essays

The HAIR Affair

Posted on March 26, 2016 at 4:40 PM

It was a spur of the moment decision. I had a rare uncommitted 30 minutes on the mainland and I decided to pop into a salon that specializes in quick cuts and have my hair styled. Cut, more to the point.  The stylist assigned to me was a woman, perhaps in her late 40's, and her first sentence led me to believe her first language was likely not English.  That should have been a "humor alert" to me, but such things often go past me.  I spent several minutes answering her question as to what I hoped for from my hair.  It involved hand gestures, using my hands to reflect special angles and the word, "wedge" repeatedly.  She listened, kindly and attentively and smiled, knowingly at what I thought was a humourous, throw-away line,"I'll tell you," I assessed, pointing at the salon poster featured on the wall near us, "some days, I think THAT is the way to go."  Haha. And then I leaned into the comfortable chair and closed my eyes.  Oops. 

At first the sound of the electric clippers made sense in the context of the wedge of hair I'd hoped to have shaped around the back of my head. And when I felt those same clippers popping around the top of my right ear I decided to open my eyes. And quickly I saw I was too late with my attentions.  I sighed. Gave into the the reality and relaxed, willing to just see what I'd see when all the appliances were turned off.

What I saw was a fairly accurate facsimile of the hair on the gentleman in the poster that I'd gestured to, earlier.  "So cute!"  She exclaimed. "So cute?" she asked.  I repeated, like a mantra I wanted to believe..."so cute."  I came home and wrote of my misadventure on my social media.  In the midst of rancor and vitriolic jabs of the political season, I thought some hair humor might go well for some of my readers.  I was stunned. Over the hours that followed almost a hundred folks weighed in.  Not on racism. Not on diversity. Not on politics. Not on water quality. But, my hair. The Hair Affair generated a large resonance.  Because almost EVERYONE has had a bad hair cut some time in their life.  This Hair Affair taught me a lot, as an author, about Story, and about Common Experience. And Jim, wife of a long time client, Peggy, assured me that I might even like it after a few days.  Ha.  Such sweetness in the wish and I was skeptical.  After all, I have shaved my head twice in my life for two very important reasons and in neither event did I choose to continue shaving my head for the sake of convenience. THIS hair cut was as close as I'd come to shaving my head.

The following morning I looked in the mirror with fresh perspective. I could see the whole of my face. I could see the spots where my hair is committed to the grace and gray of my decades on the planet.  I could see my eyes, blink-blink, unencumbered by locks of hair any where near them. AND I LOVED IT.  I thought, with irony, that what seemed like a disaster yesterday seemed like the best. Idea. Ever the next morning. 

Perspective. Only time will tell if this is the cut of preference for the coming decade (and, oh, I so dearly anticipate having a coming decade or two) but I know for sure it's my cut of preference right now. And likely, again, in a few years, when it's long enough to be cut again (yes, I'm kidding).  Just for reference, I've borrowed a man-cut from inspirebeautyUK.com to show you essentially the poster I jokingly pointed out. WHAT A GOOD JOB she did!   So cute. 


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1 Comment

Reply Jennifer Boykin
5:12 PM on March 26, 2016 
I loved the whole story. And was almost brave enough to do it myself the other day. Working on it.