The Bad Haircut
by Roz Warren
I have an
appalling new haircut.
injured my leg, which made the long drive to my
usual salon out of the question. But my hair was
looking so long and drab that Id begun
wearing a cap to cover it up. So I decided to
duck into the chop shop at the local
strip mall and get myself a quick cheap cut.
possibly go wrong?
Over the years
Id gotten a few perfectly adequate haircuts
there, as well as one truly spectacular cut from
a stylist moonlighting from an upscale salon,
which, because Cheap Cuts was running a special
that day, cost just five bucks.
That, in case
you didnt recognize it, is the Haircut Holy
lucky haircut lightening would strike twice, I
entered the place with high expectations.
This time I
got exactly what I paid for.
was an affable, upbeat, bright-eyed young thing.
it shorter, I told her. But not too
short. Can you cut it so that it falls right
below my ears?
she said cheerfully.
inexplicably, she cut my hair so that it fell mid
ear. The look I was going for was
short and chic. The look I
ended up with was Bozo the clown.
didnt I stop her? Shed told me to
remove my glasses, and I cant see past the
end of my nose without them. She could have been
making preparations to set my hair on fire, and I
wouldnt have known until she lit the match.
setting my hair on fire would probably have
resulted in a better look than the one I ended up
shed finished and I put my glasses back on,
I didnt gasp, scream or curse her out. Im
far too polite. I was in shock. And the damage
was done. The hair was gone. She couldnt
put it back. Speechless, I paid and fled.
The moment I
was out the door I put my cap back on.
Years ago, my
nephew got a haircut that was so abysmal --
uneven, too short, and just weirdly off-putting -
that when he got home he donned his
Phillies cap and wore it nonstop till the
ghastly cut grew out. Just once, when he was
relaxing with a group of trusted pals, they
persuaded him to take it off.
When he did,
they burst out laughing.
continue to wear my own cap until my hair grew
back. Instead I decided to try going about my
life sans cap and see what happened.
invited to my sisters house for dinner.
When she opened the door, she did a
double take, then quickly said, Its
not that bad.
All my brother-in-law
could find to say about my haircut was,
straight guys dont really care about hair.
Unless theyre your husband, and youve
always had dazzling waist-length blond hair, and
then, because you have a new baby and no longer
have time to wash, brush and endlessly untangle
the stuff, one day at the salon you find yourself
saying to your stylist: Just cut it
all off. Id like it to fall just below the
This will make
your stylists day, but, trust me,
itll make hubby miserable.
On the day,
two decades ago, that I myself impulsively went
from having super long hair to having a
manageable cut, my then husband took one look at
me when I got home and wailed, How could
you do this to me?
probably what I should have said to the stylist
who scalped me.
Over the next
few days, everyone noticed my catastrophic coif.
haircut! said my friend Nancy Bea. It
really think so? I asked. Honestly?
she said. But itll grow back.
awkwardly short, said my pal Maria.
But itll grow back.
My friends had
clearly chosen Itll grow back
as my new mantra.
poor thing. But itll grow back.
Thats extreme. But itll grow back.
like my haircut? I asked Joan, a usually
outspoken co-worker at the library where I work,
after a shift in which shed been oddly
wasnt going to say anything
said, But its TERRIBLE! What
the hell happened?
both his parents assured me that it looked
very nice, the terrific five-year-old
I baby sit for took one look at me and said, with
refreshing honesty, Thats ugly.
Having a bad
haircut has given me new insight into the people
in my life. Some, Ive learned, are blunt
but honest: Holy shit! What happened
to you? Others are considerate, bold-faced
liars: Great haircut! You look
terrific! The rest fall somewhere in
between: Fabulous cut! Gee, I hope
youre one of those people whose hair grows
When he saw my
new cut, Mark, the man in my life, said
why hes the man in my life.
It was my
friend Deb whose response was the most
instructive. She didnt say a thing.
When I finally prompted, So how do
you like my hair? she looked at me
for a moment, then said, It looks nice. Is
assumed that my appearance had been so
transformed that just to look my way was a
painful shock for my friends and family. And yet,
it hadnt even turned up on Debs radar.
my awful haircut wasnt such a big deal
returned home, I took a good look in the mirror
and thought, Get over yourself, Roz.
Its only a haircut. Itll grow back.
Then I took
another look and put my cap back on.
published on www.womensvoicesforchange.org