Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Bad Hair Day

I went to get a haircut today. Getting a haircut can be a traumatic experience for me for a couple of reasons.

1. My hair is halfway between curly and straight so if it is not cut properly it gets frizzy and I look like a mushroom head.

2. I really dislike making small talk with stylists. When they (inevitably) ask me what I do, they respond in one of two ways. Either utter discomfort at having no idea what a physicist actually does or asking completely arcane metaphysical questions because they have no idea what a physicist actually does.

The only person I've met in Florida who knows exactly how to cut my hair is Allie who is all the way in St. Petersburg, about an hour from my apartment. I simply haven't had the time to go all the way over there for a haircut, so the past two times I have experimented with different salons.

The last time I got my hair cut I went to a salon that I had visited shortly after moving down here. It wasn't fantastic, but I had had worse so I decided to give it another shot. In the three years since I had visited, the clientele had changed dramatically. Living in the South I have gotten used to situations in which I am in the racial minority. But I truly think that a salon has so much cultural association that some gaps just cannot be bridged. Quite bluntly, a nerdy White girl just shouldn't get her hair cut in a Black salon. Wanda was very nice and professional but she just didn't really know what to do with me.

Today I tried something new yet again. Thinking I had to be safe going to Regis, a chain that was still a step up from Great Clips, I made an appointment there. The woman who was assigned to cut my hair barely said hi to me. I took this as a sign that maybe she wasn't into smalltalk, which is more than okay with me. She completely abused my head. Scalding hot water, tugging at my curls, scraping my scalp with her needlelike comb. That wasn't the worst of it. Besides completely annihiliating any length I tried to grow over the last six months, she apparently also didn't hear me when I requested some texturing and shaping. When I was about ask her exactly why she seemed to hate people so much, she asked me a question.

"Are you humphphmph?"

"Um, sorry?"

"Are you a student?" She was extremely quiet and mumbled horribly.

"Oh. Um, yeah. I'm actually a grad student."

"Whamphhumphphph?"

"Physics." I totally guessed at that one. It was the only logical follow up.

"Oh! Do you humphphph mumphphph?" I had no clue.

"Uhhhh, yeah."

"Really?!" Uh oh. "I don't know how you can even do that. I hated it in high school when they made us cut up frogs. They were so slimy and gross."

Oh my God. Did she really ask me if I cut up frogs at my job? I don't know anything about frogs. Cutting them up or otherwise and I'd probably vomit if I had to do it.

"Oh, it's really not that bad," I lied.

"I mean, why didn't they make us cut up chickens? At least I know how to cut up a chicken. And they're not as slimy as frogs. Cutting up frogs is just gross."

This bizarre conversation continued despite my agony until all my hair was cut way too short. I've been asked some weird questions about my work, but this takes the cake.

I'm thinking the hour drive to go see Allie is worth it.

12 comments:

Runner Girl FL said...

Holy Crap!! That is over the top!! Sorry about the hair. You need to start a best of this blog list on the side bar and this needs to be one of them. Sorry about the hair. I have to go walk around and get rid of the cramp in my sides from laughing about the frogs!! But...sorry about the hair. :)

magnetbabe said...

BTW~ Your salon closed. That's why I didn't go there.

mom said...

that's why it's ten years between visits to a salon for me. just let it grow and cut the bangs yourself, it works for me. one of "the young people at work actually asked me last week how i got my bangs to look so cool and shaggy like i did, was it a special kind of cut?

Hot4Teacha said...

Nat - I feel your pain, sista. The salons NEVER know what to do with semi-, quasi-, or really-curly hair. And once the length is gone, it's like a Diana Ross impersonation all the time. Yikes. Hang in there.

Jackie said...

that sucks, I've been protesting the salon since my last mutilation, but reading this, reminded my how out of control my hair has gotten, and I actually stopped half way through to call and book an appoitment for myself, then I came back and almost peed myself when I read the frog part!

You can borrow my motto if you want, "hair grows, hair grows" feel free to repeat this as many times as you want.

mr. schprock said...

Ha! Not know what a physicist does! Imagine!



A physicist is a kind of acrobat, right? With ESP? An acrobat with ESP who can move things with "thought waves"?

Scott said...

My wife is still looking for someone to do her hair right, and we've been here for over a year and a half. I changed to getting my hair shaved to a military-style flat top to avoid all the issues with my dozen cowlicks. Now my wife does it for me, and she is getting quite good at it.

My story is up on my blog--finally. It's good to be done. I'm submitting it to the contest tonight.

Big Feet said...

As my grandma always says..."the difference between a good haircut and a bad haircut is 6 weeks"

brainhell said...

I distinctly remember a mention of frogs in your master's thesis. Ah, here it is: Barium Strontium Titanate, (BaxSr1-x)TiO3 or BSTO is an extremely attractive candidate for many amphibian applications due to its exceptionally high croak, greenish tint, and relatively low-trajectory leap [1.7].

magnetbabe said...

mom~
Isn't that the way it goes? I wish I had such cooperative hair.

hot4teacha~
Don't they teach courses on this sort of thing in salon school? She wanted to blow dry it straight for me. It was 93 and humid. Yeah, right.

jackie~
Mutilation is the perfect word. Us and the frogs have something in common, I guess. Hair grows, hair grows. Thanks, I feel better already.

mr. schprock~
I was trying to think of a whitty comeback, but it's frightening how on the money you really are.

scott~
Military flat top. Hmmm. Maybe that will be my next do. It worked for Kurt Warner's wife and everyone thinks she's hot, right?

big feet~
I love that!

brainhell~
Good to see you are doing your homework! DISCLAIMER: no frogs were actually harmed in the writing of my master's thesis.

Scott said...

Er, no. I don't think women have the same lattitude in this regard.

Runner Girl FL said...

I don't think I know any guys that think Kurt Warner's wife is hot. At least none of my football guys. :)