that was genuine, pure talent. He let his creative voice and intuition guide him, and magic came out of his fingers when he cut hair.

It’s 9:30 am, and I arrive at the salon. We are located inside of a very tasty, fashionable, high-end retail store. Barneys New York. Roger lives in Connecticut, and has the first Roger Thompson Salon in Barneys NY in Chelsea, but opened in the Dallas location in 1990. I run around making sure that the salon is in impeccable order for his arrival. I am excited and nervous. The books look busy for us all. Roger has clients that patiently await their turn every sixth week that he makes the trek from NY to Dallas. Here they come, I can feel my face flush as Roger and Shirley, his wife, enter the front salon door. We greet with hugs kisses and catch up on the latest news before we start our day.

The atmosphere is perfect, the stereo is playing jazz, Miles Davis I believe…the clients start to arrive and off we go. The sound of our scissors clicking on our combs in the room as we all cut is one of the most comforting sounds. Magic is all around us. How did I get here? Roger comes to greet my client and then he stands behind me and watches me cut. I used to get distracted a bit by this, but now I relish in it. I tell myself, if you can cut hair with Roger Thompson standing behind you watching you, you can take on anything. I have seen assistants sweat, and cry over Roger watching them cut. Just his mere presence is intimidating to most.

It’s 11pm, and I fall in to bed. What a fabulous day. 4 more to go. Roger is in town. I am excited, but no longer nervous. How did I get here?..but, here I am.

I am a hairdresser, working for one of the greatest hairdressers in the world. He is my friend, and my mentor. How did I get here?…but, here I am, and I love it!

~Peg Cribari

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