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The Goddess Speaks

Jeri Gertz

Hair havoc emanates
from procrastination

Every so often I like to offer unsolicited and unreliable opinions in the area of personal grooming. Let's chat about hairdressing. It's strange to call it dressing, as the object of the activity is not putting things on, but rather taking things off, mainly split ends and dead weight. I know it is a good idea to trim regularly, but I never seem to keep up.

I lunge into hair-care mode only when I awaken one morning and realize that my hair doesn't merely need cutting, but actual weed-whacking. There are real disadvantages to a lack of planning ahead in this arena. Typically, the day I resolve to call for an appointment, all the haircutters of the world will announce that they are booked solid for the next three months. I grovel and make extravagant promises, offer bribes and finally get an appointment for next week Tuesday. I offer profuse thanks and put the check in the mail. (These are pros. They are thoroughly familiar with my type and now require payment in advance. They are acquainted with the voice of desperation and know exactly what will happen next.)

Here's what happens next. I take a deep cleansing breath and think, "Ah, crisis averted." Then I realize that next Tuesday is many agonizing days away. I know that if I leave the house with my current topside mess, strangers and even close friends will flee in horror.

This is the moment ripe for self-imposed disaster. Desperate measures crop up in my brain, which, due to panic, has shrunk to the size of a Rice Krispie nodule, except with less snap, crackle or intelligence. I think, "Hey, no problem, I'll just do a little pre-cut job myself. Actually, only the bangs need trimming right now; the rest can be stuffed under a hat until next Tuesday."

Oh good. A plan. A completely delusional plan of impending doom, but a plan nevertheless. Just a few little snips now, and then a real cut next week. Perfect.

NOW BEGINS the exhaustive search for the tools to accomplish the mission. I'm not a beautician, so I don't have hair scissors. I gather some stuff, lay it out on the kitchen table and begin to rank. Hmm, Exacto knife, no. Hey, how about the pinking shears? That could produce an interesting pattern. All the scissors I find are too dull to cut even newspaper, so I wander into the bathroom to look for the toenail clippers ...

I will spare you the gory details and just skip to next Tuesday and the stylist's opening remarks: "Is an artichoke really the look you had in mind when you started hacking away at your hair?" I slink into the seat, bracing for the worst, and am amazed when I open my eyes 20 minutes later to find that the stylist has performed wonders. My hairstyle has left the vegetable realm. I look human again.

I gush and hug as I happily tip like a member of the royal family. I know I was right to bathe, floss and shave my legs before I arrived. For there is nothing in the world like a good haircut. From the moment I am led to the wash basin to the final blow-dry flourish, it feels like the best date I have had in years! Whether the stylist is male, female, single, attached, gay or straight, I am in love. I want to write a rock musical called "The Grateful Head." I want to ask, "Was it good for you, too?"

I promise to call early next time, before I enter the danger zone. I make a mental note to throw out all potential hair-destructo devices, so I will not even be tempted to create hair havoc again. I make many resolutions, but will I keep them? Only my hairdresser knows for sure.

Jeri Gertz is a Hilo-based writer known as the Empress of Everything, answering readers' questions in a column, "What's Up With That?" that appears biweekly in the Hawaii Island Journal.

The Goddess Speaks is a Tuesday feature by and
about women. If you have something to say, write
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