But none of that was any consolation last Thursday when I acquired an awful haircut. I mean, it was just awful!
I walked into the same no-appointment-necessary chain hair chain salon that I always go to and this is how I looked when I walked out:
I needed to go to the grocery store but was too embarrassed about my hair so I didn't go. I had to pep-talk myself into leaving my house to teach the one more piano student I had that day.
The next morning I woke up hoping my hair would look better but it didn't. Those sideburns were still there.
I returned to the hair salon, to what end I couldn't really say except that I was upset and wanted somebody to know it. When I pointed out to the stylist the shaved side burns she'd inflicted on me she looked wounded.
"But you asked me to cut your hair that way, remember?"
"I did ?" I asked.
"Yeah. When I asked you whether you wanted me to leave your sides at the natural angle they grow at or cut them across in a straight line above your ear you said 'straight line', remember?"
In fact that was not how I recalled the conversation going down. I did recall her asking me at some point the cryptic question "Do you want the sides straight or curved?"
To which I replied, "Um, I don't know...straight?", thinking straight as in straight down and curved as in somehow curved out. Then I went back to the newspaper I had my nose buried while she finished cutting my hair.
Anyway, the young stylist seemed truly sorry that I didn't like what I'd asked for and offered to shave off the little hairs growing to a point below each ear, but I declined and returned home in a heavy funk.
What is it about the appearance of our hair that can weigh so heavy upon us?
I tried talking myself out of my bad hair funk, telling my self it didn't look that bad, that the shaved sections would grow back, reminding myself of what a cushy existence I have and that with all the suffering in the world I should be ashamed of myself, not to mention that at 62 I was 'way too old to be funking over my hair.
And though everything I was telling myself was true I still couldn't stop funking.
Until, like the snapping on of a light bulb to disperse the darkness in my soul (oooo, forgive that fruity metaphor!) , I remembered Jerry's.
Any of you who read my Camino blog about Tom's and my 490-mile trek across the mountains of Spain last year ( "Tighten Your Boots", is that blog's name, or it can be found at pattiliszkay.weebly.com in case anybody's interested) might remember my post on Jerry's, the barber shop I went to for a short, short guy-cut before my trip:
And the guy-cut I got there:
Now, the last time I went to Jerry's I learned that Jerry was actually a pretty blonde lady named Jenny, the barber/stylist who gave me my original guy-cut.
But this time Jenny was busy with another customer and the only available barber was a big, friendly muscular guy in a cut-off tee-shirt named Kurt whose arms were in covered in tattoos.
Kurt said he felt too nervous to cut my hair because he was only a barber, not a barber/stylist like Jenny and he'd never cut a woman's hair before except his grandma's, and hers only one time.
I told him not to be nervous, to just pretend that I was a guy and do his stuff.
When I showed him my sideburns he said, "Ewww, you can't cut a woman's hair like that. Women's hair grows differently on the side than men's".
Ewww, indeed. For somebody who'd only cut his grandma's hair once, Kurt definitely had a clue about women's hair.
I told him that no matter what how he cut my hair it couldn't end up any worse than it was. I told him that if he just could just camoflage the shaved sides a little I'd be very grateful.
He did and I was.
So the story ended up with much gratitude, which is a good way for any story to end, right?