Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Super Cut

Monday I went to get a haircut. My second haircut in two weeks. Actually, my third. All right, I have spent over $120 in haircuts in the past two weeks.

Things had been going quite well with my hair; it was finally growing back past my shoulders, the dry winter air meant many a good hair days.

But then I got restless. Girls know how this goes. You get an inkling of dissatisfaction with your hair, it starts to build. It might start on a Monday and by Saturday you are absolutely bursting with an urge that you must get your haircut NOW. Not tomorrow, not next week but now at this very moment walk into any place that wields scissors, sit down, and let someone cut.

And all of that is just fine, except when you get that urge in Phoenix, Arizona, about 2000 miles away from home. Away from your normal salon. Away from the one hairdresser that understands your thick, wiry hair with unruly wave.

That’s when you find yourself sitting in a rental car while previewing the race course asking your husband about his experience at Supercuts; the only out of town, quick haircut option. He assured me that it would be ok. He pointed to his own hair for proof. He goes there all the time. Don’t worry, Liz, you will get a super cut, he said.

There I was, standing in the doorway of Supercuts. Inside the store - a thousand screaming young children sat waiting for haircuts. Outside the store - my husband. I mean was my husband – I swear I heard a rumbling of sinister laughter as he and the car bolted away.

There was no turning back. I was at the Supercuts, I was going to get a super cut.

I put my name on the waiting list along with every other 10 year old in the Phoenix area. I asked how long such a long waiting list would take to get through. The girl at the counter replied “about 20 minutes”. About 10 buzzcuts and 20 seconds later, my name was called.

“So what are we doing today?” the hairdresser asked.

I was a little leary about this question. You see, everyone else in the place had asked for a buzz cut, a little off the edges, a little something short of putting a bowl over your head and cutting. My request would be a little more complicated than that.

”If you could just cut off ½ of an inch and then frame around my face with long layers that would be great,” I said, make it as clear, simple, concise as possible.

It sounded easy enough, and watching her cut hair she appeared to know what she was doing. And just when she got the ½ inch of hair off, she started with the long layers around my face – and finishing in two giant cuts leaving me with two chunks of longer hair about 2 inches shorter than the rest of my hair.

Like I didn’t see this one coming.

But it didn’t stop there. I asked her to dry my hair, apparently this is not standard business at Supercuts and something they were not prepared for. Little did I realize that drying my hair would turn into a 30 minute ordeal during which mutiny was rising behind me in the form of one thousand more angry 10 year olds and their parents wanting to get their haircuts and get their Saturday afternoon to-do list done and over with.

I paid for my haircut, and the dry, and got the hell out of there for fear of parental mutiny following me angry with their to-do lists and bed-headed children.

Chris picked me up and from his look I could tell something had gone very, very wrong in that hair cuttingchair. Not only that, but I swear I could hear ½ inch of my hair either laughing or dying on the Supercuts floor while shouting you couldn’t wait could you.

I looked in the car mirror. Oh my! Slightly frightened, slightly dissatisfied but still certain that I could fix this on my own, I did what any woman would do – I took matters, or scissors, into my own hands. IMMEDIATELY. No sooner did we return to the hotel room when I dug through my triathlon bag to find the only thing that could save me now – my own scissors.

Of course these were not scissors intended for cutting hair. In fact, they were children’s safety scissors but at this point they may as well have been kitchen shears or hedge clippers. It couldn’t get much worse.

I cut, I trimmed, I did my best to even out the most uneven chop job I had seen since I was about 7 years old. The year was 1982, there I was hiding behind the chair in our living room with my brother after we found the kitchen scissors and decided to give “Chet”, his Cabbage Patch Kid, a haircut. My mother was furious - clearly she did not share the same esthetic vision we had for Chet. After that episode, the scissors were hidden in a high, faraway place.

Perhaps I should have told my husband that story years ago and perhaps he would have then taken it as a hint to hide all scissors, shears, clippers, and knives. This girl has a history with bad cutting behavior. But he didn’t, and so there I was in the hotel room with scissors in hand.

Note to self for next time: I should not have taken matters of the hair into my own hands. Hair cutting is not as easy as it looks. It is not just opening and closing the scissors. Do not take hair cutting matters into your own hands!


So now, my super cut was now super f-ed up. Confirmation came from Chris. He was building up our bikes while watching snippets of Dumb and Dumber. And when the Mutt Cutts truck appeared on the screen, wouldn’t you know he turned to me with an I-told-you-so smirk directed straight towards what could only be described as my own mutt cut.
After a week of living with my super mutt cut, I decided something had to be done. I made an appointment with my hairdresser, Chrissy.

“What are we doing today,” Chrissy asked as I sat in her chair on Monday morning.

“I took the scissors into my own hand, and now I need it fixed,” I admitted with shame. Actually, I only half-admitted. There was no way I was muttering the word Supercuts in this salon. Not in the kind of salon where you might drop nearly $100 on a haircut, the kind of salon where the stylists only wear black and white, the kind of salon where someone different washes and cuts your hair, the kind of salon where the word supercut could get me blacklisted for life.

“I’ve done the same thing to myself,” she admitted as she quickly set about to fix what I had so badly tried to fix a week ago. And as always, it took her a good 30 minutes to cut my hair. There was nothing fast or super about it – it was just good haircutting at its best. And when she was done, all traces of mutt cut or super cut were completely gone.

Almost.

“Now, it’s going to take another haircut in another few weeks to get this right,” she said, pointing out some remaining choppy, uneven pieces. I accepted that, and conceded in my mind to the fact that one supercheap supercut would eventually cost me over $200 in haircuts.

I walked out of that salon on Monday a little more patient, a little more learned than before. You see, the next time I get a haircut urge, I’m going to think back to this and then sit on that urge for a few days. And if that doesn’t work, I’m going to have my husband hide all of the scissors in the house and then sit on my hands. Because there is nothing worse than a woman cutting her own hair. Unless, of course, you go get yourself a super cut.

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