Ode to the Cosmetologist
It's a huge deal, deciding, as a woman, to cut all your hair off and possess yourself enough to throw away the blanket of dead skin cells that hides your face from the rest of the world.
I was standing outside of Kroger, packing groceries into my car when I thought about how heavy my head was, and what affected me enough to keep dragging an extra pound of weight every day. Honestly, I'm still not sure what does, but I knew I had severed my attachment with these little possessive-beings of fine strands long ago.
So, I step into a Wal-Mart Sunday at 4p.m. and shuffle my way into the SmartStyle, whose sign resembles a Long John Silver's. The lady helping me was aggressively forthcoming and unafraid to offer her advice although I had no desire to hear it. Her hair looked wet and smoothed back, but I think the wetness came from a product she used, nothing else. From the top, it looked like a wet greasy wave that has never caught any surfers, and the back was a mottled riptide of blacks, purples, and blondes exquisitely collected by a rhinestone hair tie.
At the black leather salon chair, she grilled me with jargon I had no clue what it meant; "do you want layers? Maybe a blunt or choppy cut that's a little gamine?" The heat from the bulbous lightbulbs lining the top of the mirror beat down on me as the interrogation unfolded and reached the climax of me saying: "uh, just cut it all off?" With that, there were no more questions, just a quizzical look insinuating that what I wanted was not what I should be wanting.
Calloused by the number of bad haircuts that have been requested by her customers, she did what I wanted anyhow, and was surprised it didn't look that bad. While I was sitting in the chair and my head got lighter by the chop, the muffled sound of the Bee Gee's Stayin' Alive came on to fuel my confidence and add a little funk to the room to match the smell. I knew anybody could tell by the way I use my walk when I leave here, that I was a woman free of unnecessary weight. And damn straight, whether people think I’m a brother, or whether they think I’m a mother with this new haircut, I’m stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive.
My hair strung across the floor and at the moment my chair spun around, I felt lighter. The world would embrace me with hesitant arms because part of my head was shaved and I was a woman, but I didn’t give a fuck because I was light and free. A handful of expectations people had of me were shed, as well as the physical load that would be swept up along with everybody else who wanted to shed a pound or two that day. It would all be quickly swept and mixed together in the dust pan, to be dumped out together at the end of the night because it was a beautiful person’s job to unburden me.
About the Author: Kyra Hill is currently a college student and writer awaiting admission to graduate school. She is fond of odes and climbing boulders, as well as writing odes to boulders. She also loves threatening to fight people despite never having fought a person.