When I recently cut off more than a foot of hair, I made my appointment with the salon only three hours beforehand. I didn’t make up my mind until right before I made the appointment, and I wanted to cut it off before I had a chance to change my mind again. I didn’t tell anyone where I was going and why. I just went and did it.
Sitting longhaired in the salon chair, I was overcome by the feeling that this was the right thing to do. I guess after all those years of ignoring Mr. Jesus, he still decided to bless me with the Holy Ghost’s warm spirit, letting me know that He gave a shit about my hair and that he condoned the decision I was about to make. Or maybe it was the bubbly.
Anyway, the stylist asked me if I was nervous. “Nope,” I said, in my most cavalier tone. “Not at all.”
“Wow,” she said. “You’re, like, so brave.”
I’m really not, though. Because a long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, a rather unusual thing happened, and lucky you, you’re about to hear all about it.
Nigh unto fifteen million years ago, in that aforementioned galaxy, there existed a remote solar system; in that remote solar system there existed a small, bizarre planet called Kentucky. And somewhere in the deepest, darkest corner of Kentucky sat Millersburg, population 750.
In Millersburg, it was perfectly acceptable for the wife of a dead cosmetologist to run her deceased husband’s business, as if his license posthumously passed on to her. Ah, Millersburg: the clarion bastion of all that is good and fashionable in the universe. (It is also socially acceptable to marry your first cousin there, but that’s beside the point.)
So thus it came to be that Marjorie* – who was lovely, albeit egregiously underqualified – owned the sole barbershop/luxury hair salon in Millersburg. Like her husband before her, may he rest in peace, Marjorie performed all functions necessary to a salon owner, including leaving in perm solution for so long it burned off the front of her clients’ mullets. Just for the sake of brevity, we’ll withhold speculation on whether Marjorie was making a commentary regarding whether mullets should be worn at all, nonetheless permed.
Some time after Marjorie began operating her late husband’s salon, a small family of ten moved to Millersburg; and not long after that, several family members were in dire need of haircuts. One day, half of the intrepid young family sojourned into the heart of Millersburg, braving the presence of many a large cow and neighbor, both of which roamed freely throughout the region.
One of the family members was a young girl – we’ll call her Liz*. Liz was in the twilight of her eleventh year; taller than all the boys, Liz had no boobs and no ass, and wasn’t old enough to wear makeup. Accompanying Liz were three brothers, and Liz’s father. At the time, Liz’s hair was a very grown-out pixie cut; and when Liz took a seat in Marjorie’s sole styling chair, she requested that Marjorie simply give her another pixie.
“A pixie?” boomed Marjorie, ex cathedra. “Are you sure?”
“Well,” said Liz, a little hesitantly, “Yes?”
“Describe it to me.”
“Okay, well, it’s short all over, you know? With uneven bangs in front.” Liz shook a hand in front of her face to show what she meant.
“Mmmhmmm,” said Marjorie. “Okay.” And she turned on the clippers.
By the time Liz’s paternal parental unit looked up from his colossal subway sandwich, several inches of shorn hair sat around Liz’s shoulders, and Liz herself sat trembling mightily. Their eyes met, and in hers he saw fear, and extreme dubiety.
“Liz,” said her father reassuringly, “You’re getting a buzz.”
And later, after they got home:
“Liz,” said her mother kindly, “You guys left with three boys. And you came back with four.”
“Liz,” said her brother sincerely, “Even though you look like a freak, we still love you.”
To Liz’s credit, she only cried once, after she got home. To her father’s credit, Marjorie was paid (and tipped) for all five haircuts. And to Marjorie’s credit, there have been worse buzzcuts – not many, yes, but a few.
Later on that infamous day, Liz had a pool party with her Girl Scout Troop, which she had been looking forward to with great zeal, but which she now feared. What if everybody thought her hair was just too damn weird, and nobody would talk to her because of it? But in the end she went, and made friends with another eleven year old named Midge*, who was also pretty damn weird, because she only had one arm. So the two weird girls spent the evening together, had the time of their lives, and remained friends until Liz left Kentucky for another, stranger planet called Utah.
From that experience, Liz took away this: Arms don’t grow back, but hair does. And even if it didn’t, the fact remains that there is a lot more to a person than superficial things like a haircut or how many arms one possesses. People liked Liz whether or not she had long hair or no hair, and ever since then, when Liz is considering whether she ought to be adventurous with her hair, she almost always answers Yes.
*names in this story have been changed