Over a week ago, I opened a “Madewell” catalogue. As I perused the trendy clothes and felt the pangs of apparel envy, I saw a haircut on a model that stopped my page turning. I angled the page to the left, then to the right, hoping, by some magic to gain a view from the back of her head. The page remained two-dimensional. I recognized that the cut was an age-appropriate, fashion-forward style -- just right for my shoulder-length hair. I earmarked the catalog page and left it on the stairs so I could see it every time I treaded on step 16. Finally, I made an appointment at the hairdresser. Sarah has been my “stylist” for some time. I was confident; I knew she could recreate the style with my locks.
I was half-way to the salon when I realized that I left my template for the future of my tresses back home on the staircase. Wing it. All I could do was wing it. I described what I had in mind to Sarah. We traded our ideas, all the while, her fingers artfully rearranging my hair into different shapes. After our conference, she led me to the sink to begin my transformation. When she had washed, conditioned and toweled my hair, I settled into my stylist’s chair. I kept my eyes shut the entire time. I noticed the snipping, snipping in a way that seemed somehow magnified when I relied on my other four senses. At one point, Sarah asked me to put my chin to my chest. Wow! An unbidden memory sent its tendrils deep into my sub-conscious. When I was nine, my mother let me walk to the hairdresser and ask for a haircut by myself. I was so proud of my new-found independence that I did not complain when the hairdresser managed to cut my ear and nick my neck. I stuffed down that ancient memory because it was irrelevant; I trust Sarah. A felt her run a new pomade (with an inviting scent) through my hair. The blow-drier and the round brush were soothing as Sarah set to work drying and fashioning my hair.
“Is it time,” I asked? “Should I look?”
“Go ahead,” she said.
The face looking back at me was familiar -- but the new, short bob was not.
I loved it. It was me, but better.
Next time, maybe we’ll do something about all those grey hairs.