Pardon me if I seem preoccupied with hair. I blame the fact that on Sunday, I received the worst haircut in the history of womankind. I don't mean to aggrandize my misfortune. I would much rather understate it. If only that were possible. How I long for my reliable lady-mullet, my nondescript hairstyle that can be forked at 8:10 a.m. for lack of a comb, and look stunningly generic for the bell at 8:15.
Now my hair looks akin to the fur of dead, stuffed Sorrow in The Hotel New Hampshire. Nothing I try imparts a semblance of normalcy. It's even worse than the time I trimmed my bangs, and the students asked me if I cut my hair. And further inquired, "Did you use a mirror? Did you turn on the light?" At least my auto-trim was even. The Butcher of Seville managed to make my bangs all zig-zaggy on one side. I shall hereafter refer to her as Zigaro.
Of course I should have known better than to trust my head to Great Clips. I used to have a regular hairstylist on Main Street, right next to Subway, and across from the Senior Nutrition Center. She moved up the street a block after a disagreement with her landlord, into an old jewelry store next to a comic shop. She must have grown tired of leaning on people for a living, because now she runs her own successful catering business, and I must resort to Not-So-Great Clips.
The chopper I prefer looks and acts like Janice Dickinson. But she was not available. Instead, there was a poodle-haired short gal, and Zigaro. They were in the midst of a Public Servant Standoff. I recognized their tactics right away, having spent five years working at the unemployment office. One person thinks she's doing more than her share of the work, so she slows down. The other is naturally slow, but gets slower when the discrepancy is lessened by her competition.
Poodle told us that the wait would be forty-five minutes. I snorted. "Well. I'm meeting someone in an hour, and don't have anywhere to go, so I'll wait." Poodle did not look happy. I thought she was bluffing. There were three people ahead of us. All middle-aged men. How long could it take to cut a man's hair? Thirteen minutes, precisely. But Zigaro got rid of a customer, so they each called one back at the same time. That left only one ahead of us.
Poodle called him after her first thirteen-minute buzz job. Zigaro lingered over her customer. She was behind those crazy mirrors, but I heard her ask him if he wanted the back cut straight across. He agreed. Little did I know the other choice was zig-zag. Wouldn't you know it, Zigaro came for a new victim after twenty-six minutes. My son, The Pony, a little chicken, made me go first.
Zigaro asked for my input. "An inch-and-a-half off the back, and make the bangs even with the eyebrows." Simple enough. Zigaro sprayed me down and started snipping. Then stopped. To go to the edge of her mirror and take down her two receipts and hide them in a drawer. She then told me to put my head down, and started on the back.
"So you don't have any layers?"
"Um. Yes. I DO."
"Oh. I didn't see them. There they are. Do you always part it on this side?"
Zigaro snipped slowly. She tried making conversation. When she found out I was a science teacher, she asked me why lightning wasn't straight. I suppose she expected it to shine like a flashlight. Zigaro was not impressed with my explanation of static electrical charges and path of least resistance. She acted like she didn't believe me. "Huh. Some science teacher." Normally, I would take offense. But I don't argue with a person who is standing behind me with scissors, whose reflection looks like Brittany on Glee. I tried to tell myself that she meant it like Charlotte the spider meant some pig. But that would have meant she was calling me a pig, so I just let it rankle me. I wanted to say, "I don't come to your work and knock the..." but that was Kathy Griffin in Times Square with Anderson Cooper on New Year's Eve, and I can't steal Kathy's material.
After pretending to layer my hair, and looking like she trimmed the bangs evenly, Zigaro swooped a big hunk of hair over my part, just because, and told me that she only took an inch off the back, and could take off more if it wasn't enough. I had already been in the chair thirty minutes, and missed two phone calls while this brazen butcher hacked my tresses. I knew when to say when. Zigaro did not even give me the courtesy of a blow-dry. I was not too concerned. At least I made it out with my eyebrows intact.
Now I'm going to have to find someone to repair that Great Clip. The back won't comb under. It's long and shaggy. There are no layers. My bangs rise up over one eyebrow and then droop like a fancy kind of curtain at the side of my head. How I yearn for a good old-fashioned Moe of Three Stooges fame head-of-hair.
This cut is so bad that my students have not commented once. It's the pity silence. Ignoring the elephant (or pig) in the room.