Traditionally, I get my hair cut once a year. I last had it cut in August of 2019, so by the end of quarantine, I looked like a woods witch. When my mother arrived shortly before I was due to give birth, I begged her to chop off my waist length extremely thick hair, so I would not have to go through labor with a fur coat on my head (in the end, I didn’t go through labor anyhow). She quickly descended into the amateur haircut danger zone of “let me just even the other side” and I finally insisted she stop it right before my hair entered the Friar Tuck zone. Still, it did not look good or even intentional in any way. So I was happy to finally go have it fixed.
I have a lot of social anxiety about talking to hairstylists. They are all so incredibly cool, and they are professionally obligated to ask you questions about your life and pretend to be interested in you, so I always feel like I’m back in high school and have been made lab partner with a popular girl who prides herself on being nice even to obvious losers because Jesus. You know the conversation was always like:
Her, knowing full well you did not, but being genuinely baffled as to what someone like you would do over a weekend: “Did you do anything fun over the weekend?”
You, who spent the weekend watching Law & Order reruns with your parents: “You know, I just kind of vegged this weekend, I was really tired, actually.”
Her, generously: “NICE! Girl, those are the best kind of weekends. I know it’s so bad, but sometimes I am at a party, and I’m just like, ugh! All I really want to do is go home and get in bed and watch The Real World!”
You, never having been to a party or watched The Real World: “Totally.”
Her, knowing this is an unkind thing to ask but not knowing how else to have a conversation: “Are you getting into anything fun this weekend?”
You, dying inside, why is she doing this to you?!?!: “Uh, my friend and I might…do something, I don’t know! I don’t know yet, actually.”
Her: “Girl, good for you! Keep your options open! I love it.”
Anyway, this is how I feel whenever I have to make conversation with a hairstylist. I was interested to discover today that now, even though I am fully 40 years old and have a pretty major career and a baby, I still felt like I was forcing my hairstylist to regard me with a sort of tolerant pity for being so unforgivably boring and pathetic in response to her polite queries.
Her, looking amazing and with a sort of effortless self-confidence: “So how was your quarantine?”
Me, sporting Friar Tuck hair, a hormonal acne explosion, and a voluminous $5 jumpsuit from Amazon that’s the only thing that fits anymore with baby spit up on the boobs: “Uh, you know. I just kind of worked a lot, got pregnant. Spent a lot of time with my mom.”
Her, kindly and unconvincingly: “Girl, good for you! Sometimes that’s the best kind of quarantine, you know?”
You had nicer popular girls at your high school than I had at mine.
Having experienced both, I actually vastly prefer open mockery to genuine pity.