The 53-year-old Flushing woman goes to borough senior centers cutting the locks of Queens' older residents and also does the service for prior customers who are now homebound."They all say they feel better after they get a haircut," Sullivan said.On Tuesday, the brown-haired Sullivan was at SNAP Senior Center in Queens Village, where she snips hair for $6, $1 of which goes back to the center. Her services are solely basic wash and wear cuts Ð no perms or dye jobs.Sullivan, who previously worked at the now out-of-business Lemon Tree in Bellerose three years ago, began styling seniors' hair at SNAP after her neighbor was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and could not leave the house to get a haircut. The woman asked Sullivan if she would be interested in going to the centers."You get a satisfaction when you've done a needed service," Sullivan said. "It helps (the homebound) stay independent."Besides SNAP, Sullivan cuts hair at centers in Bayside, Hillside Manor and Rosedale. As a semi-retired woman, Sullivan said coming to the senior centers offers her a flexible schedule. "They're wonderful," she said of the seniors. "I relate to them almost as my family members. We're good therapy for each other. They all know my woes."On Tuesday, some of the topics of conversation between Sullivan and her customers revolved around family and medical conditions Ð both real and imagined."All I want is a little shaping because I'm losing my hair," said one woman who sat in Sullivan's beige barber chair. "I think I'm getting cancer." Hair loss is caused by chemotherapy treatment, not cancer itself.Before another woman told Sullivan her style of choice, an older man in the room who apparently keeps up with pop culture gave his suggestion of what not to get."Don't do what Britney Spears did," he said, referring to the pop star attacking her long blonde locks with a buzzer. About half of the women who book an appointment with Sullivan have their hair dyed when they see her, but said she appreciates the gray-haired seniors who either let the aging process take its course or stop because the effects styling products have on their locks."A lot of their hair, it's beautiful," she said. "Once you stop coloring it."Sullivan said most of her customers keep to a specific style although she suggests a different cut."We're all creatures of habit. There are some who go daring."Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at news@times
©2007 Community News Group
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