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Urban Hair

I’m one of those people that doesn’t really care who cuts my hair, as long as it can be done when I want it done, which is usually at a moment shortly after I look in the mirror and scream, “I must get a haircut NOWWWWWW!!” I run out the door, drive madly with my bad-hair-day hat pulled down over my eyes so no one can witness my hysteria OR my Mickey Rivers hairstyle (a reference back to my drum & bugle corps days when the little kids would tell me the hair sticking out the sides of my hat made me look like MR–am I dating myself or what?).

Such was the situation when I pulled into Fantastic Sam’s the other day hoping to get a cut and have an experience similar to the one last time I was there.  That first time, the shop had just opened in a new strip mall nearby and though the stylists didn’t speak much English, they did a good job on my hair. However, when I arrived the other day to a nearly empty salon, I thought, “Oh good, no line”. I should have known there was a reason for that…

A follically-impaired friend of mine once described my hair in comparison to his as “urban hair”. His, logically then, was “rural hair”.  Actually, by then it was really more like “clear cut hair” since he had finally taken the plunge and started removing the final few sprigs of pathetic growth so as to alleviate his chemo-boy look. Each morning in the shower he would merely take a razor and zip it over his head and presto! Mr. Clean-o! I do not have this option. Well, technically I do but I’ve been told that for as long as I continue to move among polite society (and I describe that very loosely), my head should probably remain in its current hirsute state. 

So there I was, waiting with my magazine while my “stylist” had a cigarette outside. When he came back in he said, as he exhaled the final lungful of smoke into my face, “So, Elizabeth, what can I do for you today?” Right off, I had to tell him that my name is not actually Elizabeth, and that he could just give me a trim. Not long after he started, a fellow stylist strode in and started going on a tirade about a customer who was coming back in because he hadn’t gotten her highlight close enough to her scalp. The two haircutter dudes proceeded to exclaim back and forth about their miserable customers whom they constantly had to ask, “Do you have a hairstyling license? No? Then shut up!” while I sat there and tried to ignore them without doing so obviously. And then ANOTHER one came in and started telling HER tales of horrible customers as well as regaling her compadres about the wild party at one of the other stylists houses and that she couldn’t remember anything that happened there, except that she had somehow lost her underwear.

Do you ever feel like you’re invisible? I did right then, wondering how they thought it was appropriate to be carrying on like this in a place of business. I’m not that much of a prude and I do enjoy a good catty-fest from time to time, but I was amazed. I told myself not to complain–they were the ones with the scissors and they didn’t seem afraid to use them in ways other than they were intended! Eighteen dollars later (including way too big ‘a tip), I was outta there contemplating how I would go about cutting my own hair next time with the clippers I got at Sam’s Club. I no longer have tolerance for the salon experience, and I know that the worst that can happen will be a temporary experiment with rural hair.   

I wonder if I need a license to cut my own hair…. 

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