How adventurous are you? Do you ever throw caution to the wind, unfurl your arms and embrace chaos’ turbulent embrace? Do you disregard logic and reason in favour of rolling the die? Do you desire what the world chooses to lay in your lap rather than searching with purpose? I don’t. I’m a cautious fellow. Any risks I take are buoyed by calculation. I take chances once I’m best able to minimise variables. I rely on luck only when that I have a strong notion of how the scenario will evolve.
Which is why it was so unlike me to put my soft, wavy locks in the hands of a non-professional.
I’d been drinking, which is usually justification for any number of stupid decisions. At the Fringe beer tent, I’d had little to eat and the lone cider was burning a hole in my cognitive ability. I saw a sign reading “Stand By Salon”. Appointments were by chance. $10 for a cut with potential bartering available. Discounts for staff (and I later heard, for puns. A missed opportunity if ever there was one). If the woman running the stand happened to be there, you could get your hair cut. I flipped that coin in my head and took a seat. She warned me as I sat down that she wasn’t a professional, I waved off her concerns. It was a $10 haircut, what could go wrong that a few weeks couldn’t fix? She asked me what I wanted. I replied that I desired my head to look less like a mop. Shortening the fringe, taking off a bunch of the volume. Perhaps a little texturing. Oh, and not to cut the fringe or back straight across. I didn’t want to resemble a robot. She said she couldn’t promise anything and I consented.
It quickly became apparent that she was in a hurry. There was a show she wanted to catch and aimed to be finished ASAP. She snipped and chopped away. I felt clumps land on my chest and saw a pool of hair in my lap. She weaved all around with scissors and comb, taking no prisoners or pauses. With no mirror in front of me, I had no idea what was happening. In my mellow tipsy haze I blissfully chatted away. As the cut continued, she made further references to the show that was soon starting. Her chopping hastened and chit chat dwindled. She held the mirror up. “Happy with everything?” she asked hopefully. I looked back at my reflection. My fringe was still longer than I wanted, but it wasn’t terrible. There were large clumps on the top of my head that hadn’t been touched. I asked if she could lessen the weight on the top. She put the mirror down and spent another minute snipping away. She grabbed the mirror again. “Is that any better?” she inquired. I realised there was little more I was gonna get out of it, but surely it wasn’t so bad. I got up and passed her the $10. I returned to my friends and the joy of additional alcohol.
Getting home just before 3am, I looked at myself in the mirror. Oh, this was bad. Unbalanced patches of thick hair with lighter ones. A fringe that was still way too volumous. The back had large whisps that were virtually rats tails. Quite possibly the worst haircut I’d had in my life (including my childhood of chain bowl cuts). It was farcical. I couldn’t do anything but laugh. This was why people went to salons or barbers. This was why building up a relationship with someone who knows how to style your hair was important. This was something that had to be taken care of. I swore to resolve it within the next day. It didn’t need to be a perfect job, but continuing as is was not an option.
I found a place in Kensington Market (one of the 15 or so places clearly owned by the same company). An $8 male haircut? Sold. Holy shit, I’d never witnessed such a brutally efficient haircut. Hacking away at a fever pace, follicles showered all around me as she sheared away. It was like watching a regular haircut in time lapse. I don’t think I spent even ten minutes in that chair. You know what though? The results were fine. It’s balanced, short and neat. It’s so far from spectacular and doesn’t need to be anything more. It suffices and you know what? That’s a step up.
Sometimes that’s enough.