and his name is sam hill.
i am a difficult woman to please. i have lived in this fair city for almost 20 months, and while this blog makes it look like i’ve spent most of that time eating out, i have actually spent most of that time scouring the city for a new hairdresser, taking friends’ recommendations and trekking as far out to kenwood to find that special someone. c’mon, girls — i know you know what i’m talkin’ about: not just someone who gives a good cut but someone you connect with. someone you want to sit down and talk to, someone who makes you feel your best when you’re in the chair and look your best when you stand up and get out of it.
sam is that person.
i learned about sam in cincinnati magazine’s 2008 “best of” issue, where he is voted best of … for being “super nice.” you’d think i’d be drawn to kristen kuelber (at christopher george salon), who won kudos cutting short hair — but she’s out in milford, and i was looking for someone closer to home.
to say that sam wins for being “super nice” is some kind of polite understatement. he is nice, that’s true. but he’s so much more. he has a truly winning personality. he is warm and funny, genuine and edgy, hip and yet caring. the kind of guy you invite to dinner parties to help ensure that conversation is interesting and invigorating. the kind of you guy would be thrilled to take home to introduce to mom (although sam’s wife and child would not be too happy with you).
i called sam to make an appointment back in december when i decided that i just had to get myself a decent cut before the holidays. his win in the mag had brought on a rush of popularity that meant he was booked until now, but he gave me a very good recommendation to tide me over in the interim. and that cut — from rae at tanya’s wellness salon in hyde park — was quite good. but back in december i had made last thursday’s appt with sam and even though i was no longer desperate for a new ‘do, i intended to keep it.
i’m so glad i did. when i sat down, we talked about what i did (and didn’t) like about my past and current cuts, what i’m willing to do (and not do) with my hair, what my hair (by virtue of its length, texture, and general orneriness) seems inclined to do, and what i want on the top of my head. all i really wanted, i told him, was a hip cut that is easy to style and maintain but that is also, well, a little girly. i need some femininity goin’ on up there. he listened, tousling my hair as we talked about pros and cons of various choices. he moved things around, showed me options, and then gave me the hands down best haircut i’ve had since moving to cincinnati.
no lie. hands down. and this from a girl who is hard to please.
so aside from the perfection that is an hour spent with sam hill (i could wax rhapsodic about the mirrors in his salon and the perfection with which they are strategically placed; about the great music that was playing; about everything, perhaps, except for what i think might have been a dead goldfish in a bowl in a room i only saw from a distance), my favorite thing might be that he’s in my ‘hood. right now he’s in temporary digs in hyde park above arthur’s (have a burger, get your hair cut, your day is complete), but he’s moving soon to a new location in oakley, right on madison road. look for him there this spring in the space that used to house de la art. even if oakley is not in your neck of the words, it’ll be worth the trip. i promise. just leave an appointment open for me.