There was a time in my life that I didn’t go. When I was a kid, it was something that happened on a regular basis. Then, in my teenage years, I stopped going completely. It started as rebellion and later devolved further into pure laziness. I’d tell myself I was too busy. I’d tell myself I didn’t need need structured, organized involvement in the scene. What’s more, among the crowd with which I hung out, the entire concept was something that wasn’t discussed.
A couple of years ago, without really telling anybody, I started going again. I had my own reasons. My father had been sick. I’d just had a kid. My life was in a pretty odd place. I felt that I needed the structure and organization in my life. So I went.
In recent months, I’d gotten lazy again. Life had been very busy. With five out of eight weeks on the road, I told myself I could get by. Then, Monday morning, I looked at myself in the mirror and didn’t like what I saw. I was a mess. There was something hollow in my eyes. What was worse, my head was a mess.
So, I went to get my hair cut.
When I walked in, I scanned the empty place for Michael, my bald, effeminate hair guy. I saw him in the back, nuzzled up against a guy with only slightly more hair. Stephanie, an eager new stylist, ran to the front of the store and started escorting me to her chair before I could insist on using Michael. See, that’s the the thing. Several months ago, after losing my stylist in management-change dick-swinging contest, I found a new hair cuttery and Michael. Though he pressed against me more than your average stylist and spent a lot more time massaging my scalp, he cut a mean head of hair. After the first two cuts, I told him he was my man. (I felt confident in doing so after learning the Rev. Ted Haggard emerged from three weeks of intensive counseling and was now “completely heterosexual”).
But, on this day, I didn’t feel like waiting the extra time it would take for Michael to finish pressing up against his current subject. And, so, on with Stephanie.
I am not, nor have I ever been a Catholic. However, I have Catholic friends and watch a lot of TV. If I understand correctly, confessions usually begin with, “Forgive me father, for I have sinned. It has been six weeks since my last confession.” In my coiffed world, it’s not much different. A good stylist will know by looking at you how long it has been since you were last under the hinged knives.
I really didn’t think I had that much to confess, but Stephanie was not going to let met slide.
“You usually don’t keep your hair this long,” she said.
“No,” I confessed. “But I’ve been on the road a lot recently.”
“Mmm-hmm,” she said. “And so, how are we going to do this?”
“Scissor-cut the sides and back pretty short, the top not as short, but still short, take most of the bangs off, bring the sideburns most of the way up,” I said. With Michael just a few feet away, it was like directing a stripper–or worse, a prostitute–while my wife was watching.
“You don’t like clippers?” Stephanie asked, already underway with the clippers.
I struggled to say what I really meant. “Well, some people use clippers for speed…I mean…”
“You mean you don’t trust people to use clippers,” Stephanie said and kept cutting.
She worked her way through my mop and finished in record time.
“How does that look?”
My face twisted up in the mirror. I felt cheap. Michael was clipping his subject’s hairs one at a time to make sure everything was even.
“You know how it should look,” Stephanie said.
Of all my sins, I’d always managed to avoid two of the biggest ones. It was on this day that I realized I was both vain and a hair adulterer.
With Michael pretending not to hear, I directed Stephanie to take more off the top and bangs, put some product in it, and let me see how that looked. She did and I did and we did. And we did it all in front of Michael. I felt sick to my stomach. Part of me wanted nothing more than to run out of the store before I made eye contact with Michael. Part of me wanted to be sure my remaining hair was properly styled. This had to be something like watching a porn film from somewhere like www.porn-hd.xxx on a video iPod in church. You know you should stop before somebody notices, but, hey, the money shot is coming up.
I paid Stephanie and was in my car before Michael had lovingly dusted he hair from his piece of art. I drove home feeling dirty, like someone who had converted to Satanism during Midnight Mass.
I remain, today, confused.
Special good wishes go out to Jen and John who finally decided to make honest women of each other…or something like that. Crack reporter Amy has the details (and a nice photo of the niiiiiiice ring) over at Calistri’s Corner.