Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Hair Incident of '06

Edited to add -- No significant running content -- today is scheduled for 4.5, but I'm taking the day off. Just because. Sorry -- you can come back tomorrow if you're looking for actual running notes!

Inspired by a similar encounter recalled by Jon, I give you the Hair Incident.

Apparently, in my adult lifetime, I have been prone to various and sundry outbursts of emotion, often directed at various and sundry clerks at various and sundry stores, shops and other retail establishments. My husband maintains it has something to do with my insistence on getting my way.... whatever. Most places which incur this wrath end up on my "black list" of places never again to have my presence grace their storefronts. It's happened at the Limited, at Minyard's Food Store, at particular specific Wal-Marts, and most recently, at Pro-Cuts.

See, I usually have short hair. Very short hair. No, shorter than that. I'm talking what my husband not-so-endearingly refers to as "lesbian mullet hair," except without the spikes. I'm talking low-maintenance, wash-n-wear, SHORT hair. The better to get ready quickly with hair. The better to plop a visor on during a run hair. The less to mess with hair. And I love it, except when I see a photo of myself, during which time I usually am horrified that people I know let me walk around like that. So, when that happens, I then try to "grow it out."

The problem is that to successfully "grow out" a short butch haircut, you have to have a good haircut to start with. You have to have some good shape to it, and have it trimmed and coaxed every now and again (ie, every 3-4 weeks! eep!) or it looks even more like hell than when it's short. And the whole point of LMH is the low-maintenance aspect, in that I need to go longer than 3-4 weeks between cuts. I don't have a regular stylist, and haven't in a long while. The last regular stylist I had was when I was in graduate school, and he got me through my long-hair-for-my-wedding phase. And I loved him, but then he moved somewhere more fitting for his lifestyle, and for the intervening 12 years, I've suffered with random hack artists in strip mall chain places, hoping and praying that someone would get it and give me an easy, fun, easy and decent hairstyle. You notice that Princess Amidala had no icky phase in her hair after she shaved it bald -- that's because she probably never went to SuperCuts.

But see, if for some reason, you go to a strip-mall shop around the corner, next to the Pizza Hut/Wingstop? To a "stylist" that looks like she's just cutting hair to keep her from being bored until the carnival comes back through town and her real gig opens up again? To somewhere that a coupon from the "Green Pages" gives you a 50% discount? Then I can nearly guarantee you that you're not going to have a "decent hairstyle," but rather a lopsided mess that looks nearly passable for the 2.5 minutes it takes you to pay and get the hell out of the shop. But then later? Looks like hell. yep, that's where we were a few weeks before Christmas, when it was plainly clear that I could no longer put off the maintenance haircut any longer, and certainly not if we wanted to look decent for our traditional Christmas stair photo.

So I went during my lunch hour to a *different* strip mall, to one near my office instead of near my house. And I found a Pro-Cuts, where surprisingly (NOT!), there was no waiting line. And I asked the lady for a haircut. She proceeded to wet my hair down with a spray bottle (first problem) while she asked me what I wanted. I said I needed my hair cut, so that it would grow out properly. You could see her head explode as she tried to process this request:

"but... if I cut it, it won't be long."
Yep, I KNOW that, but still. "My hair, it needs shape, it needs to be cut so that it can grow out properly."
"But you can't have it long if i cut it..."
"No, see, here, in the back? Where it's longer in the back than on the sides? It looks like a mullet. I don't want a mullet anymore."
"But it's not longer in the back... it's just the way you're pulling the sides behind your ear. It's the way you're styling it."
"OK... when I'm done styling it, I don't want it to look like a mullet.."
"I don't understand..." she said, with scissors poised inches from my head.

Um. No. Thank. You. I stood up, tore the cape off, tore off the little tissue neck thingy, and grabbed my wallet. I said, "You have no idea what I need. I know that if you cut my hair, you will make me very unhappy. It's just better if I go."
"But, you don't make any sense -- you want it to be cut, but you want it long!"
"Nope, sorry, I'm outta here." And I turned to go... and halfway out, realized that I'd left my coat on the rack inside the store. Damn. I had to go back in and sheepishly retrieve it, hair sopping down the back of my neck. Ugh.

Still steaming, I drove aimlessly through the streets of Dallas, looking for another place to cut my hair. I couldn't go back to the office with dripping hair, and dammit, I set out to get a haircut, I was going to get a haircut! So I found another place that had "Walk Ins Welcome" in neon in the window and went in. it wasn't a chain, and in fact I'd never heard of it. But there were lots of "cool" younger stylists in there, all playing with each other's hair. Lots of loud music playing. Yeah, that's what I'm talking about. This (very, very) young man, Asian, with lots of, ahem, Flair to him, comes up to me, takes one look at my dripping head, and says, "I'm thinking you want a haircut? Or you just got out of the shower?? Both?" Love him already!

I ask him, "If I say to you the following sentence, what does that mean to you? 'I need a haircut, but I want to grow it out...'?" Without missing a beat, he says, "You want to change it, and you need some shape, some style, a good cut to transition you to some length." BINGO! Baby, I'm yours!

He had just had a cancellation, so he takes me in back and proceeds to massage all the stress out of my head while he shampoos my hair with the most glorious banana/pineapple/tropical concoction ever. And then he gave me an amazing cut and dried it with a big round brush, and asked permission to play with it a little and experiment some. He asked what was up with all the grey in there -- he BSd me and said I was way too young to have grey hair, then acted shocked when I said I was 37. It was nearly worth what I paid him. Nah, it was totally worth what I paid him. See, I paid more for that shampoo, cut and style than I'd paid for my last five haircuts combined. And it showed -- I walked out of there with a GREAT cut. In the four weeks since I went in, I've not had an exasperated morning dealing with the hair, trying to make it look decent. I've not had one "bad hair day," where I really am hoping for an excuse to wear a visor to work. I've not cried in frustration and re-wet the hair, trying for a do-over because I had to scurry to get the boys up and by the time I got back to the bathroom, my hair had dried itself into a tousled rat's nest. And today, four weeks +/- since, I got two separate compliments on my hair. Gotsa love it!

Oh, and the traditional Christmas stair photo? Didn't turn out too bad, if I say so meself!


From Here to There said...

You look fab! Great pic of the two of you!

Vickie said...

Funny story! Never a dull moment.