Saturday, June 04, 2011

Two Inches Off

She really didn’t know what she was doing! That’s not entirely true – she’s a hairdresser and she knows what a classic bob looks like and “two inches off” is not rocket science. The trouble is that I failed to put the haircut in the right perspective!

There are some haircuts that are just haircuts – the classic bob and “two inches off”. They don’t come with any baggage – apart from the two inches that land on the floor and get swept up with a brush and dustpan. The hair is just too long and it needs a tidy up. If things don’t quite go to plan it’s inconvenient but it’s not a tragedy. As I have said before – paper bags come in all shapes and sizes.

Other haircuts are more than the haircut. They are a self confidence boost. A new challenge is around the corner and one needs to amass all the resources possible. A new haircut is part of the strategy.

Two inches didn’t seem a lot – it has been a while since the last visit, and I have gone through two fringe chopping moments. I tried to sense where the scissors touched the back of the neck. My neck isn’t long, slender and swan-like. In fact, I challenge anyone to actually find a neck at all. My head is simply perched on my shoulders. It’s best to conceal the absence of a neck with a bit of hair.

She asked me midway through the cut if the hair was feeling lighter. We had talked about the weather, as strangers do. We agreed that yesterday had been a very warm day. She suggested that, with my hair being so thick, I must be feeling the heat. I agreed.

She asked me if I was satisfied with how much she had taken off. Had I actually put my glasses on at this point I might have been able to give an informed opinion. The reflection in the mirror was not crystal clear. I knew I was there somewhere, but I wouldn’t have been able to pick myself out of a police line-up later.

Had I put the glasses on I might have suggested that she put some of the hair back.

She chopped away, snipping here and there, cutting into the side to take away the bulk, and thinning out the fringe. She smiled with delight as the hair went where it was asked to go when she dried and styled it.

The moment of truth always ccmes when I slip the glasses back on. I see things clearly for the first time. Regardless of what I actually think inside, I smile. There have been one or two times in my hairdressing history where the smile deserved an Oscar nomination – it was acting at its best. There have been quite a few moments when the smile really doesn’t do justice to the result – I looked fabulous and felt a million dollars.

That’s the kind of haircut I needed today – the fabulous and feeling a million dollars kind.

That’s not the kind of haircut I got. We haven’t quite descended to a paper bag moment, but it’s not that far from it.

It is not the confident booster I was looking for.

Lamenting to loss of hair, and the all too absent neck left to brave the elements, I was reading Psalm 138:3.

“When I called, you answered me; you made me bold and stouthearted.”

Bold and stouthearted is what I am looking for – and I am glad that it doesn’t come down to a fabulous and feeling a million dollars haircut.

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