My first memory of getting a haircut is of a smiling man with a neat beard and Daddy sitting next to me, telling me Not. For all I know, my dad marched in there and growled, “What do little girls like to eat?
” At which point the terrified man behind the counter probably said, “Strawberry! And since it never occurred to Daddy to pick me up and show me the various options, I didn’t even know there were more than three flavors of ice cream until I was about five, which is when I learned about the glories of the mighty pistachio.
Imagine a really butch woman without access to a talented hairstylist.
Back when I was a kid, it was the basic Modern Indian Working Woman Haircut.
Short and unfussy, you could probably come out looking freshly barbered on the other side of a tornado.
The only people who ever complimented me on the results of that disastrous trip to the salon were my mother, the nice Chinese lady who’d followed my mother’s instructions against her better judgment, and a teacher of mine who sported that exact same boxy cut.
A round of socializing with the family, friends and random passersby is interspersed by her communing with nature.
It’s a different kind of magic but one thing remains the same: we have a standing date anytime either one of us cuts our hair. I’ve always wondered if the “you can do it all” theory, the Superwoman tag, was geared toward men just as much as women.My face gets red, my throat chokes up, tears flood my eyes, I start breathing heavily – all symptoms, in fact, of my primitive rage. When I was seven, for instance, my mother persuaded me to get a “smart crop”.Unfortunately, this turned out to be code for what you might recognize today as the Stereotypical Lesbian Crop.Call me a diva but I did appreciate looking like a middle aged schoolteacher whilst still in the second grade.I ended up throwing a temper tantrum in the middle of the salon, whereupon my mother promptly ordered an emergency pedicure for herself and banished me to the reception area where I spent the next fortyfive minutes cooling my heels, seething in fury, and frightening the rest of the clientele with my panting rage while tugging fiercely at my hair in an effort to make it come out of my head a little faster.It grew and grew, curling into loose ringlets that charmed my mother so much, she forgot I was a baby and not her doll. The reasonable explanation is that it somehow got jumbled up with a scene from one of those Westerns my brother was addicted to, but reasonability’s a party pooper so who cares what it has to say? my father used to take me to an ice cream parlor that resembled an Old West Saloon.