A rare moment alone, so I sit in silence, not saying a word. I can do this for hours, perhaps days (have to try that). No music. No TV. Just the sound of the wind outside my window blowing through the trees (whose leaves may never change color since the temps are back in the 80s).
I hate the entire experience.
I hate waiting, flipping through magazines with hair styles I neither like nor have the patience to pull off, or the latest copy of whatever gossipy mags lay about. I hate sitting in the chair, looking at her looking at me in the mirror, discussing what to do with my hair, even though it’s always simple. I hate the always too-tight, uncomfortable, and unattractive smock. I hate having my hair washed, usually by a gum-snapping curly-haired girl. I hate looking at her armpit, clothed or not, while she scrubs bubbles then takes an eternity to get all of them out of my tremendously long tresses. The water’s always too hot, but after three wrist tests and upside-down inquiries, it’s faster, I think, to just go along.
I hate being back in the chair anticipating the small talk I can’t stand. I never go to the same cutter twice (I go to cheapie places since I just need trims) — I don’t want to know about their kids, their vacation plans, or how awful they think the news story that’s blasting on the TV at the back of the room is. I dislike small talk in general, but it’s definitely not fun while trapped in a chair with clips holding my mop on the top of my head as it’s trimmed layer by layer. Besides, I worry when the stylist chats away that her view will skew and my hair won’t be even. Since it’s straight, that’s kind of important, ya know?
I hate the clips that aren’t strong enough to firmly hold my heavy wet hair in place, the smell of Barbicide, and locking eyes with the person two chairs over in the mirror between us, her head slightly down, as her short fuzzes are shorn off her neck. That’s never been done to me, I think. Why do our eyes meet? Because one can only look at themselves and the woman cutting their hair in the mirror for so long, and closing my eyes seems weird.
Wet, cut. Blow dry? No, thanks. I don’t have that kind of free time. Plus the 30 minutes this ordeal takes is long enough. I’d trim the two (to however many) inches off my long locks myself if I could. See: age 13, bangs, promise to never do that again.
Of course, all that’s not why I don’t go to the salon the way some people do (monthly, for hours, gleefully gossiping, and surfacing — engaging only in pleasantries). I don’t have to go that often because my hair is long, which I love. Except when I hate it. See: humidity, mostly.
At this point, it’s the longest it has been in decades, and that’s the question: how long should it be? Just below the shoulder blade — meaning a visit three times a year or so — has been the standard for a while (especially since a shorter, layered disaster in 2010 that I’ll never repeat). But now it’s just below the waist of all my pants. I’ll be able to sit on it soon!
Big girl pants, party of one. Your salon chair is ready… and waiting…