Sunday, September 13, 2015

Adventures in Hair, Flash Fiction Free-For-All, That’s All I Got

Last week, I got my hair cut for the first time in six months. The stylist was a take-control type, which I love. I don’t get my hair cut very often, and usually by the time I find the gumption and energy to make it to a salon, I end up slumped helplessly in the stylist’s chair, too beaten down and demoralized to make any decisions whatsoever about my hair. I don’t want to have an endless, wishy-washy back-and-forth about what I “want”. I have never once known what I want. I expect the cosmetologist to decide these things for me. That’s what they get paid for. To my relief, my stylist Pedro was an alpha, and after a few minutes of eye-squinting, mirror-peering, and hair-fluffing, he told me exactly what we were going to do, and how. I surrendered to his capable hands, and after an hour of obsessive-compulsive precision cutting, he went completely nuts with the blow dryer. He used four different brushes, a flat iron, multiple cans of mousse and gel, and some weird metal contraption I had never seen before. By the time he was done, my hair was in a state of transcendent perfection, and Pedro was beaming at his artistic masterpiece. I could almost hear the angels singing. I paid (handsomely and gladly), walked outside, and with two minutes, got trapped in a sudden, biblical rainstorm. I’m talking flooded streets, rolling thunder, storm drains overflowing, and hail—effin’ hail! I might as well have jumped head-first into Greenlake. My lovingly blow-dried hair was drenched and dripping, and my clothes were soaked in freezing-cold rain. But I want it on record that for two glorious minutes, I achieved hair nirvana.

Then, a few days later, I impulsively decided to dye it for the first time in my life. I bought a box of Feria “Power Red”, but I got really intimidated by the complicated instructions. Mr. Typist, not one to be daunted, encouraged me to venture forth, and we spend a good thirty minutes in the bathroom while he frantically coached me through the process: “You’re not getting enough on the back!!! You need to get the back!! Get the back!!!! Damnit, woman! Get the back!”

After shampooing (twice, as per the stern warning in the instructions), conditioning, and blow-drying, my hair was unnervingly, unevenly R68 Red. Nonetheless, it felt incredibly empowering. I have felt for a while that my hair was getting dull, and I was really, unfeminist-ly down about the encroaching grays, but I was conflicted about coloring it. I felt like that would be a capitulation, unnatural, a giving in. I should be okay with whatever nature has in store for me, but as it turns out, I’m not ready. The simple act of putting dye on my hair made me feel a little more perky and energized. As an added side-benefit, it’s a fun bonding experience with other women. A lot of woman excitedly asked me if I had colored it, what brand of color I used, and then in turn told me all about their dye adventures. It’s good, silly fun, and it brought me a little closer to some acquaintances and co-workers because we had something in common. I find it interesting how making a simple statement with a nine-dollar box of dye generates so much social bonding with other women, but whatever the reason, I’ve been having a grand time of it.

In writing news, I’m working on a new flash-fiction piece while I wait for my saintly friend to copy-edit my novel for no pay, and thinking about what my next major project might be. I still don’t know. I may just resort to a lifetime of writing experimental short fiction at this point. That’s all I got for today, folks, so here’s a video of a hair-less Sinead O’Connor singing “The Foggy Dew”.


Frank Moraes said...

Why Ms McHenry, you're beautiful!

My approach to hair care is: (1) wash when it itches; (2) cut in the bathroom in the middle of the night, half awake, because it has gotten too think and (again) itches. When I go to a professional, I can't believe that they ask me questions. They see me when I walk in. It should be clear that I will accept anything at all. But I appreciate their efforts at professionalism.

I know that I sent you a link to a recent article, Why "Literally" Normally Means "Not Literally." Yet you never commented on it and I wanted your comment because all my readers are a bunch of illiterates. Just kidding! My readers are amazing. But I wanted the input of a great wordsmith like you, so I thought I would publicly shame you here. (Although reading through it just now, it could use a rewrite. Do you know that I write roughly a million words per year on that damned blog?! I really am crazy.)

Although I have an unfinished novel just sitting around begging to be finished, I have started a new novel that combines my two favorite subjects: Don Quixote and me. So it's maybe one-third memoir. If it ever becomes more than fragments, I'll let you know. But I am going back to my original (marginally successful) approach of starting at the beginning. The whole "bouncing around" thing just turned into an anxiety producer every time I think about it.

Kristen McHenry said...

Why, thank you Mr. Curious! I know I completely neglected to get back to you on your article, and then it slipped off my radar entirely because I chose to spend my time reading a ridiculous but highly entertaining Simon Rich novel about God destroying the earth so he could open an Asian fusion restaurant instead of answering boring prayers from mortals. Will read and respond shortly!

I am on a very rigid shampooing schedule. Tonight is a non-shampoo night. Woot!

Frank Moraes said...

I know that I put myself in danger saying this publicly, but I'm not willing to sit idly by and take orders from the Shampoo Cartel. I will rinse, but I will not repeat! You hear that boys?! You know where I live if you want to do something about it!