If you haven’t read Part One of this story? Do that first.
Mark has made me this appointment. He has correctly judged that I will not keep this appointment by myself, and so he has driven me here. I am all sad and shallow-breathed and stressed. I trail behind him like a small child.
Into the salon.
I play at being fascinated with something in my hands, but awkwardly? My hands are empty, and so I just look insane. When I look up, I see that Mark has taken a seat and left me to introduce myself.
The woman is all big-voiced and cheerful, “What can I do for you today?”
I whisper my single word on the exhalation of a smallish breath, “Haircut.”
“Can I have a phone number?”
My heart is racing. I search my brain, but in this moment? I cannot remember our phone number. At all. I turn to Mark, “Babe?”
Mark recites our phone number, and the cheerful woman writes it down. Gives me a curious look, “And who is getting a haircut today?”
Another small breath, “Me.” And then I realize she wants my name, and so I add, “Kris.”
A few minutes of waiting then, in which I sit with Mark and try to regulate my breathing.
Inhale, exhale, inhale . . . exhale.
OK, I can do this. I take a huge breath as I sit in the chair. I pull my hair out of its ponytail, and I say in an overly loud voice . . .
“I have not gotten my haircut in a long time. I hate getting my hair cut. Hate it. It has been a long time, and I just want it all gone. Well, not all gone. But shorter. As quickly as you can cut it and I am not good at small talk, so just cut it and let’s get this done.”
And I gesture wildly at my head to demonstrate the concept of shorter.
I catch sight of the woman’s face in the mirror.
It is all alarmed.
She comes close to me and puts her face next to mine. If I wanted to, I could turn and kiss her, but that would be inappropriate. The thought does cross my mind, however.
We stare together into the mirror, cheek to cheek. Her hair is sleek and black against my skin. I would like to touch it.
As I am contemplating the kiss and the caress of hair that I know should not happen, she says, “Telling me you want your hair shorter is not helpful. Did you bring a picture?”
I continue to chop at my head with karate motions of beauty . . . “Can’t you just make it shorter?”
“No, I cannot. Let me get you some books to flip through.”
She brings me two books.
The first is entitled, “Over-40 Hair,” which is way fucking annoying. Because even though I am over 40? How are there haircuts specific to this age group? I am not looking in that book. Fuck that.
So I flip through the other book and quickly give up in despair, “All of these women have done stuff to their hair. It’s all big and puffed and styled. I hate that stuff. I just want my hair to lie down and behave.”
“So far, then . . . we know you want short and lying down and behaving?”
Is this woman being all sexual with me? I glance over at her, but she seems oblivious.
The cover of the “Over-40 Hair” book shows a woman with short hair. It’s actually not that bad a haircut.
Hmmmm . . . .
I hold that book up, “How about like this, but maybe a little shorter and not quite so lesbianish?”
“I could do you like that.”
OK, seriously? How is that not sexual?
She stands behind me and runs her fingers through my hair. Several times. And then she squeezes my shoulders, leans in and whispers into my ear, “I know just what we’ll do.”
Did I mention the shoulder squeezing?
Oh my god.
I am all freaked out, and I say in a frantic rush, “I sort of forgot to mention that I have personal space issues. Huge personal space issues.”
I swoop my robe-covered arms about me in an enormous semi-circle of panic, “I would like for you to cut my hair from outside of this circle, but since I know you can’t do that? Please don’t touch me any more than you need to.”
She is alarmed again.
And so I say, “Sorry,” and I shut my eyes and breathe deeply.
She is all bossy now as I try to control my panic attack, “You want Jamie Lee Curtis, that’s what you want.”
Inhale . . . exhale . . . inhale . . . exhale.
Oh, fuck it. The talking part is done. There are worse things in the world than walking around with Jamie Lee Curtis’ haircut. Fuck it.
And so I close my eyes and let the haircut happen. She moves quickly. I hear the snip of the scissors, and I feel the weight of my hair as it falls onto my lap and slips away. I open my eyes a few times, but as the eyes I see in the mirror are all wild with panic?
I shut them again.
And then she is done. She asks me if I want any mousse in my hair, and I swipe at her with impatient hands, “No, none of that. No. Not even.”
I leap from the chair, sending bits of my cut hair across the salon floor.
And then Mark has to pay, because I have forgotten to bring my purse.
And so I stand behind Mark like a small child as he pays and tips her heavily.
I examine myself in the mirror as he chats with her.
It’s not that bad. I do like my hair shorter.
Jamie Lee Curtis . . . isn’t she the one who does those ads for yogurt? The crazy yogurt that is supposed to regulate your bowel movements? Hee hee!
As we walk out to the car, Mark says, “It’s shorter than I thought you would get it cut. I like it. Did I hear her say she was going to cut it like Jamie Lee Curtis’ hair?”
I am more myself as we walk through the parking lot, “Yes, I like it. The problem, though? Is that every time I look in the mirror? I am going to need to use the bathroom. I am all suggestible that way.”
It takes him a minute, but then he is giggling hysterically.
And I am giggling too.
My hair is all cut.
Look at me, doing stuff like a normal person!
I am all regular.
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