Over the years, I’d tried lots of relationships on for size. Most were setups from friends – “oh, go to so-and-so – she (or he) is perfect for you.” I’d go in full of hope and trust, but almost always come out disappointed.
There was the one who scheduled a lunchtime appointment then made me wait while she ate, talking with her mouth full the whole time. The one who hacked at my hair as if she was angry with it (I wasn't sure what it had done). The one who complained about her new husband’s ex-wife (bitch), and the one who talked so much and so fast that I felt like birds were pecking at my head. That’s only the beginning: It’s a very long list.
There were a few I liked, but they gave me bad haircuts.
I’m not ashamed of my indiscriminate past – a girl has to do what a girl has to do. But I was starting to think I would never find the one. I’d grow old with only my Flowbee to keep me presentable.
Finally, I’d gotten frustrated with – or maybe I just ran out of – friends’ recommendations. I called a random salon and made an appointment.
Brandon was what I got. All 6’6” of him.
He talked softly when he did talk, which was mostly to call me “Sweetheart.” He gave me a wonderful, super-gentle scalp massage with those enormous hands. He listened – and he cut my hair exactly the way I wanted it.
I walked out feeling like a million bucks, and I was smitten.
The next time, I made the appointment, but they called to tell me Brandon was ill. Did I want someone else, or did I want to wait for Brandon?
“Oh no,” I said. “I love Brandon.”
I’m assuming that got relayed to him, because when I went back, he talked more. This time he told me how he was “Jessica” in his spare time. He was a drag queen, and he was making his own Lady Gaga-inspired gown for the next pageant. (It's tough to buy evening gowns off the rack when you're 6'6" – and not actually a woman.)
He showed me the fabric for the gown, which would be head-to-toe lace but with a flesh-toned lining for modesty. And he pulled out his camera and showed me pictures of himself as Jessica. Gorgeous.
Who better, I thought, to advise me on how to look feminine and beautiful than someone who’s had to work at it – and obviously mastered it?
I was head over heels.
I told my husband, “I love Brandon.”
He did not feel threatened.
But then, things changed. I called, but Brandon had changed salons. Utterly loyal, I called the new one. And I went. The atmosphere there, though, was much hipper than the previous one – all glittery décor and thumpy music. I felt more than a little out of place.
“Just a trim,” I told Brandon. “Start the layers at my chin.”
“Really?” he said, “That short?”
This should have been my clue, but I thought little of it. I wish I could remember exactly what I said. What I THOUGHT I was saying was that the chin layer should be the shortest layer.
Content that we were on the same page, I took off my glasses and sat blindly while he cut.
After a little while I felt the scissors skim my neck. I reached up and felt – nothing.
“How short did you cut it?” I said, my heart sinking because I already knew.
And so, while I’d gone in looking like this:
(not actually me)
I walked out looking like this:
Bob. Horrible bob. Short bob.
"Mullet bob,” my husband said, because Brandon had tried to salvage some longer layers at the back.
My hair was the one feature I hadn’t been disenchanted with. Now it was gone.
I whined and complained, of course, until everyone including me got a little sick of hearing it. And then I let it go.
But now it’s four months later – and I need a trim.
Do I chalk it up to miscommunication, go back to the super-hip salon and give Brandon another chance? Could he still be “the one”? Or will I only end up broken hearted with a(nother) ugly haircut?
A good stylist is so hard to find.
*Name changed to protect the availability of appointments.