I live an adventuresome life. You know, dentists appointments, poopy diapers, 2 hour births, the stuff of great epics.
This weekends adventure might, however, top them all.
I have never taken my hair too seriously. I get a "real cut" once a year or so but most of the time I just trim it myself. I am also easily bored and a bit impulsive. I've been known to make bad, bad, horrible decisions when I have too much time on my hands and I happen to be holding a pair of scissors. Lets just say I have had my fair share of bad haircuts.
So when I had time for a hair cut this weekend and my usual gal didn't have time for a drop in until later that afternoon, I decided I might as well just run into Great Clips. Like I said, I'm not picky about my hair, and I wanted a simple cut, just a trim and a few layers. A cut I could easily manage myself, but letting someone who could see the back of my head do it seemed a nice luxury.
On my way to Great Clips, however, I saw another beauty parlor. There was a sign that said Drop Ins Welcome and I decided to go there instead. I don't know why. Remember impulsive?
As soon as I walked in, I had the feeling this wasn't going to turn out so well. Let me paint a picture for you. It was the kind of place that has ruffles and small crocheted items everywhere, the kind of place that makes you really give credit to the limitless creativity of an elderly woman with an endless supply of yarn, lace, and time. I remember in particular that the light fixtures had crocheted covers. I took note because I wasn't sure that was particularly fire-safe.
In my memory the whole room was pink, but it wasn't really, it was just the kind of room that should have been pink. There might not have been any pink at all. The entire place was covered in a thick layer of dust. As the shelves holding hair products were made of mirrors, this was a bigger deal than maybe it would have otherwise been. The only person in there, the ruffle connoisseur, if you will, was unsurprisingly a woman that had to be at least 85 years old.
I thought about leaving right there, but I could see a back room and despite the decor I was still holding out that the stylist was sitting back there. Perhaps she was listening to an Ipod? Perhaps she wasn't wearing, nor would ever wear, a single ruffle. Maybe this was her beloved grandmother, you cant blame a person for having a grandmother after all.
Anyways, I couldn't think of a polite way to extricate myself from the situation. What am I supposed to do? Just walk back out? "Oh, sorry, wrong place."
No such luck, by the way, about that back room. Grandma Ruffle, despite obvious surprise and perhaps even confusion at seeing me, sat me down in a swivel chair post haste. There was a wood basin for washing hair right in front of me.
I decided I was being unfairly age-ist. I was suddenly very sure this woman could cut my hair just as well as anyone else. After all, she has so much experience behind her. Disappointed in my judgmental assumptions, I explained what I wanted- shoulder length with a few long layers, it gets rather bushy if I just cut it straight across, I told her smiling.
She started to tie a bib around my neck, asking me what high school I went to, and if school had started back up yet. I told her I was 24, I said that I got that a lot...I don't. Then, with nary a glance at the wood basin, or even a spritz from a water bottle, she started cutting. From the angle of her arm and hand I could tell she was cutting in a 45 degree angle across the back of my head.
I was frozen. This is what the deer feels like, when it sees those two bright lights.
Grandma Ruffle kept talking. She informed me that someone earlier that morning had left their cell phone behind. She didn't have a cell phone herself and was very concerned about it. She thought she should call the police and report it missing. I mumbled that I was sure the owner would come back for it, or perhaps call. She stopped everything she was doing, looked up at me in the mirror, and locked eyes for a full 6 seconds of silence. "Well I don't know about that." she said.
Having cut an asymmetrical line around my entire head (and in her defense, I have worn that look a time or two), she picked up a pair of rusted thinning shears. Rusted. Thinning shears.
I'm not even sure which part of that is worse.
If you have thick hair, as I do, you may have been accosted with this weapon of destruction before. They are scissors with gaps in the blade, meant to cut half of your hair out to thin it. They are no solution to the problem. All it does it leave a ton of short hairs to stick up in all directions as soon as it gets the least bit humid.
As Grandma Ruffle grabs random chunks of hair on the left side of my head, hacking and pulling with the thinning shears, I really start to panic. Do I yell for her to stop? Do I grab her arm? Do I ask to leave, right now, in the middle of the haircut? Does she think this is layering? Does she know that her shears are rusty and are therefor pulling more than cutting my hair?
Before I find a solution, she sets the thinning shears down and states that she is finished. She never put them near the right side of my head but I don't mention it. "Run a comb thru it" she says.
I do, and a wad of tangled hair comes out into my hand. I numbly hand it to her. She informs me that her arm hurts, thick hair like mine can be a doozy to work with. I can only whisper "Thank you", and give her fifteen dollars.
And this is why a good hair stylist has a worth beyond measure, when I slunk into the seat in front of my usual gal later that afternoon she took one look at me, and without even cracking a smile said in her gorgeously thick Russian accent "We make straight and then we talk about it, no?"