Recommended wine for today’s entry: 2007 Elk Creek Syrah, from a winery of the same name right here in Kentucky. Those of you out of state might be surprised to find that Kentucky has some popular wineries, but the climate here (moderate winters and hot summers, according to the label) is very conducive to the growing of grapes. This wine received a silver medal at the 2010 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. (The results can be found at winejudging.com.) As the label says, “rich bramble fruits, hints of raspberry, chocolate, and a pleasing oak complexion give way to a warm and full-bodied finish. At about $20 a bottle, it’s a great sip while cheering on EITHER the Louisville Cardinals or the University of Kentucky Wildcats during March Madness. (OK, if you HAVE to cheer for a different team, the wine still will satisfy.)
Many, many years go, when I was a young pup, I was not excellent about speaking my mind. I know that my boss at the time will be happy to know that — I was in sales. And I s’pose that I did negotiate well enough and all, but the second I left the office, I returned to the pliable, maleable mass of worthless spinelessness that led me to be involved in the Worst Haircut Story You’ll Ever Hear.
As I said, I was in sales, so my looks were important. Now I wasn’t a model, nor was I running for public office. But in my little microcosm, it was important to look presentable and professional. And it helped to look like my gender. This was, after all, the 1980s.
While all the other girls had big, giant, poofy hair, I elected to go more for the Jane Pauley shoulder-length bob. Easy to cut, easy to style, and my only choice as my hair had the body and thickness of applesauce. I had been going to a trendy salon in Dallas for about four years, every month: Hello sir, just trim the ends today, here’s a hundred dollars and a hefty tip. Like clockwork.
Until the day my hairdresser had a bad day. This was not just a sorta bad day — apparently he’d either been dumped by his significant other, received hellish health news, thrown a rod on the BMW that I had helped him purchase, or all of the above. This man was having a terrible, awful, very bad day. And he wasn’t trying to hide that fact.
So I let him trap my arms in a little gown and gesticulate wildly while wielding exceedingly sharp scissors.
Well, the first cut — and it was a doozy — was just above my right ear. A huge hunk of hair fell, dead now, on my lap. I remember being startled about just how huge my eyes can get when I’m startled.
Me (in a voice that is weak because there’s throw-up pooling just behind my tongue): Is that my hair? There? On my lap?
Me: Wait! I just want a trim, OK? Let’s just trim it. You know, right there at my shoulders. You know how we always just cut off those nasty, stringy split ends? Let’s just do that, OK?
Him: Well, if you can’t tell, I’ve already started another cut. It’s all the rage in Paris.
Me: What cut? Are you going to leave it short on ONE side?
Him: Yes, then we’ll g-r-a-d-u-a-l-l-y angle it down and leave it shoulder length over here. (He was slowly spinning my chair as he said this, which, as you can imagine, was just taunting the throw-up to spill to the floor of the upscale salon. In retrospect, I wish I’d let it fly.)
Me (With newfound chutzpah born of righteous indignation): Well, in case you didn’t know, this ISN’T PARIS. IT’S FREAKING TEXAS.
Him (Stomping a bit with one hand on his hip and the other one looped through the handle of the scissors): FINE! If you are so stuck in having all-one-length hair, HERE, you’ve got it!!
And he proceeded to cut above the left ear. I guess I should have been glad he didn’t cut my throat, but, as I recall, that was when HIS bad mood entered my body like the evil spirit in The Exorcist. Here I probably startled the ladies who were having their third mani/pedi of the week.
Me: WHAT IN THE HELL ARE YOU DOING TO ME? OH MY GOD, I LOOK LIKE A FREAK. YOU KNOW, MISTER, I KNOW LAWYERS — LOTS OF LAWYERS — MY HUSBAND IS A LAWYER AND I HAPPEN TO KNOW IT’S ILLEGAL IN THE STATE OF TEXAS TO CUT SOMEONE’S HAIR WITHOUT PROPER AUTHORIZATION. AND I MOST CERTAINLY DID NOT AUTHORIZE THIS. I HAVE WITNESSES, TOO. LOTS OF WITNESSES.
Then I sat there, quietly, while he just evened it out a little. That involved a lot of time with a razor on the back of my neck, about an inch from my jugular vein.
But I didn’t talk to him, because I was really, really pissed.
When he finished, I paid him a hundred dollars, gave him a hefty tip (because I am admittedly spineless), and dragged myself to my company car. I sat there, looking in the rearview mirror, wondering if I could sue the hairdresser for loss of consortium, because there was no way my new husband was going to find me even remotely attractive for quite some time.
Well, when the going gets tough, the tough get going: I put it in gear and I went to the liquor store.
For whatever reason, I decided that if I drank a beer — no, shotgunned a beer (I’d seen it on TV that very week) — I would feel better. Then I could face my adoring husband with my new look. And I’d decided on a new name to go with it. From now on, I’d be Butch.
Here’s how it went down: 1) Bought Coors tall boy; 2) Sat in new company car with absorbant cloth seats; 3) poked hole in the can (Please don’t be distracted wondering why I had a can opener in my car. I was a professional salesperson.); 4)turned can upright and 5) popped the top of the beer. Just like on TV.
Except I couldn’t lift the can above my head far enough to get the now-spewing hole to my mouth, because my hand hit the roof of the car. So as I opened the pop top, it sprayed me, with amazing velocity, about the face and head, all while the bottom of the can was draining a puddle onto the crotch of my suit.
The small amount of beer that wasn’t sprayed on me was quickly absorbed by the roof and bench seats of the company’s Oldsmobile.
Now sobbing uncontrollably, I headed home. I was doused in beer AND my eyes were swollen and my nose was red. A fine complement to Butch’s hair.
I tried to sneak in the back door, to make myself presentable before my husband had to see this. If we’d had cell phones then, I could have prepared him, but no such luck. I parked in the driveway, snuck to the door and, for the first time in our two years in the house, the screen door was locked.
So I knocked.
Him: Oh my, look at you. (Silence) Look at you, look at you.
Him: I … you know, I like it.
Him (babbling now, busily hiding the knives and razor blades): Really, Ash. I mean, how could I not like it? You look just like me.
The second attempt at shotgunning was more successful. And for the record, it doesn’t make everything better…