Firstly if you have visited a salon that has refused to have you back as a client then I would say that you need to visit another salon!
Have a look at the style gallery
and get some images of the looks that you like yourself. Then visit a good salon for a Consultation over the images you have. I would recommend having your hair bladed (razored) as this will help with reducing the bulk and weight of your hair making it more manageable. Once bladed correctly you should NOT have to apply loads of gel to style your hair. ...More >
If you have to, go for more than 1 consultation so that YOU feel confident in the hairdresser giving you the advice. A good hairdresser should be able to work with any hair and get the best result for your type of hair and life style.
It is important to look at your lifestyle and the time you are willing to spend on recreating the look after a visit to a salon as some styles are high maintenance.