Today I woke up with that undeniable urge to get half my hair whacked off. You women out there know what I'm talking about: it's the I'll find whoever has some scissors and this god-awful hair will come off today. You will drive to the nearest hair cut facility and you will find someone who can cut it off so that the dreaded blob of hair on your head will not look like you just dunk your head in a toilet everyday. You're absolutely completely sick of it and should there be some apocalyptic reason why all the hair cut facilities are closed today, you'll take the darn kitchen scissors to it if you have to. It's coming off.
So there I was, in Great Clips of all places, with that desperate look in my eye. I know those women know that look. That, I don't give a damn what you do, just cut it off, look. This lady calls my name after only a few minutes of waiting and takes me back to her chair. On the way I'm taking a mental note-to-self that her hair looks pretty awful. It's not even close to being styled. My stylist is African American, and I've seen some really awesome locks on my African American friends at work so I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that she can do better than simply straightening her not-even-shoulder-length hair that's sticking out at approximately a 45 degree angle from her head. Another mental note occurs to me: this is the site of the terrible, awful, no-good very bad haircut that I got just before moving to Maryland in Fall of 2008 and quite frankly, I'm never going to forget that. I've had about 5 really bad haircuts since I was born and that was the 5th one.
So I sit down in her chair and she's literally muttering something under her breath about not talking at work anymore and how she's got a new attitude which immediately leads me to believe that she got in trouble recently for something she said. Great start. She finally says hello to me and asks the inevitable question that always makes me cringe. "What we gonna do with it today?"
The last haircut I got from my dear friend and the one that can no doubt cut my hair better than anyone else in this world (but she's off on Sundays and I was having an emergency), but my last haircut must have been the result of a communication error on my part. Normally I just let her have at it and make my head of hair her personally sculpted work of art for the day. Last time she gave me what my work friends called a shag - but I (being a child of the 80's) felt it was a bit too close to an actual mullet so it bothered me this entire last month. Plus, I was getting those side flaps of hair back over my ears that made my head look like it could become a propeller at any moment and take flight. In my imagination I could hear small children saying from down below as I was lifting off, "look Mommy - that lady is flying with her hair!"
Alas, I digress. I tell the lady to leave the top of my hair alone, cut it at the ear, and cut off the back leaving just enough over the collar for it to flip out a little. She immediately begins to argue with me. What? she says. Mmm Mmm, I don't think that will be good. Now she insults my judgement, or perhaps I'm being over-sensitive, but regardless she's telling me that what I've suggested and thought about for a year and a half (this was the haircut I was trying to get when I got the really bad haircut) isn't going to look good. Now, if you know me, you know that I could mostly care less about what I look like. I'm not that vein. I don't wear make-up at all, don't pluck my eyebrows, never change my earrings, and if I spend more than 5 minutes on my hair - I'm having an unusually great day. I tell her that is what I want and she proceeds to reply that she's going to cut it like she thinks it will look best. She does, pushing down on my head and neck like I'm the bride of Gumby (hold your head down!), leaving the top alone as I've asked, getting rid of the propeller blades over my ear, but leaving the length on the back. She paused and asked, "now doesn't that look good?" She sees my reaction and incredulously asks, "you really want this cut shorter back here?" "Yes I do," I tell her and she shakes her head and says, "well it's your hair! It won't look very attractive, but I'll cut it like you want it."
When I get up from the chair I tell her that it's taken me a year and a half to get that haircut and only because of that fact do I tell her thank you and give her a paltry $2 tip. So if any of you see me in the next few days and my hair looks really that bad, just smile and nod and know that at least I fought for what I wanted and won. I believe there's value in that.