Thursday, March 8, 2007

The Bad Hair Week,
Part 1

"How short do you want it in the back?" my young hairdresser asks my mirrored reflection as she holds the scissors above my hair. She has a zigzag part in her spiked hair. The spikes are tipped with a color just this side of neon pink. The silver rod in her pierced eyebrow catches the light as she looks at me. When she speaks, I see the glint from a tongue ring. Yikes!

"Just to the top of my collar," I answer, hoping she knows where a collar would be, since I'm not wearing one.

The scissors fly in a blur as I close my eyes, determined not to watch. I am resigned. It has been more than a decade since I've had a decent haircut. I've developed the philosophy that, whatever happens, I can live with it 'til it grows out.

There is no one to blame but myself. I am too cheap. I only get my hair cut if I have a coupon, and this severely limits my choice of fine salons.

Someday I hope to be able to go to an expensive hairdresser, sit in his chair and have him say (with a French accent), "Who cut zis mess? It is all wrong for you face. Ve need to trim here and grow here." [He sighs heavily.] "I vill see vot can be done, but I have leettle hope." And then he will perform a miracle and I will have the perfect hairstyle for my slightly heart-shaped, round-ish face, making me look 20 pounds thinner and rich. Someday...

The snickering scissors stop. 'Pinky' (as I've come to think of her) runs her fingers through what is left of my locks and says, "You know, we could frost your hair and that would camouflage all this gray and you'd never even know it's there."

Hmmm... I kind of like my gray hair. I've feel I've earned it.

"Well, I don't know..." I say.

"Really!" She exudes confidence. "It will blend right in and will make you look so much younger! Plus, there's a discount with your coupon."

If I hadn't been so intrigued by the 'look so much younger', I might have been more cautious, but she caught me off guard and then clinched it with the discount coupon.

With enthusiasm, Pinky sets out jars and tubs and a box of aluminum foil. She then starts sectioning, applying whitish goo with a paintbrush and wrapping me in foil until I look like a satellite. She chatters away the whole time about her boyfriend and the concerts they've attended.

Nodding politely at what I hope are appropriate intervals, I begin to daydream about everyone's reactions to the new, younger-looking me:

"Have you lost weight?" They'll ask. "Are you exercising?"

"Have you had a facelift?"

"Are you meditating? You seem to be at such peace."

(And, of course, that's all I really want...a little hair peace... I chuckle to myself.)

Many minutes later, I am brought back to reality as we go to the sink to rinse for five minutes.

"Don't look," she warns when we return to her booth. "Let me get it styled first."

I sit in the chair, facing away from the mirror while she combs and blow-dries and mousses and fusses.

"Okay. Here we go," she says and spins the chair with such force that I almost fly out.

For a couple of seconds, all I see are dark spots and a bright light, then my equilibrium adjusts and I gaze hopefully into the mirror. I'm shocked when I realize that the bright light I saw is my hair. Noooo. That can't be right. I shut my eyes and blink a couple of times, trying to focus. I look closely at my reflection. This is not what I had in mind.

The brassy blond streaks covering my head stupefy me. I open my mouth and realize I've lost the ability to speak. I start to giggle nervously, which Pinky takes as a great compliment.

"I knew you'd love it!"

I can only smile an idiot's smile and walk to the front to pay. I hand her a tip and she beams at me (probably reflecting the light from my head...).

"Come back in about a month and we'll touch it up!" and she waves cheerily as I leave.

To be continued tomorrow...