I just wanted a haircut.
My friend Jamie has been styling my hair since I was a senior in high school. I haven’t let another pair of scissors touch my head since I was seventeen, excluding one unfortunate moment of desperation in Senegal during which I allowed a local missionary lady to shear me like some sort of dirty, rabid sheep. There were tears in Africa that night. I’m not proud of it, but I will own this shallow, superficial part of my personality.
I am the cowardly lion of hair, and Jamie gets me. Jamie understands that on any given day I might be so elated with life that I ask for bangs, or so devastated that I ask for a stacked bob. [For the men reading that understood neither the propensity for emotional hair decisions nor what on earth a “stacked bob” is, just enjoy your testosterone and buzz cuts and move on.] Jamie also understands that during my emotional flights from reality, it is her sacred responsibility to throw a proverbial bucket of cold water in my face and bring me back down. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve asked Jamie to do something to my hair and she has said NO, I could fly her up to Albany for my haircuts for the rest of my life. Jamie never lets me make my own hair decisions, and for that I am forever grateful.
Given my deep rooted love and devotion to Jamie, I haven’t gotten my hair cut since…well, before my wedding. On Monday, something in my split-ended head snapped. IT. WAS. TIME. I looked at a “Best Of Albany” list that some of Kellan’s coworkers had compiled, and called the number two salon in the area. They were a smidge on the pricy side, but I figured that you can’t put a price tag on keeping your marriage together, and mine was far too young and fragile to handle a bad haircut.
I showed up yesterday at what appeared to be a very swanky salon, and was ushered into a living room [excuse me?] where I was urged to help myself to the coffee bar and fill out these forms.
Dozens of questions smirked up at me from the clipboard in my hands, as I confusedly took the pen and sat down. It was clear there would be no time for coffee.
Name: Ashley Peterson.
Address: …I forgot. Dangit.
Medical History: WHAT?!
They wanted everything. Family history, medications, surgeries…my head spun as I attempted to determine what on earth my allergy to amoxicillin had to do with a hair trim. It was when they asked for an emergency contact that I quietly began to lose my cool. In case of emergency? I contemplated bolting out the front door, of course, but it was like that scene from An Officer and A Gentleman where Richard Gere yells at Foley, “I GOT NOWHERE ELSE TO GO. I GOT NOWHERE ELSE TO GO!”
A snarky gum-smacking blonde on a power trip returned to take my form. Clearly tired of dealing with imbeciles like me, she exasperatedly spat: Ma’am, I need your address please.
Breaking into a cold sweat I stammered, Actually, I don’t know my address. Also, I got my last name wrong on your little form thingie. Can I have that back for just a hot second? I’m pretty sure that I forgot to mention that I take gummy vitamins for adults, do you think that’s pertinent?
Before my wholly unimpressed gum smacking friend could respond, SHE CAME.
Her name was Suzanne. For the purposes of this story, I need you to pronounce it, “SuZANNE.” Say it accusingly, with enough force to knock a bird out of a tree and enough venom to kill a baby elephant. As in, DANGIT, SuZANNE! Good, you’ve got it.
SuZANNE. With her spiky, bleach blonde hair and butterfly clips. She introduced herself as my stylist, and I immediately began mentally composing my last will and testament. We began the death march back towards her station by the window, and she asked me what I wanted.
Here was a familiar question! Luckily, I’d brought a picture. Look at this. See how pretty Jennifer Aniston is? It’s really critical to my emotional stability that I leave this building looking exactly like her. Otherwise I might become completely unhinged and frankly I am hanging on by a gossamer thread as it is so we need to avoid that. Also, in case the blonde up front didn’t let you know I’m allergic to amoxicillin and take gummy vitamins for adults. Any questions?
SuZANNE began to cut. She trimmed and snipped along her merry way as massive chunks of my brown hair fluttered to the tile floor, while I closed my eyes and focused every ounce of energy in my body on attempting not to dry heave. Etiquette demanded that I smile politely as she prattled on about her stepson and snipped on, while everything inside me was screaming I SAID JENNIFER ANISTON NOT ELLEN DEGENERES! My desperate mind raced as I attempted to concoct a plausible reason for escape. No wonder they asked me for an emergency contact–THESE PEOPLE ARE IN THE BUSINESS OF CREATING EMERGENCIES! Even in prison you get a phone call. I WANT MY IN-CASE-OF-EMERGENCY!
Alas, there was to be no mercy for me. A lifetime later, SuZANNE finished. I took one look in the mirror and the pale-faced short-haired reflection staring back at me immediately gave me the vapors. Smiling weakly, I thanked her, paid, and stumbled to my car like some sort of deranged hobo on a bourbon binge that had just woken up by the dumpster outside of a Dennys.
I was horrified.
I blame the stupid “Best Of Albany” list. I should have known—these are the same people that said that the local Ruby Tuesdays is the best place in town for a good burger. And quite frankly, I’d rather go dumpster diving behind the aforementioned Denny’s.
Help. Me. Rhonda.
If you need me, I won’t be hard to spot. I’ll have a paper bag over my head for the indefinite future.