Allyssa Hagaman immediately recognized the man who entered The CUT Barbershop in uptown Charlotte for a haircut Friday.
Or so she thought she did, the 26-year-old stylist told The Charlotte Observer on Saturday.
He sure looked like the guy her dad watches on TV, she said.
“I figured he looked like Mike Rowe, but I did not know,” she said of the host of the Discovery Channel series “Dirty Jobs.”
When he started talking, she knew for certain, Hagaman said. But still, was he? she wondered.
“You might as well tell me,” Hagaman said she told him.
“Yeah, it’s me,” he replied.
And thus began the good-natured bantering Rowe detailed in a post to his 5.9 million Facebook followers – along with before-and-after selfies of his hair.
Hagaman, in a phone interview with the Observer, added the word “sarcastic” to describe their quips.
Rowe was her second client ever at the shop she joined just three weeks ago, after owner and founder Jill Matthews called her, she said. Hagaman also styles hair at Elements in Mooresville.
“I literally just hired her,” Matthews told the Observer.
Hagaman was never nervous cutting Rowe’s hair, she said. Rowe is so unassuming and down-to-earth that he “was like talking to an old friend,” she said.
Rowe was in Charlotte to film his show when he realized he needed a cut, he posted Friday afternoon. His hair is all over the place in the “before” selfie he posted on Facebook.
Quickly realized, ‘she’s a smart aleck’ ‘
As Rowe recounted on Facebook, the conversation began with Hagaman asking, “Would you prefer I use scissors or a trimmer?”
“Doesn’t matter to me,” Rowe said. “What are you more comfortable with?”
“Allyssa shrugged,” Rowe continued. “‘I’m not sure. This is my first day and you’re only my second customer ever. I guess maybe I’d like to try the scissors … if you’re up for it. “
Rowe said he looked in the mirror at her expression and concluded: “She’s a smart aleck.”
“No problem,” Rowe said he replied. “But I should tell you, I’m a hemophiliac. If you cut me, I’m liable to bleed out. “
“‘Oh good,'” Rowe said Hagaman shot back. “I love a challenge.”
She found herself naturally chiming in with the sarcastic flow of the conversation, as if they were old buddies, Hagaman told the Observer.
“He’s a very kindly man,” she said.
She works three jobs
As Hagaman scissored away, Rowe said on Facebook, she inquired about the show and said it was her dad’s favorite. He never misses an episode, she said.
“I complimented her on her father’s taste in TV shows,” Rowe posted. “Then I asked her about her job, and if she liked it.”
“‘Which one?'” Rowe said she replied.
“How many do you have?” he asked.
“Three,” she said. “I have this one, but I also work in a salon up in Mooresville called Elements. And I work as a hostess, sort of, at an Italian restaurant in Huntersville called Antico. ”
“Sort of?” Rowe said.
“Well, technically I’m the hostess, but really, I do whatever needs doing,” she replied. “Mostly, I deal with customers who, you know, need to be dealt with.”
“Interesting,” Rowe responded. “Do you use the scissors on them, too?”
“I am often tempted,” she replied.
Rowe titled his post, “Allyssa Has Three Jobs.”
And she loves all three, Hagaman told the Observer.
Traded nursing for hair
Hagaman attended nursing school at Sentara College in her hometown of Chesapeake, Virginia, but she decided to move to the Charlotte area five years ago to work at Antico, her aunt and uncle’s Italian restaurant, she said.
And to decide what to do with the rest of her life, said Hagaman, who lives in Harrisburg.
She’d worked at a Chesapeake hair salon at age 15, Hagaman said, and remembered the joy she felt.
As a nurse, you tend to a patient for a day or two and never see them again, and it’s often sad because of their conditions, she said. The clients you cut hair for? You can bond with each for the length of your career, she said.
She obtained her cosmetology associate degree from Central Piedmont Community College 2 1/2 years ago and never looked back.
Hagaman’s days are filled working the jobs on varying shifts, but only because she loves all three and staying busy, she said.
In his post, Rowe said he told Hagaman he intends to expand his scholarship program next year to include cosmetology.
Rowe said he also asked “why so many able-bodied people her age aren’t working, when so many businesses are hiring.”
“‘You’d have to ask them,” he said she responded. “Personally, I like to work. So, I do. ”
‘Great cut, fair price’ and beer
When Hagaman finished cutting his hair, Rowe posted, “there was a pile of salt and pepperish hair at my feet.”
“‘How’s that?'” He said Hagaman asked.
“I thought about asking if she could put some back, but she was still armed with the scissors, so I said, ‘It’s exactly what I needed.'”
“Because it was,” Rowe said. “It was a great cut at a fair price ($ 35) in a barbershop that serves cold beer, made even better by a sparkling conversation on a hot day with a 26-year-old woman who works three jobs.”
Social media praises hair stylist
By Sunday afternoon, Rowe’s haircut posts had drawn more than 193,000 likes and 8,000 comments on Facebook, 28,000 likes on Instagram and 2,800 likes on Twitter.
“Anyone who can make you look even more handsome can cut my hair any time,” a woman posted on Facebook. “Go Allyssa! What a beautiful barber too! ”
“Allyssa did a fab job on your hair !!” another woman posted. “You look good! She is so cute! A hardworking gal deserves all the best! ”