Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Little (beauty) shop of horrors

Bruce and I used to cut each other’s hair. I still cut his, but he came to the conclusion that he’d rather pay to have mine cut by somebody who knows what they are doing. Living on the road full-time in an RV makes it a challenge to find a beautician who fits that category.

The beauty salon I patronized for fifteen years where we used to live in Ohio is always reliable when we’re there. My sister-in-law’s beautician in Illinois does a superb job and always manages to fit me in when we are visiting there. My regular barber in south Texas always manages to send me out looking good throughout the winter season.

My problem is where to get a haircut between Ohio, Illinois and Texas. Yes, you guessed it: at Walmart. Most of their stores include a "Smart Style" beauty salon which offers far more in beauty treatments than I could ever make use of. But, when my bangs grow down over my eyes and my cowlicks begin to curl in unflattering directions, I will take advantage of their services for a haircut.

There’s always a certain amount of risk involved, however. I’ve had very attractive haircuts at Walmarts in Pennsylvania and Kansas. But, at a Walmart in Virginia, I came out of the shop looking as if someone had turned a bowl over my head and cut around the bottom.

Last night I was looking quite shaggy again so I took a chance at a Walmart here in north Texas where we are parked for a few days. I signed in and noticed two names ahead of mine. The beautician came immediately and invited me to her chair. I mentioned that there were two persons ahead of me, and she said, "Oh, they’re out there shopping somewhere so I’ll do you right away." As I was getting settled into her chair, both of those "shopping folks" came back in for haircuts. Of course, they had priority and I sat down to wait.

And wait I did! It only took 15 minutes to do the boy’s cut according to his very specific instructions, but his mother’s re-styling – and gossiping – required a full half hour. Thank goodness for a good book on my smart phone to fill up the time. Forty-five minutes after I arrived, I finally got to sit down in the beautician’s chair.

She was a chatty sort, not only with me but with nearly everybody who came by. Finally, an hour after I arrived, she began my haircut. I had showed her pictures Bruce had taken of a really good haircut I’d had recently. Whether she looked at them or not I do not know.

From the first snip, my anxiety began to grow. She worked fast; so fast I felt she was paying more attention to our conversation than to what she was doing on my head. My hair had been shaggy, but not really long. As she snipped and clipped away on my straight, graying locks, there was an awfully large quantity of hair slipping down over my shoulders to the floor.

About ten minutes later, she was done. She handed me a mirror so I could check out the results. Oh my gosh! Staring back at me from her hand mirror was a peeled onion I did not recognize!

"Well, what do you think of it?" she asked confidently.

How do you tell someone that the hair is much too short; please put an inch of it back on? I mumbled something like, "I guess it will be OK," and went to pay my bill. She accepted my half price coupon – but, even so, I didn’t get my money’s worth!

It will grow out again, I guess. In the meantime, I’m staying inside, and away from public view. It reminds me of an old camp song we used to sing:

"I know how homely I are; my face it ain’t no shining star,

But I don’t mind it because I’m behind it. The fellow out front gets the jar!"