Sunday, September 22, 2013

Mirror, Mirror . . .

“Mirror, mirror on the wall who’s the fairest of them all?” Well apparently it’s not me. I realized this one morning as I sat across the kitchen table from my Dad. He looked up at me and said, “You need to get your hair cut today.” Wow! I thought, my Dad never says anything about someone’s outer appearance that is not complimentary; my hair must be REALLY bad.

 And so began the saga of my three-haircut week . . .

 I had just gotten my hair cut two days earlier and I thought it was looking pretty good.  The feud between me and my naturally curly hair has been a long-standing one. I can recall vividly being called “Brillo Pad” in sixth grade which set off the lifelong battle of the curls, well frizz really, in my hair. But truth be told, with the wisdom of my years I have pretty much stopped worrying or caring – that and the wonders of keratin have evened the battle field. So imagine my surprise when suddenly I cared very much what my hair looked like because my dad thought I needed a cut.

Since I was a thousand miles away from my stylist,  Deanna whom I adore, I went to my mom’s salon. Now here’s a tip – unless you are, yourself 80 years old, don’t get your hair cut by an 80 year old who only cuts the hair of his 80 year old clients. Seriously! I left the salon thinking that it wasn’t quite right but that when I got home and washed out the crazy amount of hair spray he’d put on my head, it would be better. It wasn’t.

Thank God my sister was home, and she promptly escorted me upstairs to the bathroom to see if she could fix it. It was like we were teenagers again locked in the bathroom with a variety of hair products in an epic battle against “The FRIZZ!” But even with the modern flat iron and smoothing/straightening products available to us today, it couldn’t be fixed. I could tell by the look on her face reflected in the mirror that hair spray overdose wasn’t the only problem.

Thankfully my sister is pretty smart and immediately looked at me and said, “Who do we know around here with good hair?” It only took a second for us both to shout, “Regina!” Now, Regina is my sister-in-law, and her hair is always perfect!  Within 10 minutes my brother had called Regina’s stylist and begged for an emergency appointment.

This is how it came to be that within 24 hours of my second hair cut in one week, I was on my way to a third appointment.  This was ridiculous, and I was having serious doubts - I mean really, who gets three haircuts in one week?! ?

As I walked into the salon, Regina’s stylist, Dean looked up and said, “You must be Martha.” Really? Was it that obvious? Perhaps I wasn’t being so vain after all. Beth and I laughed and sat down to wait for my turn. A woman waiting in the salon lobby looked at me and bluntly asked, “So did you cut your own hair?” WOW! This was, indeed, an emergency requiring serious crisis intervention.  I was not simply being vain.

I wish I could describe, or had asked Beth to video record the hair cut that rescued me. Dean wielded a holster full of tools with incredible speed and accuracy in a manner that simply looked like a dance. My sister and I sat stunned as he rescued my hair without having to shave my head and loan me a wig. It was truly amazing to be in the presence of a master craftsman in every sense of the term.

My dad, who was, himself, a master craftsman in life, passed away during the week of my three haircuts. I must say that if my dad had been alive to see the results of the third haircut, he probably wouldn’t have noticed or cared. Because really, in Dad’s world view, how important is hair? But I’m quite certain he would have loved to meet Dean. He would have admired his tool belt, and the mastery with which he used the tools of his trade. Dad had a great appreciation for a fellow artist.

I appreciated the fact that when I stood up to honor Dad at his memorial service the day after my third haircut, I didn’t give my hair a second thought. And now when I look at the family pictures taken that day, I’m thankful for a family honest enough to tell me that I needed an “extreme hair makeover”, and for a master craftsman named Dean.


 (c) 09.22.2013 Martha Reed Johnson