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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

On Hair and Hearts

I don't get my hair cut every six weeks.
Not even every six months. I have a bit of a bizarre relationship to my hair- I don't like to shower, blow dry, product, or fuss. I can't be bothered. Still, I want the option, and I want it done right. I would rather hack into it myself than trust it to someone who is going to get it all wrong, and then watch me suffer while my hair grows a quarter of a millimeter every solar eclipse.

But I'm sort of opinionated and passionate about hair. When I was a teenager, I wanted to go into cosmetology at the high school, but my mother told me in no-nonsense low german that there were better things to do with one's lifetime. (she hasn't had a hair cut since 1954, I think. I should have probably checked the source of the advice before I caved to it...)

In my lifetime, at a rate of one hair cut every half year or so.... I've met three outstanding hair persons. One was back-in-the-day when I could be selfish and hip and get my hair cut at Edward Carriere with the fancy uptown people with the stellar hair trends and runway type clothing. We would listen to Leonard Cohen moan in the background while envisioning the whisper thin stylists snorting cocaine in the ladies room. My stylist had a plain name like "Helen" or "Susan", and I always thought about the contrast between her name, which was reminiscient of girdled Mennonites in Silver fields, and the cutting edge modern world in which Sue-Helen worked in. And it fit. Sue-Helen certainly didn't swish about in a girdle and thick brown nylons, but she had a sensible mind. She didn't really resonate with the fickle people around her whose main concern was whether they were thin enough, trendy enough, and where the hippest party was going to be that night. And although she didn't point that out to me, it was obvious because I could see her heart through her eyes, and in her choice in conversation.

After we moved to Brandon, I suffered from bad-ass-haircut-itis for the first few years or so. (ah, yes.... such lean years....) Then I met Suzanne. Suzanne is one of those people who gives you the impression that she has been staring longingly out the front window of her shop, hungering and thirsting for your bi-annual appearance. I would go in expecting a hug, a scalp massage, a kick-ass haircut, and an intense therapy session- All swathed and padded in loving compassion and empathy. We talked about women and their bodies, loving God, growing up Mennonite, our family histories, and life in and out of the church. It was Suzanne who taught me most clearly about living life with passion. About loving people outside of the constraints and guidelines of the organized church, utterly between your heart and the God you love. Boy, that was refreshing.

Then we moved again. And I resorted to cutting my own hair again. Ugly, yes. Affordable, yes. I prefer to laugh at my own attempts to bastardize my hair than to be annoyed at someone I paid hard earned dollars to do it for me. But in September of '07, I stuck my neck and scalp out again and entrusted them to a fella named Kyle. He was here for a short time, between cutting famous heads in Vancouvar and jetting off to Australia to learn stuff at Hillsongs. And Kyle was brilliant. He was incredibly gifted with the scissors, he had a humble attitude, and he had such a beautiful heart. I was sitting in the presence of something rare, and I knew it. I didn't get enough time listening to his heart to be able to categorize it. I only know that here was a person who had asked big questions and lived some pretty tough confusions in his short life, and yet he had a hunger and a wisdom and a peace that was waaaay beyond his years. My haircut experience with him was nothing short of inspirational.

So, here I am six months later. The hair has grown about a tenth of a millimeter now, but the haircut I got was so well done that it continues to work as it grows out.

The bigger truth is that everyone has influence. And some of the professions have more influence than one might think.

Do you think it's possible that just this once, my mother might have been wrong?!!
Well, I'm off to Scientific Marvel School of Aesthetics now. Right after I get my degree in design so that I can generate income by making something out of nothing. Then I'm going to finish my University degree so that I can stop calling myself a loser. Then I'll publish a book and go off on a book signing tour.

Nah.... Maybe I'll just lock myself in the bathroom with a pair of sewing scissors, and talk philosophy to myself in the mirror.

I best take care not to use the pinking shears.


Heather said...

I am glad I am not the only one. I too am too opinionated about my hair and would rather hack it myself than trust someone else to mess it up (and boy have they ever.) I KNOW my hair and no one ever believes me. Sigh. I like a flirty blunt cut that follows my jaw line but my kids sigh when I cut it and long for me to wear it long and up in a bun. And so here I am letting it grow long and thick again (mine grows too fast to get away with 6 weeks appointments if I did try to do it) and having to deal with thick wavy broken hair so my kids get the joy of seeing it up. It won't be long before I get out the scissors and break my children's hearts by chopping it off.

mmichele said...

i did the 'cut my own' thing for years (for a special treat, i'd get my sister to do it... she's no cosmetologist either.)

i finally started going back for 'real' haircuts this past year and i must admit it is one of my greatest guilty pleasures. it's too expensive and i can't truly afford it but i confess i love it.

and the cut before last, i went for 6 months as well and never got desperate. it's a treat.

hmm... you've inspired me. i may just have to do my own hair post.

it's a gong show... said...

you are a brave soul! i wouldn't go near my hair with a pair of scissors in fear of what the end result would be. what's that you say? bald is "in"?

Anonymous said...

September,2006. I had become quite proficient in thinning my own hair with those nifty thinning shears. After enjoying a couple of particularily good hair weeks, I sensed that the time had come for more thinning shear therapy. I grabbed the scissors, a hunk of hair, aimed right at the roots, and cut. It sounded different. It looked different. I had used the wrong scissors. Horrified, I wondered if I could possibly glue the hair back on my head. Then our brother Ken died. I booked a flight to Manitoba, asked my sisters to book a haircut for me, and headed off to see people - some of which I had not seen in years.
Joyce to the rescue. She gave me a marvelous do. Or about as marvelous you can get with part of your hair being 1/4 of an inch long. I didn't need another cut in months, and I felt downright cute at times. Thanks, Joyce.

joyce said...

Brand- you know I did get quite a lot of compliments for the bald look. And it sure was a quick anti-lice treatment. More people should hear of it. No chemicals, no mess, very little time.

Thanks Laura. You're a peach. Are you buttering me up for my upcoming trip to your house? I'll try and remember to pack my rotary cutters... Maybe there's a new technique for that!

Roo said...

i once visited a "stylists-in-training" studio in the big, big city. the cost was what caught my eye at $5 a hair cut. it proved to be a session i shall never forget. nor shall i ever return again.


Anonymous said...

i cut Ty's(son) hair yesterday using 5 different guard settings. i then called my hairdresser to say how much i took her for granted and much i appreciate her haircuts, which she makes look so easy. i butchered my son, can't imagine what i would do to myself. :) Melissa

Leanne said...

Interesting topic because Leah gave me a kick ass haircut last night. (The answer to life's problems involves a sister in law who is also an amazing hair stylist.)
Check my blog later tonight for the "after" pictures :)

Judy said...

My husband cuts my hair.

He works holidays.

Thanksgiving morning, Christmas party eve, ahhhh, it's wonderful.

He doesn't do eyebrows though, and goodness, do I have those lately.

Leanne said...

So...I just noticed your 'other' blog on your profile - what must one do to get an invite?

Brenda said...

I just visited your blog for the first time and loved this post ... and your observation that “some of the professions have more influence than one might think." I agree!. For me though, it might be more the person than the profession: I've had hair stylists I'd discuss compare family anecdotes with ... and there are others where I'd limit the topic to my split ends! Anyway, thanks for sharing your story here; I enjoyed it!