Apologies for the ridiculous post title but it’s just too apropos, considering that the thing making me most nervous right now is not my impending departure from New York for parts unknown, but rather my hair’s impending departure from my head to the garbage.
Today I stopped in to see a fancy stylist for a consultation / therapy session, which I insisted on having before confirming the actual haircut appointment. I needed to get her assurance that my face can handle what I have in mind… which is Demi Moore in Ghost but with heavier 1960s sideburns. (The heart wants what it wants.)
I haven’t had short hair since 1987, when I was forced into a unibrow-framing pixie-meets-mullet just before starting third grade. As I confessed to the stylist (she was very patient), I still remember the painful walk through the athletic field to the blacktop on the first day of school, and the trauma of having nowhere to hide when I lined up for the morning bell outside my new classroom. I can still feel the burn of the cheeky grin from the boy who had harbored a crush on me the year before. With three decades’ worth of retrospect I can see that he may have been smiling out of adoration rather than mockery, but at the time all I could think was that I looked like a hideous boy and that my quest for popularity was now doomed.
Well, I don’t particularly like long hair anymore and for years I’ve been toying with the idea of going super-short. The fear of reliving my third grade shame has always held me back, but now that I’m leaving the country in a few weeks, I see an opening. After the stylist reassured me seven different ways that I’d look just fine channeling early 90s Demi Moore, I beat back a rush of serious nausea and booked my haircut appointment for the day before I leave for Senegal. If my hair turns out terribly, I’ll just have to avoid people I know for 24 hours, and then forgiving anonymity will be mine for as long as it takes to grow it all back.