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Gimme a head with hair – no, I can’t look

Submitted by on Wednesday, 8 April 2009 No Comment

scissorsYou need heavier highlights. And if you’d straighten it with a flat iron – it will only take you an hour – it would look great.

Excuse me? Who the heck are you to charge in and make me over.

Oh. I forgot. You’re my new stylist. The understudy stepping in for the woman who was not so much a beautician but a magician. The stylist who became a friend as she saw me through my engagement and wedding and two baptisms. The woman who dared retire in November, leaving me alone in this cruel world.

Denial that Peggie really was leaving me made my problem today much worse. The layers were so grown-out and shaggy that Linda had no hope of figuring out what the cut was supposed to look like, no clue as to how to match the color.

I’d brought a picture taken the day after a fresh Peggie cut, hoping that would give Linda something to go on. She barely glanced at it before casting it aside. My blood ran cold. I’m going to leave here looking like a circus clown, I thought.

Truth be told, I arrived looking like a circus clown. It couldn’t look that much worse in the end, could it? Could it?

Linda came highly recommended from the same friend who’d sent me to Peggie a decade earlier. The same friend who introduced me to my husband, so on some level she has some match-making acumen. I felt duty bound to listen.

Still, an appointment with a new hair dressers is the worst kind of blind date.

On a normal blind date, you can always plead sudden nausea, slip out early and dodge phone calls – not that I ever did any of that. With a new hair dresser, the results are going to follow you around for months.

Plus my hair and I have a bad history.

First there was none. Not until I was almost 2. My mom tried to Scotch tape a bow to my skull for pictures when I was a baby, but there wasn’t even enough fuzz for the tape to stick.

Then there was plenty of fuzz. Wild, uncontrollable frizz when everyone else had heads full of Marcia Brady smooth. I tried orange juice cans. I tried half a bottle of conditioner, only to wind up looking like a grease-slicked Goldilocks. No one told me you were supposed to rinse it out.

Then there was magenta applied by someone with a tri-colored rat tail – that should have been a sign right there – just a week before I had an interview for a legislative fellowship. I spent the next six days frantically washing and praying for it to fade. I got the position, so I must have at least partially succeeded.

Finally, there was peace with Peggie. Peggie, who got my hair and got me. She knew I was not going to get out of bed an hour early to dink with my hair – I’d rather sleep. She knew exactly how to cut my hair to avoid the greasy Goldilocks look.

All of which led to today and the “flight or fight” instinct Linda triggered with threats of a flat iron and 60 minutes of maintenance.

I fought mildly, but didn’t flee. It’ll grow back, I thought.

I scrunched my eyes tight the whole time she dried and cut, and not just to block stray hair. I really, really, really didn’t want to see. This woman is not Peggie, I thought. This is going to be traumatic.

When I finally dared to peek, I wasn’t sure who I was looking at in the mirror but I wasn’t unhappy.

The heavier highlights didn’t produce the zebra stripes I’d feared. The straightening, I had to admit, looked decent but I’m still not going to spend an hour doing it. The cut feels right to my fingers, though the ultimate test will be when I tear down Marcia Brady and am left to my own sub-par hairstyling devices.

OK, Linda, you’re all right. I forgive you for not being Peggie. But you have to promise me it’ll be at least 10 years before you retire. I really, really, really hate blind dates.

Copyright 2009 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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