I worry about my hair a lot; then I worry that this worrying will cause my hair to fall out. The masochistic, endless cycle of hair stress is only temporarily relieved on the sporadic moments I get a good haircut. My head has been shag-city for a good six months. I broke down in May and decided to give myself a big birthday haircut but was too charmed by my hairdresser and the constant supply of mimosas to achieve any sort of drastic change. It was the kind of haircut you had to announce to people. Realizing they hadn’t noticed I’d have to think of ways to casually integrate it into the conversation. “I’m so sorry to hear about your Grandmother. . .maybe you should treat yourself to a great trim like I did…today.”
While British rock bands and California surfers kept subliminally telling me to stick with it, it’s hard to ignore evidence to the contrary when it’s literally in front of your eyes. An experiment with a straighter let me know that my hair had the ability to reach to the tip of my nose but sans iron my hair curled up after a few inches, as if altering its natural route and reaching for the heavens. I resembled less of the rock bands I pretended to like and more of a slightly disheveled Florence Henderson.
Like a crotchety old man I like to blame the weather whenever slightly applicable and in the current crux of a Boston summer I find it’s easy to do just that. Whenever I’d be a particularly shaggy moment in my hair history my styling regime would consist of simply putting on a tight knitted hat post shower. The beanies acted as a sort of cast for my recklessly thick mane. Seeing as New England enjoys 6 month long winters it’s easy to use this method and still look like a sane part of society, but once the hellishly humid summers come wearing a knitted cap in 85 degree weather is less ironic and more idiotic. Not only was my hair corset seasonally unacceptable but with the increase in temperature came the increase in amount of cold, drawn out showers. Plagued with another catch-22 I accepted defeat and made an appointment, determined to rid myself of the hair that was not only attacking my head but attacking my ego as well.
This particular summer I’ve taken up temporary residence in a charming Cambridge apartment with friends. Moving from the sheltered life of on-campus housing to that of a “real-world” apartment I barely noticed anything except the ability to drink whenever possible and a kitchen that included more than a trashcan sized fridge and overused microwave. What I failed to see was that most real apartments don’t include auditorium sized laundry rooms that are hooked up to your campus account. Doing laundry on campus was not only easy, fast and practically free but you could check the availability of the machines via the Internet and get a message delivered to your phone when your load was done. I wasn’t just washing my clothes with Tide, I was washing my clothes with technology. In the real world I discovered my Laundromat was almost five blocks away and held hours that would make the average bank complain. Needless to say I found myself three weeks into dirty clothes and sheets and running out of creative solutions to the growing underwear epidemic.
The day of my haircut my dwindling clean laundry had me wearing pants tight and thin enough to be considered long underwear and an old t-shirt that passed the sniff test, finished off with patent leather dress shoes because the only clean socks I had were dress socks. Immediately after my haircut I purchased a new pair of underwear because it was the only realistic way I was going to have clean underwear the following morning. When I arrived at my appointment with Manny I mortified when his first question was “Do you need a wash?” I didn’t want to respond in sudden Bridget Jones like hysterics “Desperately, myself, my hair and every item of clothing and fabric in my room.” Fortunately he asked this right before he ran his hands through my hair which gave him all the assessment he needed, I wasn’t quite sure because I was in the euphoric stupor of a professional hair wash but he might have triple washed my hair and then triple washed his hands after.
When Manny asked what I wanted done I simply responded, “I’m sick of having long hair.”
He translated what I said into what he assumed I meant, “Okay so you want basically the same thing but shorter,” to which I corrected him by saying “much…much shorter”.
When he was finished I had a clean, almost militarily clean cut. While I was beyond pleased with trading in Florence Henderson for Joan of Arc it was what Manny said in the beginning of my cut that really pleased me. As he began he asked where I normally got my hair cut. I told him I usually wait long enough so that I can get it cut when I’m at home. Manny, dear sweet Manny, responded by asking if I was in a band and tour a lot. I’m not sure if it was the eccentric clothing, the bad hygiene or the uncontrollable shaggy hair but I finally got the comparison to the dirty, indie rock bands that romanticize the look I had stumbled my way upon. The only sound sweeter than Manny’s mistaken assumption was the sound of his scissors making sure it would never happen again.