As stated previously, there is no such thing as a free haircut. I'll premise my proof with a few words about my opinion page photo. The conservative doo you've been seeing is misleading. After that bizarre, short-hair stage I went through, I launched “Operation Repo.”
The Tea Partiers can have their country back; I just want my hair back!
That photo was taken several months after I had shaved my head for a short film role, but hair-nostalgia soon got the best of me and my trusted, long-time stylist, Monica. Tiring from fruitless attempts to dissuade me, she said if I was determined to reclaim my life-long shaggy look, I might as well go all the way with one long length instead of a return to the ghost town of Mulletville.
She clearly thought me imbecilic (I've been called worse!) for not staying with the short look she swore made me look 10 years younger, but trimmed me up and wished me Godspeed.
After 12 school years of Beatle bangs followed by 35 years of mullets of varying degrees, I was in quest of the Holy Grail: the ponytail. For more than a year I've been inching toward it, often wearing the Bret Michaels headband to compliment the thinning front, while the sides and back kissed my shoulders and flirted with my back. My hair was longer than ever before and only months from gold.
And then one Saturday evening in March, a common group of friends again razzed my lengthening locks — particularly the sides, where the headband indentation accentuated the distinctive “poofiness.” I've had that thick, two-tiered side hair since my teens when I came to Cody and baseball teammate Dave Beemer called me “Ponderosa Pine.”
But I was totally at peace with it. My future ponytail was a work-in-progress, and soon I'd be past that in-between stage Monica warned me about. They continued the derisive critique though, and one gal, (we'll just call her Phoebe) uttered that fateful offer: “Hey, I'm cutting his (her boyfriend, who we'll call Chandler) hair tomorrow. Let me ‘trim' yours too; we'll all have a little wine, order a pizza and have a haircut party.”
The five of them were united, with Chandler promising if I just let her thin the sides, he'd quit calling me “Mushroom Head.”
They threw around that word, “free” haircut, and the deceptive, “… not one bit shorter; just not as bulky.” Finally when I heard the seductive, “It will probably look even longer once it's thinned out,” I acquiesced.
The next day as I watched Phoebe trim Chandler's simple-to-cut, Beaver Cleaver hair, I tried to back out. Again she insisted my precious length wouldn't be tampered with, so when Chandler vacated the chair, I walked to it like a lamb to the shearing.
She began gently, but soon those scissors sounded like swords flailing through the air, hair clumps landing heavily on my shoulders. I jokingly feigned panic, but when I glanced around and saw the fading smiles and widening eyes, I sensed life as I knew it had just changed.
Then I really freaked out when Phoebe stopped, studied my head and actually offered the scissors to Jen and Linda with, “Hey, if anyone else wants to cut some, I won't be offended.” WHAT? Three people you never want to hear that from are a dentist, urologist and anyone trimming your hair!
An ashen Jen — almost as if feeling pressured — slowly took the scissors and a few quick snips of her own.
Long story (and hair) short, I looked into Chandler's bathroom mirror and saw something resembling my mullets of old … except this one a really bad mullet. I gasped but stifled a scream, sparing my good friend Phoebe's well-intentioned feelings. After all, cutting hair isn't her regular job and she never claimed to have a degree in long-hair restoration.
I said as little as possible, but when I ran into friends Scott and DeAnna on my home, they howled with a pitiful delight. The first thing DeAnna was a dear to point out was “The right side is over an inch shorter than the left.”
Free haircut, my keester! After weeks of hysteria from nearly everyone I knew, and an awkward chance encounter with Monica, I allowed another stylist I'd met to take a stab. She warned me there was no salvaging what length remained, but I made her try. After a $15 re-trim, it didn't look much better — only shorter. My ponytail dream had ended.
Next week I'll return to Monica and beg her forgiveness for straying. I know we'll have to start over, but if she agrees to take me back, I promise I'll never again look for it free on the streets when I can pay for it from a real pro!