Your deep concern for my hair has touched my blonde, processed heart. I finally got to shampoo today and things were a little less Dorothy Zbornak this morning. I curled, I sprayed, I learned about myself and others. If you see me from the back, though, you're probably wondering who took my parachute pants and hugeass wavy earrings. I certainly hope Jenniffer, (yes, two f's, as in ff--k your awful parents, Jenniffer), the stylist who rolled me, trolled me, and blew me dry, is having a good day. Because I AM NOT. She practically got in a slapfight with another stylist over which perm solution to use. This occurred while my hair was doing something Jenniffer called "depolymerization," which involved spraying a substance on my head that, as time passed, created a refreshing thousand-candy-canes-ramming-into-my-scalp sensation. Jenniffer began rummaging around a supply closet as the York Peppermint Patties pressed into my skull. "What are you using?" asked another hairdresser. "Number Three: For Fine And Resistant Hair," said Jenniffer, holding up the box. The other stylist paused. "Why?" I was beginning to further doubt Jenniffer's expertise, a concern that began when I first sat down at her work station and noticed that her cosmetology license was precisely three weeks old. "Her hair is very resistant to perming," she said, pointing to my hair as it lay limp and defenseless in the sink, blonde roadkill on the Vidal Sassoon Road of Life. "She just got a body perm two months ago, and look at it." I think Jenniffer began to sense my discomfort as he led me from the sink back to her workstation, a towel wrapped around my hair (that is the only pure nudity left now: A woman and her non-made-up face, bare before the world.) "Don't worry--we talk shop all the time around here," she said, dumping chemicals over my head. "It wasn't nearly this much fun when I studied computer engineering in college." "I talk shop all the time with my writer friends too," I said. It's true. I can't tell you how many times I've placed an essay on an editor's desk, then as he sat there redlining it picked up the phone, all, "Becca, seriously, how much did that last paragraph suck? I really don't know what I'm doing, do I?" "Hair," Jenniffer said as I sat with my head encased in a gigantic Baggie while the perm processed, "is a big part of my life." I smiled and nodded; so much was clear from her chosen major. It's nothing but combs and mousse when you sidle up to a Dell. And then, from the No Shit category of stylist-customer patter, she added, "Probably it's because I'm from Idaho." Jenniffer gasped as she removed the rollers. "Oh," she murmured. "This turned out gorgeous." Certainly, if you're on your way to a Family Ties taping.
November 7, 2003