I’m at a hair salon.
I hate hair salons.
I always feel so intimidated!
That’s probably why I’ve had long hair, sometimes waist length, since I was forty.
The problem is that the older I get, the shorter my arms become. That means the back of my hair is as gnarly as a birds’ nest.
That leaves me with two options: cut it off, or pick up more twigs.
Since I can’t reach the damn twigs, the choice is shear.
Now, since I no longer have a regular hairdresser nearby, I’m taking a chance with a new place. I choose one with a sign on the door that says, “walk-ins welcome.”
“May I get a haircut this afternoon?” I ask.
The woman looks around the salon. There are two hairdressers serving three very old women, and one looks just about finished.
“I don’t know,” she says. “You”ll have to take your chances.”
“Don’t let her intimidate you,” I say to myself.
I take a chair and say “I”ll wait.”
I only wait for about ten minutes before Miss Congeniality points to me and says, “You. Sit here.”
“You just want it cut?”
“Yes.” I pull out my phone, and show her an adorable picture of a round-faced young girl with a pixie cut.
I don’t know if she is questioning my femininity or my sanity, but I immediately pledge to start wearing makeup on a regular basis.
“Take off your glasses.”
The last thing I see clearly is her smirk, as she starts dragging a comb through my hair.
“I know! I can’t reach it anymore.”
She lunges for the scissors.
Instead of starting to cut from the back, she snips off all the hair on the right side of my head, making wide circles around my ears.
Note to myself: don’t get a hair cut two days after watching Victor/Victoria.
She cuts all the hair off the left side of my head.
She now moves to the back. “You have a weird cowlick here. I’m going to have to use the razor.”
Note to myself: makeup may not be enough. Start wearing low cut blouses.
She then moves to the top of my head, and starts snipping. Painfully, I conclude my hair is probably thinner than my husband’s.
I wonder if I shouldn’t follow my son-in-law’s example and just shave my head.
“That’s it,” she says, and hands me back my glasses.
I look in the mirror.
It doesn’t look bad.
It’s hella short, of course, but there’s a nice tuft at the top of my head that I can possibly train to look a little punk.
It also has lost all traces of my various experiments with artificial color.
Note to myself: ” aubergine” means “eggplant,” and there’s a good reason God put that color on vegetables instead of human heads.
Finally, it’s clear that my hair will not be able to look unkempt for weeks, and since I am very, very lazy, this is a boon.
I follow the hairdresser to the front desk.
“You’re not sixty-five, are you?”
“No,” I say, flattered. A lot of people just assume I am.
“That means you don’t get a discount. That’ll be twenty five dollars.”
I give her the money, plus a tip.
She hands me a card.
“That’s me. Mona. I’ll see you in five weeks.”
I’m no longer intimidated, Mona. I believe I will.