Saturday, April 24, 2010

Needle in a Hairstack

My first occupational goal wasn't actually paleontology. At least two aspirations of similar fervor preceded my dinosaurs obsession. They were a hair dresser and a country singer, respectively. I don't remember when or why my country singer dream dissipated- I certainly viewed myself as a young Dolly Parton for at least my first seven years. But I renounced hair dressing for good one Saturday morning in front of the television. My eyes glued to Tom and Jerry. My mouth chattering away about my future salon. My hands leafing through the brides' and d├ębutantes' pictures in the Greenville News. My parents informed me that sometimes hair dressers have to WORK on Saturday mornings and can't watch cartoons. Appalled, I abandoned that plan and never looked back.

If only I could have made such a clean break. I nearly swore off haircuts myself, maintaining a 12-inch mane and primly insisting "just a trim" each time I found myself at Cut Ups (or the Hair Cuttery, or Cost Cutters) until I was 18. Not only did I swear off haircuts, I swore off style, too (albeit unintentionally and unwittingly). As soon as pink foam-roller curls, huge barrettes, and French braids went out of fashion (which is universally fourth grade), I was done. Now I have short-ish hair, because that way it's less noticeable when I don't dry it or brush it. It's hard for me to even articulate the kind of haircut I want when I do get one, so I always take a magazine clipping of a supermodel and hand it to Kiki*, my stylist. Then we have the same conversation we've had twice a year for the past five years:

KIKI- This would look good on you. But you can't just wake up and have it look like that. You have to use product you know, for the bangs, or they will fall in your eyes.

ME- Yeah, I can do that!

When actually I'm thinking, "I'll just wear my glasses and like a shield, they will keep my bangs from falling in my eyes."

KIKI- Ok, look at this picture of my son!

All of this is glaring evidence I am not meant to be trusted with styling my own hair, much less anybody else's, much less with actual scissors. Which is why it baffles me that I frequently find myself in situations with someone insisting I cut his or her hair.

Soon after I learned to use scissors on paper and stuffed animals, my mom would "let" me trim her hair each time she got angry at it (hence the numerous photos from my childhood in which my mom sports an uneven bob with varying degrees of volume and layers on top of her head). This became more and more of a habit. One Sunday morning as we should have been walking out the door for church (in order to arrive reasonably late instead of cause-a-scene late), she beckoned me to the bathroom. All dressed and ready, brandishing the tiny sewing scissors at me. "I need a trim! We can't leave until you trim my hair! Hurry up, it's just a trim!"

Similarly, Shawn has asked me twice to cut his hair. The first time it was on the assumption that I was skilled at it because his ex-girlfriend was. Unlike my mother, Shawn could break up with me if he didn't like the results. Instead, he just buzzed his hair after I'd finished with it. This instance apparantly faded from his memory, and a year and a half later Shawn asked me again to help cut his hair. At least this time it was only to "help." Armed with the fine-motor coordination and attention span of a golden retriever, I did some haphazard snipping punctuated by checking my email and roasting a chicken. And Shawn looked fabulous afterwards!**

One day I will work up the skills to maintain to Good Hair, or work up the courage to shave it all off. Until then, I'm thinking I'll pick up a Jazzy Jewelry kit and make myself some nice big shiny barettes.

*Kiki is Greek and her son was my boyfriend in second grade. We go way back.

**FULL DISCLOSURE: Shawn cut most of his hair himself this time.

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