A question about a question about your hair

For you ladies who live and/or work in Chicago: have you ever been approached by an unsettlingly bright-eyed young man who wanted to ask you a question about your hair? I mean that he seriously came up to you all friendly-like and said, “Excuse me, can I ask you a question about your hair?” If this has happened to you, you know what comes next if you say, um, yeah, sure: a demented and elaborate sales pitch about salon coupons. When I worked in the Loop I had my Hair Question Man Encounter, as did every woman my age in my office. Mimi Smartypants has written about this phenomenon, too.

I don’t work downtown anymore but for some odd reason I remembered these guys the other day. It seems I have lingering questions about the Hair Question Men. Are they still around? Does anyone know one? Who do they work for? Do they exist in other parts of the country? What IS their question about hair and why do they never ask it once they’ve gotten your attention? I must know. If you have had a HQM Encounter or if you have any special knowledge about the HQMs themselves, let me know.


  1. Laurakeet says

    I so had this happen. It was in Lincoln Park about two years ago – and at the time I had a very low-paying job, as did my friend who was also asked, and we bargained with him. He gave us his schill ridiculous salon card for like $20 less than he was supposed to. I used it, and I never went back to that crappeau (crap-o) salon again. I just remember fondly the bickering. My coworker, who is a wonderful woman but has thin hair, got the HQM guy and laughed in his face. He was like “I love your hair! Where do you get it done?” (Which is the pitch we got, too, come to think of it.) She was like, “No, you don’t,” and walked away.

  2. jennifer says

    In New York, they are women. Which seems to make a lot more sense. If a random man wanted to ask me a question about my hair, I would be a lot more suspicious. And likely not have gotten duped into stopping so many times.

  3. herschel says

    they are here in the mall i go to. frequently, they want to demonstrate a flat iron on your hair, a flat iron which they have used on many, many people and have no method of cleaning or disinfecting.

    i once saw one of them grab a woman by the hair and i thought an angry mob would throw that dude over the railing. i confess, i nearly did the same thing to one of them who SNAPPED HIS FINGERS AT ME to get my attention. no No NO.

  4. says

    Hey, I am one of these guys.

    So here’s a few clarifications on some things.

    Firstly, the reason why you see new people doing it all of the time, is because it’s an extremely hard occupation to excel at.

    I’m basically paid to be shit on by people who don’t realize that they are actually missing out.

    Here’s how it works:

    The salon gets a client guaranteed, first and foremost this is our responsibility to choose someone who fits the profile of someone who is to become a regular client at the salon or spa we represent.

    The salon is so confident in the quality of its service that it gives it services away for free to the client.

    The sales rep gets a comission on the sale.

    The person gets a great deal.

    check out http://www.bestsalonsearch.com

    We’re pretty much civil servants. Stop and say hi, because we’re super friendly.

  5. says

    I too have encounted HQM at the local mall. This one was selling hair straighteners. He asked me if I had curly hair and I said yes and then he asked me if I wanted to try it out. I told him that I dont use hot stylers on my hair because it is damaging. He said that he has a special spray to put on so that wont happen. I told him that they don’t work and he argued back that this one did. I just walked away.

  6. evilNat says

    This is the 2nd time it’s happened – both times on extremely windy days when I choose to wear my hair pulled back off my face to prevent it flying around. I think it’s extremely rude to assume a passer-by fits your unkept hairstyle profile. If advertising doesn’t work, surely hawkers won’t! And advertising’s got to be cheaper than paying wages.

  7. annoyed says

    To the man who said he is one of these guys, I feel for you. But your comment about stopping by and saying hi – we’re super friendly? I have only once seen a nice guy doing that job. Most of them are complete a-holes who verbally attack women who aren’t interested. I always politely say “no thanks” and 99% of the time get some horrible come back like “you’re a b**ch anyway,” or my personal favorite, “no one asked you!”


  1. […] August 5, 2008 in Chicago, feminism, ottermatic So I was reading a post on Pound yesterday, in which Wendy linked to one of her old posts about Bad Times retail locations, which incidentally is hilarious and totally articulates something that I have always found disconcerting yet totally inarticulable and also I totally used to live near the Andersonville Bad Times Jewel and would go out of my way to hit up the Good Times Dominick’s on Broadway and Thorndale instead, that is how sensitive to Bad Times I am, and then she linked to another post about Hair Question Men. […]