I couldn't stand looking at myself in the mirror any longer, so rather than cover the mirror with crayon drawings or papier-mâché collages, I dragged myself to the mall today and got a haircut. I've been going to the haircut place in the mall for years, and I've been satisfied about ten percent of the time. That kind of consistent success is what keeps me going back. I'd be afraid to try anyplace else.
After I put my name on the list (and crossed out the two names above me), I sat and read the North Bay Bohemian cover to cover. It turns out the paper approves of Dennis Kucinich's position on marijuana and opposes Joe Lieberman because he wants to censor pop music and video games. Since no Republicans read that paper, none of their names came up.
None of the stylists (pardon me, "stylists") seemed in any hurry to call my name, even after they finished with the heads they'd been trimming when I walked in. A lot of sweeping and many visits to the back room are required before a stylist ("stylist") is prepared to accept another sixteen dollars. Plus tip.
Since my father died sixteen years go, I don't think another man has touched me with a pair of scissors. I'm pretty sure none has even tried, but I wasn't expecting a much different experience than I get from the women who ordinarily clip me. Boy, was I wrong. This guy was rough. I think he might have been trying to see how much I could take, but I didn't give him the satisfaction of yelping in indignation (or pain).
Part of it was my fault. I told him I wanted my hair as short as he could get it, without letting it stick up straight. I gave him permission to use the clippers on the side and back (but nothing higher than number four). He begged me to shorten my sideburns, and to keep things running smoothly I agreed.
When he handed me my glasses and asked if I wanted it shorter, I wasn't sure at first. It didn't look much different from what I walked out of the place with the last time, about six weeks ago. That time, within one day, I was wishing I'd told the operator to keep going for one more round. This time, the guy told me anything shorter would stick up, and since I'm not a teenager and don't want to look like a teenager (or rather, I don't want to look like someone trying to look like a teenager), I told him to stop.
"With a little gel, it'll be fine." I told him I don't use gel, and he sort of grunted. Then he put gel on my head, saying, "I know you don't like gel, but just a little will make it look better." I could hardly grasp his wrist and wrestle him to the ground, so I just told him it was okay. I didn't thank him for going against my express wishes, but I didn't berate him for doing something that, in retrospect, looks pretty sharp, if I do say so.
I might have to get some of that gel. I'll know tomorrow when I get out of the shower whether I can look at myself in the mirror now. If a little gel helps that situation, so be it. If not, I could always smear it all over the mirror and hope I look better to myself that way.