Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bad Hair Cuts and Good Friends

Today's forecast for St. Peters, MO: A glorious day, high 71 degrees, but a chance for thunderstorms this evening.

This past Monday morning my sister Kathleen drove to my house and picked me up to get hair cuts before her twin grandsons got out of day care. We didn't have a lot of time. We were desperate. We had coupons.

After we got to the closest "chop shop" we were told by a hairdresser I'll call Sherry (because that's what I think she spiked her coffee with) that we didn't need coupons because we got the Senior Citizen discount--this from a woman at least five years older than either of us.

Kathleen, who is 16 months older than I am, went first. Or, as she put it, she was the "sacrificial lamb." She told Sherry to take off just two inches, but I think the hairdresser is hard of hearing and thought she said a few inches from all the clumps of hair on the floor around "The Chair."

As I waited my turn, I looked at Kathleen and prayed I would get the other hair dresser, who was finishing up another cut. I also thumbed through a book and found a style I liked--a modest bob with featherd bangs.

As luck would have it (bad luck), Sherry quickly finished with Kathleen and said, "Next!"

I showed Kathleen and Sherry the book and pointed to a page with the style I wanted. The cut on the right, the modest bob, was the one I liked. The cut on the left was a platinum blond spikey-punk rocker cut with a pink slash near the bangs. Definitely not suitable for this Senior Citizen.

As Sherry led me to The Chair I said, "Shouldn't I bring the book for you to look at while you're cutting my hair?"

"Nope,"she said, pointing to her head, "I got it."

After shampooing my hair--which I had to ask her to do--she adjusted The Chair and turned me away from the mirror. For several minutes, while she snipped away, she ignored me and talked to her co-worker about the woman whose hair cut she had just finished. Apparently the woman who had just left liked to pull out clumps of her hair and needed the bald spots camouflaged.

After Sherry's co-worker dashed outside for a smoke (or maybe to escape) Sherry began telling me about how little she makes on Social Security, how much it's going to cost to get the brakes fixed on her car, and how she doesn't make a lot of money cutting hair. I mentioned that Kathleen had just told me about the $250 economic stimulus checks Social Security recipients were going to receive in May.

Big mistake.

Right after that, the scissors flew as she asked for details. The more she spoke, the faster she cut. I knew I was in trouble when I heard the buzz of clippers.

"What's that?" I asked.

"Just trimming up the edges," she answered, as she shaved the back of my neck.

When she spun me around in the chair, my mouth dropped open.

"Cute, isn't it?"

"But it's so short," I said.

"Yeah," she answered--and I swear I am not exaggerating here--"now you won't have to worry about the ends flipping up."

No kidding--the ends are above my ears.

Sherry brushed me off, whisked me out of The Chair, and led me to the cash register. After I gave her a twenty, she gave me back seven ones then--again I'm not exaggerating--held out her hand. I counted out two one dollar bills--not a bad tip for a $13 haircut, especially not for one I didn't expect or want--and she kept her hand there waiting for more.

After Kathleen paid--also with a twenty and receiving seven ones for another $3 tip, Sherry asked Kathleen if she knew the number of the Social Security office, which my ever-so-efficient sister happened to have committed to memory.

Before we left, Sherry called the office and listened to a recording. After hanging up, she rubbed her hands and said, "Looks like I'll be able to get my brakes fixed after all."

Then shouted, "Next!" to another unsuspecting Senior Citizen.

On our way home Kathleen and I both had a good laugh--which was bettery than crying. I asked Kathleen if my hair cut looked anything like the photo I showed Sherry. Kathleen said, "No. It looked more like the other one with the pink stripe."

Later that day--God love my family--they all commented how nice my hair cut looked. My husband Walt told me, "It makes you look younger."

Granddaughter Cari said, "It makes you look thinner."

Grandson Michael said, "I like your haircut, Oma. It looks nice."

The following evening at critique group, several of my writing friends complimented me on my haircut. They are either good liars--or good friends. I like to think it's the latter, but when I think about of it, most of them do write fiction.


  1. It IS cute, Donna! Writer's honor!

  2. Donna, I feel your pain :-)When I decided to go back to something closer to my original hair color (auburn) my hairdresser (Sherry's evil twin)decided to go to carrot top red. All I can say is every time I passed the mirror and caught a glimpse of myself, I screamed :-)

    I think CofC should do a "For the Bad Hair Cut"...your story would definitely make the cut! (Um, sorry for that bad pun!)

  3. LOL Great story. Sherry sounds like a fun character for one of your novels. Maybe you can kill her off in a story and get your revenge that way.

  4. This was so funny. Great story...I'm sure your hair looks great.

  5. Hi everyone,
    Thanks for all your kind words. I think bad hair cuts are something we all can relate to.
    Pat, thanks for being such a sweetie.
    Cathy, Great idea for the CofC "For the Bad Hair Cut" book. You should suggest that title to Colleen Sell, the editor.
    Tricia, Good suggestion. Maybe I will kill Sherry off in a short story--have her fall on a pair of scissors--eewww maybe not--might be too graphic--maybe get electrocuted by clippers--Yikes! I'm scaring myself now.
    Camille, Thanks for your comment. I'm still getting used to having my neck exposed.
    You ladies are the best!


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