The humidity of this summer has made my wavy hair look like a dust bunny on steroids, so the other day I made an appointment for a cut and color. The addition of chemicals to my locks sometimes tames the frizzies.
My hairdresser lives on the other side of the county, and her little shop is a popular hangout spot, so a haircut is always an opportunity to chat with people I haven’t seen in a while. Plus, the drive over is gorgeous. When I pulled up to the gate, Carla’s big brown dog was the first to greet me, wagging his tail and barking hello. The shop was empty for the moment, so we got right to business. Rather than having my hair completely colored, I opted for highlights. We settled on gold and red. Carla tugged a tan highlighting bonnet over my head and tied it tightly between my chins. It resembled an aviator’s cap and with the addition of a set of goggles, I could have been mistaken for a plump Amelia Earhart. Then she proceeded to jab a dangerous looking hook through each of the dots on the cap and twist until she had fished out a strand or two of my curls. Within twenty minutes, tufts of my hair were sprouting randomly out of the shiny plastic bonnet and I looked like a balding clown with a bad comb-over. Although I missed the usual chatter and gossip of other customers, I was glad that Carla and I were the only ones in the shop.
Just as Carla tugged the last strand through, two of my former male students walked in. One of them was the hairdresser’s son, so maybe he was used to seeing middle-aged women disguised as clowns. The other was just naturally polite. Neither of them snickered or made me feel the least bit self-conscious about my bonneted head full of bushy tufts or the strap accentuating my two chins. Instead, we gabbed a bit about farming and karaoke and then they left.
Five minutes later, another former student, Kayla, came in. She settled into the chair by the sink and watched as Carla applied the caustic chemicals to my hair. We chatted about weddings and babies until the timer rang for my rinse. Kayla leaned in to inspect the tufts. “I don’t think it did anything,” she said. Carla rinsed and rubbed and patted and agreed. “Shoot,” she said, “It must have been too dark.” Then, she disappeared into the back of the shop and when she reappeared she was carrying a large white jar, a bowl and a brush. She mixed another magic potion and painted it onto my limp locks.
“Have you ever melted anybody’s hair?” I asked nervously. Kayla laughed and Carla kept on painting and rubbing. Then she set the timer again. I watched my head in the mirror. Was anything happening up there? Kayla and Carla studied it, as well. “I think it’s lifting now,” Kayla finally said. Apparently lifting is a good thing, because five minutes later I was at the sink for my second rinse.
After the rinse, my hair still looked dark, but Carla pulled out her hair dryer and a big round brush and before long, I could see it, too. Coppery highlights shimmering in the shop lights. “Oh my gosh,” Carla gushed, “you look twenty years younger.” I turned this way and that inspecting my new gingery do. Carla had brushed it to a silky shine and it slid seductively around my face. I grinned all the way to my car.
But, wavy hair is stubborn. By the time I got home my hair was no longer silky and shiny. The humidity had conquered the color. My hair cut was cute and coppery, but now I looked like a fox-colored fuzz ball.
No matter. Next time I see Kayla she’ll probably ooh and aah and make me feel like a queen. After all, she had a hand in my transformation. Besides, around here a haircut and color is just another bonding experience. I’m sure we’ll be doing it again, soon.