11 May 2005

5 inches of satisfaction in under 7 minutes

I could've made an appointment, but I wanted the satisfaction of arriving without concern for the time; if I then had to wait, so be it. There was a time long ago (when I didn't pay for my haircuts) when I would've scoffed at a discount hair salon, but now I rely on them to prevent myself from trying to cut my own hair. For the first time in many years, I live in an area with no SuperCuts or CostCutters, so I drove to the final walk-in haven, the mall.

Except for a blonde woman who appeared incredibly bored as she leaned on the counter, the salon was empty; I took it as a good sign and hoped she wasn't just a receptionist. She wasn't, so we walked back to her chair.

For the first time since my early teen years, or possibly before, I skipped the shampoo despite knowing how much better it is for your cut to skip the shampoo at home and have them do it so they can cut your hair wet. I shed a great deal, and the last time I got my hair cut, the woman washing my hair commented that there was enough hair in the sink to make a toupee; I was so embarrassed (and still am apparently) I refused to face that scenario again even though I'm now thousands of miles from that hairdresser.

"So what do you want done?"

"Just cut it off to here." I gestured along my chin.

She spritzed my hair damp and continued, "Do you do this every summer?"

"Pretty much." In reality, it was only the second year I'd gone from long to short (usually it's just short), but I understood she was making sure I wouldn't be shocked with 5 inches less hair. We talked for a couple of minutes about people who do freak out which always seemed excessive to me: it's hair, it'll grow out.

Another hairdresser walked in and answered the phone. My hairdresser ignored it until the second excitedly proclaimed, "It's for you, and it's a man." She excused herself to take the call, and I gave her a worldly nod.

She soon returned and snipped a few last strands. From a drawer, she pulled out an electric razor to "clean up" my neck. When my brother and I were both in our teens, he confided to me, "Guys don't like girls with hairy necks." That's currently the pinnacle of brotherly advice I've received in my lifetime.

The buzzing stopped and she set the razor down. "So what now?"

It took me a second to realize she was asking what kind of styling I wanted. "Nothing."

"Do you want me to blow it dry?"

"No, thanks."

"Do you want any product?"




"Ok." She pulled the cape off my neck, shaking my locks to the floor. "That's the easiest cut I've had in a long time."

As I walked out, I realized it was the easiest cut I've had in ages as well. The whole thing took less than 7 minutes including her man diversion. She never asked me what I do for a living, if I'm a student, or how long I've lived here. She didn't gasp upon discovering a small streak of grey hair I've had since I was sixteen or point out the new single silver strands I've started to notice here and there. Her disinterest produced my great satisfaction.

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