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in search of a stylist
my quest for a good haircut
by kathryn ann streets
12.2.03
writing

Eight years ago, I adopted a new hairdo to reflect my new lifestyle. Recently divorced, I enrolled in college as an “alternative” student (which is the politically correct way of saying that I was a really, really old lady sitting in a classroom that reeked of post adolescent hormones), and no longer had the time to spend blowing, curling and piling on product. I opted for a “wash and go” do that was skillfully executed by a barber/stylist I’ll call “Ditsy” for reasons that will become obvious. Ditsy was the answer to every woman’s prayer, the Alpha and the Omega of hair couture, Edward Scissorhands in drag. I immediately became her style slave and religiously booked myself in with her every four weeks to keep my gorgeous coif in shape.

I swear that if Ditsy had asked me to come in for my appointment an hour early to scrub toilets, I would have done it and left her a hefty tip to boot. She was just that good at making me look beautiful. Then it happened. I’d arrived at The Mound of Hair Tonsorial Parlor for my usual appointment to find that Ditsy had taken her scissors and blow dryer and moved on. The sound of my own heartbeat roared in my ears as I alternately screamed and gasped for breath while the other hairdressers pried my hands from Ditsy’s styling chair. She was gone and I was doomed to a future of searching for someone to fill her Birkenstocks.

I returned home “undone” and inconsolable. The next four weeks were spent locked in my room, calling every salon in the county and watching in horror as my do reached dizzying heights of dishevel. I prayed to the scissor gods to show me the way to Ditsy, to tell me who she was shearing now. My pleadings however, had produced just one small shred of hope. I’d learned from a friend that Ditsy’s mysterious disappearance was due to the fact that she was in rehab…the victim of a serious cocaine habit. GREAT! I’d entrusted my tresses to Cocaine Katy who is in now the pokey and I’m running around looking like Sasquatch. All of Ditsy’s bizarre behaviors now made sense-the frequent trips to the ladies room and her uncanny ability to cut two heads of hair at once!

It seemed I had no choice but to find another stylist. I wiped my overgrown bangs from my eyes and called the first salon in the book that didn’t have a name that sounded as if it were a hangout for blue haired old ladies who demanded pincurls as the house special. “Beautiful Bobs for Babes Salon, may I help you?” crooned the receptionist. “Uh, yes…do you have anyone that’s good with short hair?” “Oh, all of our girls are good with short hair. I’ll give you LaToya, she’s the best!” Hope springs eternal and I locked in for a 4 p.m.

LaToya turned out to be a 250 lb. ex mud wrestler from Decatur who wanted more out of life. The Daughter of Doom twisted my arm up behind my back and pushed me into the chair. She pumped the chair to her working level, simultaneously twirling it at mach speed while running fingers the size of knockwursts through my hair. “Wut kin ah do for ya t’day, honey?”…the words sounded as if they had been run through a meat grinder. I explained my plight and presented a recent photo of my previously well-groomed self. Latoya smacked the back of my head, let out a squeal that reminded me of transition and snuffed out her cigarette on her shoe. “Not a problem!” she roared and proceeded to ruin my life for the next four weeks. “I know it’s a bit shorter than what yer used to, dearie” she soothed, “but I thought you’d look better with it shorter. And what the hell? It’s only hair, it’ll grow back. Just don’t forget to use plenty of gel to hold down them spots that wanna stick up”. Afraid to tell her that I thought I looked like an inmate at Auschwitz, I tipped her all the spare cash in my wallet, plus the change I stored in an empty prescription bottle for emergencies. She was after all, an ex mud wrestler

To be continued...


ABOUT KATHRYN ANN STREETS

Just another dimestore Faust...

more about kathryn ann streets

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COMMENTS

juli mccarthy
12.9.03 @ 1:53a

Oh honey, do I ever know your pain. A good haircut is better than sex (well, nearly as good anyway, and it lasts longer) and a good stylist is worth her weight in rubies.

robert melos
12.9.03 @ 11:56p

This is a brilliant piece. It reminds me of a little secret oath I swore to myself years ago. I swore I would never go to a bald barber. The first time I met the guy who currently does my hair, I never would've guessed he wore a rug. It looked very natural. Slightly thinning, but appropriate. A few weeks later I walked in and he was completely bald. Not only did he remove the rug, he shaved whatever was left. Alas, I admit he does a great job with my hair, and I'm very much under his haircutting spell.



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