Jess' wedding is this weekend, and I decide that, as school has been kicking my butt recently and I really want to look good in the inevitable bevy of pictures that will be taken, this will be my week of grooming. On Sunday I get a pedicure. On Tuesday, Jess and I go shopping. And today, I go to get highlights.
I have actually gotten highlights before, albeit years ago, and I loved them but haven't had the energy to put the time and money into it since then. (Seriously, three hours in a barber chair is not my idea of a good time, especially after seven and a half hours of teaching.)
So I make an appointment with Linda, the stylist my mother has spent months raving about, skip out of school a wee bit early, and land at the salon around 1:30.
Linda is waiting for me, foil and combs on a little rolling cart. "What do you want done?" she asks.
I'm ready, too. "Highlights," I say, "subtle ones-- probably dark blonde."
"Okay. You want a trim, too?"
"Yep-- an inch, no more than an inch and a half."
"Okay," she says.
Look, I have complete and utter faith in people that I am paying to do me a service-- painting my toes, finding me a shirt in another size, whatever. I trust them to know what they're doing and not totally mess me up.
But after Linda takes the foil out of my hair and washes out the dye, she takes me back to the chair and starts cutting.
And cutting some more.
And I watch her in the mirror, my eyes widening with horror as my hair-- the hair that I have been deliberately growing out for the last year, the hair that is (was) the longest I've worn it since high school-- falls in tufts to the floor.
Linda takes a handful of hair, looks at it with a critical eye, and snip snip. Another inch.
Every so often, she puts the scissors down and picks up the comb, and I relax, thinking, "Okay, she's done." But no-- she puts down the comb and picks up another pair of scissors, and snip snip. Good-bye, long pretty hair.
It gets better. She finally puts down the scissors for good and says, "Okay, now I'm gonna put the color in."
I meekly follow her to the washing station, and she grabs a bottle of chestnut-colored goo and begins slathering it all over my hair. "You want a deep conditioner?" she asks, her hands not-quite-so-full of my hair as they would have been fifteen minutes ago.
"Why not?" I sigh.
After she washes out the goo, we return to the chair, and she starts to blow dry my hair. Twice, she turns off the hair dryer and picks up the scissors. Snip snip snip.
Finally, it seems she's done. "You like?" she asks, holding up a mirror so I can see the back of my head as well as the front. "I took out all that old red and made it light brown instead. And I put in honey-colored highlights."
Okay, I'll be totally honest-- I do like it. It certainly looks more elegant than my previous, grown-out-dye, hasn't-been-cut-in-months look.
But oh! My hair doesn't swing across my back anymore! Instead, it sits sadly just below my shoulders.
As I drive home, I call my mother. "So, uh, about Linda?" I say.
"Yeah? How did it go?"
"Um, well, I told her to trim an inch, and... she did whatever the hell she wanted."
My mother is silent for a moment. "Yeah, that's kind of what she does," she finally says. "I guess I should have told you that before." She pauses. "But I bet it looks great!"
I look in the mirror again when I get home. Yeah, it totally does.