I’ve gone to the same hairstylist my mother went to before I was born, which is how I like it. I’m a creature of habit with deep-rooted trust issues regarding my coif. Strangers touching my tresses sends shivers up my spine, but besides the trim, I enjoy the familiarity of conversation between the stylist and myself.
Like a well-rehearsed play, every appointment we perform our parts and recite the correct lines. Without further adieu, here is a snippet of our routine … enjoy!
Taming of the Mane
“Captain America Loves Candy”
A blustery Florida day in November.
The interior of a small hair salon. Pictures of Elvis Presley and a Marilyn Monroe calendar adorn the walls. There is a large mirror, that is coated with dried on hairspray.
The STYLIST, a flamboyant man in his late forties, is chatting on the phone while teasing the locks of an elderly PATRON. LAURA, an average young woman, enters with windblown tresses pulled back in a sloppy ponytail.
STYLIST. Hey girl, I’m running behind! (He shouts as he covers the receiver with his free hand.) Just take a seat and I’ll be right with you!
STYLIST. So anyway, I was trick-or-treating with the little ‘rugrats’ while John and Steph walked behind with the stroller. (He continued, after hanging up the phone.) And their kids had no etiquette, ya’ hear?!? (PATRON nods) They were shoving their greasy little paws in the bowls of candy, and I had to be like, no! You had enough, ya’ hear?!? (He continues to tease hair, PATRON nods) I was Captain America this year, and after the kids went, I was like, “Trick-or-Treat!” They were like, “You too? Are you doing it for the kids?” and I was like, “Heck no! I’m doing it for ME, I want some candy!” Ya’ hear?!?!
He’s done with PATRON’s hair, and she gets up and pays. STYLIST continues to talk.
The houses by the lake were really good this year! I got, like, half a bag of candy! It was the good stuff, too, ya’ hear? (PATRON nods and leaves, while STYLIST reaches for a pack of cigarettes, he addresses LAURA.) What did YOU do for Halloween? I went trick-or-treating! I’m gonna smoke and be right back … get comfy! (LAURA smiles as STYLIST exits. THE LIGHTS FADE TO BLACKOUT.)
“Chemo and Boyfriends”
Same setting. LAURA’s head is in the sink. STYLIST is shampooing and conditioning her hair. He shouts over the running water.
STYLIST. Girl, you got some thick hair! Just like your mama! You know the doctors gave my dad three months to live. (LAURA offers genuine sympathy.) Yeah, my mom called right before I was going to go out to the movies with friends … I was going to see Wreck-It Ralph … have you seen that one? (LAURA shakes her head.) You should, it’s pretty good! Anyway, she called and told me about my dad, and I was like, “wow” I mean, “I can’t go to the movies now.” Anyway, he’s back on chemo now.
LAURA’s hair is now thoroughly cleansed, and STYLIST escorts her to the styling chair. He continues to prattle on while combing through her tangled locks.
STYLIST. So how have you been? Did you meet any nice guys at Flagler?
LAURA. Everything’s been good, I’m looking forward to Christmas break and‒
STYLIST. Well, I’m seeing someone new! He’s older than the others, 24, so that’s good. This one, doesn’t have a criminal record, and he’s not always drunk, ya’ hear?!?! It’s a nice change! He has a job, and everything, but he’s kind of a nerd. Not like what I usually go for at all. But like I said, he has a job and everything, but man, he’s kind of boring. It would be nice if he had more personality, ya’ hear?!?
LAURA. Well, sometimes boring is good. I know that I‒
SYTLIST. I hear ya’! He just needs more personality, or something! He’s not even that cute! (He begins to chop the ends of LAURA’s hair. THE LIGHTS FADE TO BLACKOUT.)
“The Big Mac Diet”
Same setting. STYLIST is still trimming LAURA’s mane, and there is a pile of her locks on the ground. Despite the loss of length, her hair looks virtually identical to when she first walked in.
STYLIST. Well, you’re such a good kid, you never do anything wild or fun … but you should! When I was your age, I was always going out someplace, and living it up! I’ve gained so much weight, though … when I was your age, I was tight! (He indicates his pudgy midsection.) I didn’t gain weight till I was thirty, then, it just piled on all of the sudden. Have you lost weight, because you look good! (LAURA thanks him.) I already told my mom, that when I go up for Thanksgiving … you know how I always go on my diet the first of November, and can usually lose about 15 pounds? Well, I told her, “Just don’t say anything!” I haven’t lost any weight, ya’ hear?!?! I can lose weight when I want, but I just don’t enjoy it! I mean, I would not eat breakfast, eat whatever I want for lunch, even a Big Mac! For dinner I would have to drink, like, 8 glasses of water and eat a can of green beans! That was it! (He unpins LAURA’s smock, and she stands up.) You’re done! It’s good to see you munchkin! (He hugs LAURA.)
After she pays, the next PATRON enters. LAURA exits, while STYLIST reaches for his cigarettes.
STYLIST. I’ll be with you soon, girlfriend, I just gotta have a quick smoke, ya’ hear?!?! (He exits salon. THE LIGHTS FADE TO BLACKOUT.)
Thus concludes the performance, which is a disturbingly accurate portrayal of my appointments with the hair stylist I trust with trimming my coif. It is just humorous, to me, that our conversations never alter.
Although we grow older, and boyfriends come and go, it is refreshing to know your part in the show.