(Here’s a shot Blue Ridge Blue Collar Man took of me when we were on vacation recently. You can see I look very happy and rested.)
Long-time readers may recall that last year I wrote a post on my misadventures at the beauty salon called The Strange, Sad Tale of a Beauty Shop Washout. Now in case you don’t want to read the whole thing, here’s a little excerpt from that post:
She (we’ll call her Rhonda) obviously believed that the only good perm was a tight perm. With every roller she rolled, she’d give this little yank at the end, just to make sure there was not one iota of slackness in that curl. It hurt so much that tears sprang involuntarily to my eyes, but I just bit my lip and thought about how sometimes, we must suffer for our beauty. And, really, all that tautness had the effect of smoothing out my wrinkles. Why, my face hadn’t looked that tight in years! My first facelift!
Two excruciating hours later, she was done and it was time for the big reveal. As she started pulling out more and more of the little rollers, it became apparent to us both that something had gone terribly wrong. There was no curl…no, not a bit. Neither one of us said a word. All I could think was—I do not care, just let the nerve endings in my head recuperate. And she was probably thinking—If I don’t say anything, maybe she won’t notice.
But there was just no denying it. Rhonda took out the last curler and stared bleakly at my reflection in the mirror. My hair hung lank and limp. Finally, she spoke. “You,” she said sadly, “are curl resistant.”
She called over the other stylists and they stood in a circle around me, shaking their heads mournfully, as though observing the scene of an accident. “I just can’t understand it,” said Rhonda. “I’ve never had this happen before.”
They all cast sympathetic looks her way and some of them looked accusingly at me, as though if I wanted it badly enough and if only I had lived a good life, my hair would have curled. “Curl resistant,” they all repeated, like a chorus in some really bad opera. “She is curl resistant.”
And now here I am over a year later and, believe it or not, my hair has not seen a perm rod or a pair of scissors since. Though it has had daily contact with a curling iron and an industrial-sized can of hair spray. Because those are the only things that can tame my wretched hair at the moment (or what’s left of my wretched hair).
You may recall that I mentioned in my previous post that “my curly perm makes me look like some refugee from the eighties.” Well. Now I’ve moved beyond that, I think. Now I look more like maybe The Ghost From 80’s Past. You know, sort of like The Ghost from Christmas Past? You can probably imagine it—a ghost crone with shoulder pads and wild eyes and long, stringy, straw-like hair (80’s music playing in the background) shaking a can of Aqua Net and saying, “Woooooo…beware this 80’s hair! It is not debonair! Beware, beware this hair!” And the ghost maybe showing scenes from Bad Haircuts and Perms Past. *Shudder*
You’re probably saying, “So what’s keeping you from getting it cut, Blue Ridge Blue Collar Girl? Who’s stopping you?” Well, part of it is just plain fear. You know, the shameful stigma of “curl resistance.” Will I still be curl resistant? Will I again be ostracized for curl resistance? It was a pretty traumatic thing to be surrounded by that angry mob of hair stylists fingering my limp hair and shaking their heads in disgust.
Also, it always seems a bit risky to just pick a salon right out of the yellow pages or go to one just because it’s near where you buy groceries. That’s what I did last time and you can see how well THAT worked out. I’ve asked a few folks for advice, but so far every one of them has recommended one of those fancy, high-falutin’ places in the city that maybe have French or Italian names. Or the words “day spa” in the name. I avoid those like the plague, mainly because they charge more for one visit than I budget for an entire YEAR of beauty. Sure, I could stand to spend a little more, but I’d rather buy books. I’ve found it yields a greater rate of return. Besides, they’d probably give me some weird hairdo that would make me look like Rod Stewart or something. Nothing against Rod Stewart—I just don’t want to look like him.
I always look for the kind of beauty shops I grew up with—the kind you see out in the country, maybe housed in a little shed in somebody’s back yard. You know, with names like Cathy’s Cut ‘n Curl or Barbara’s Beauty Boutique. I particularly love salon names where “K’s” are substituted for the “C’s” as in Kathy’s Kut ‘n Kurl. And of course, you know I can’t resist a pun in the name, like Shear Heaven, A Kut Above, Cut and Dried or my favorite ever, Curl Up and Dye. And there’s always the matter-of-fact, no-nonsense names like Betty’s Beauty Shop. They’re like yeah, that’s the name, I know it’s not cute—take it or leave it, lady.
But probably the real reason I haven’t gone yet is that my hair looks so bad now that I can use it as a handy excuse not to do things I’m dreading. Like going to the doctor. I avoid doctors like the plague, too, but I really do need to get that long-overdue checkup. But I can’t until I get my hair cut. And we’ve heard of a church where we might actually fit in, but we’re pretty nervous about going. Terrified, in fact. But really, I can’t go anyway until I get my hair cut. Plus, I have two friends from the past that I haven’t talked to in years that I’d like to call. One of them lives nearby, but I’m scared of rejection—it’s been a long time and maybe they will have forgotten me. Sure, I’d call them…but I can’t until I get my hair cut.
See what I mean? It doesn’t take a psychiatrist to see that I’m using my hair as an avoidance mechanism—a convenient excuse to not do the things I really should.
Hey, maybe that’s what I need—professional help! A psychiatrist! Because I really, really want to change. Maybe I should be looking for a psychiatrist instead of a hair stylist. Maybe it’s my head and not my hair that needs help. Maybe a shrink is just what the doctor ordered.
There’s only one problem: I mean, you know how it is. I really can’t go to a psychiatrist…
Until I get my hair cut.