The world of hair – the designing men and women who spend their working lives cutting, coloring, styling and pampering other people's hair – is a bizarre combination of drama, dreams, pruning and preening, while expectant clients watch via a salon mirror, hoping for the best.
Many of Marco Island's hair apparent professionals are a savvy lot, whose market is a small island but who have to keep as au courant as anyone else in HairLand USA.
It was in that spirit that hair care star Maria Elena and her talented colleague Angie recently swooped into the International Beauty Show in New York City.
After several days of mixing the serious business of beauty with some wide-eyed tourist fun in Manhattan, they returned home with their pretty heads full of new ideas about what trendy touches they can use on their island clients without including such things as Faux Mo haircuts or "eno" and "scene girl" fads.
You need to go ask Maria Elena and Angie what all that's about.
We did, however, grasp some important observations from the two women about what hair-raising sights and sounds they found at the beauty show.
"The hair show was a circus of extremes," Maria Elena says. "They're doing chignons, softer, more romantic innocent-looking hairstyles.
"But at the opposite extreme they're showing spiky hair, even carvings on the side of the head."
Carvings? Like what?
"Sort of swirls and designs. There were a few Elvis carvings last year and some Obama ones this year."
Any carvings your Marco clients might want?
"No, no, no, no," Maria Elena says with a laugh. "I don't think that would go over well here."
So what works here that's still up to date?
"We feel good about what we offer our clients here, the casual easy styles they can use on Marco. But we try to take the 'age' out of it and give people color and style that may make them look younger and feel younger.
"We came away from the hair show feeling very good about our own skills and expertise in styling. We are just in the right pace with what we are doing on Marco.
"I have cut back prices to what they might have been 20 years ago. People are regrouping to make it affordable for families, working people and the retirees.
"We're trying to bring back the people and show them they don't have to be afraid of high prices, that you don't have to go to the salon every month. I can do a few highlights, not the whole head, so it lasts more than a month. And for men we can cut a bit shorter so it lasts longer, helping them to stretch their dollars."
Angie tells us what engaged her interest, at the beauty show and on the streets of Manhattan:
"At the hair show I took a seminar on barbering for more men's cuts. I do have male clients at Maria Elena's Salon so barbering is a good class for me.
"Also Maria Elena was at a booth where they were doing straightener, but the supposedly top stylist back in her day was doing a terrible job on the model.
"So Maria Elena hopped up there onstage and said 'Let me do this.' As she took over the hair drying, the stylist just stood back and watched along with a crowd that had gathered."
The women enjoyed some things you just don't see on marco. Angie had not been to New York City before. It was a lot to take in.
"I loved the energy of the city. It was amazing. Big change from here! I can't wait to go back. It was such a different world."
One of the "different" sights seen by most visitors to Times Square, is the guitar-playing cowboy wearing only underpants. Angie and he had one thing in common.
"We told him we were there for the hair show and he said, 'I'm a hair stylist too. I do this (his nearly naked street performance) to get away from the salon.' "
We wonder, would that sort of stress relief system work for any hardworking hairdressers on Marco?Chris Curle is a former news anchor for CNN and for ABC-TV stations in Washington, D.C., Atlanta and Houston. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Don is a former ABC News correspondent and bureau chief and a former news anchor for CNN and ABC-TV, in Atlanta. His Farmer File column appears Fridays in the Naples Daily News. E-mail: email@example.com.