No, I didn’t spend my winter in Jamaica. No, I haven’t spent lots of time in the sun. Yes, I did get my hair colored. What, you’re shocked? Guys actually do that? Well, child, sit down, take out a nice piece of jerky to chew on, and prepare thyself for a story. Our story has no hero, no villain, and little climax (much like a Catholic nun), so calling it a story is a little bit of semantical crime. Mom never raised me to break the law, but sometimes, dammit, you gotta be like Cameron from Ferris Bueller’s and take a stand. Sure, this isn’t as cool as driving a friggin’ Ferrari, but I don’t have access to one of those. They’re so choice.
I used to have brown, boring hair. Now I have blonde, boring hair. It’s straight and thin, and has had the same part since the Carter Administration. The color change occurred during Thanksgiving break of 1997, oh so many moons ago. My Dallas Cowboys, the last bastion of good ol’ womanizing and substance abuse, had been embarrassed on national television, and I was f a tad peeved. Normally, I solve this problem by throwing heavy objects, cursing many of the world’s holy powers, and yanking on my hair. Lucky for me, I had some serious hair growth, as I hadn’t gotten a haircut in quite a while. On the unfortunate side was my lack of a car, which meant that for a haircut I would have to accompany my mom and sister to their beauty salon.
Ok, just a word or two about beauty salons: I normally get my hair cut at a barber shop. A real barber shop, where the guy doesn’t speak English that well, mostly uses an electric razor, tells me that the weather is pretty good regardless of what it’s really like, and just cuts my hair. He also does a nifty spin when switching from one side of my head to the other. One time, here in Berkeley, I decided that a salon visit was necessary, as college was supposed to be about expanding my horizons. Expand they did, when I had to check in with a maiter-d’ type person to reserve a hair cut person. She recommended Dominique, who charged a hefty $75 and insisted that I order a bottle of 1978 White Zinfandel. I pretended I didn’t speak English and just shrugged my shoulders and tried to smile and nod my head. I considered ordering an appetizer, but balked when I saw the menu. After being escorted by the arm the entire 3 feet from the waiting area to my chair, I met my “Hair Engineer” for the afternoon. I said, “Please cut my hair.” He/ She (the jury is still out on this one, which is a bad, bad sign) obviously heard, “Please wash my hair with the extra expensive shampoo, then blow it dry with your mouth, and give me the most costly haircut you can. Oh yeah, and then expect a 75% tip.” Interesting how much the English language differs between .people. The point of this silly little episode is that I don’t care much for hair salons.
Back to the not-really-a-story-by-definition: here I was, back at a salon for a haircut. I do have to admit, the cut was superb. I wasn’t bleeding, which was a good start, and I didn’t have any hair in my mouth, which was nice. Then the trouble started; the salon lady said, “You know, you would look good with some blonde streaks.” My mom, previously inconspicuous and reading a National Enquirer under one of them there upright hair dryer chairs, echoed this claim. She had been after me to do this for a while (oh, about 20 years to be exact), and here was her chance to strike.
The next thing I knew, my head was being covered in a Pilgrim type hat made out of Saran Wrap. Not pleasant. Then the salon lady took what appeared to be a sharp, pointed orthodontal instrument and poked holes in my new hat, pulling out strands of hair and poking my head as hard as possible. Bleeding, previously absent, now seemed to be making a surprise appearance. Finally, the hell ended, and the lady exited, stage left, to brew some sort of evil concoction. Unfortunately, it was for me, and she returned and spread what appeared to be mud mixed with clay and mayonnaise on my noggin. This smelled really, really bad, much like a Co-op. Before I could say, “I DON’T WANT TO LIVE THIS WAY!,” I was under one of those previously mentioned hair dryer things. Frightening machines they are: you lose all contact with the outside world while the white noise slowly hypnotizes you into brain dead drooling. After ten minutes, I was pulled free from my seat and had my new head of hair rinsed. I was blonde: really, really blonde.
I’m not as upset as I was at first. I’ve grown to like my new hair. It’s better than being bald. Still, if my mom wanted to get me a life changing gift, she could have gotten me the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. But she meant well, as did the lady who handcuffed me to the salon chair while she spread the condiment mixture on my head. I can live with myself and my new blonde hair if you can. So stop making fun of me and pointing, I can see you fuckers.