Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Closest I Come to Crazy

My mother said, when I was born, my face was wider than it was tall, and I had a shock of red hair sticking up all over my head. My face eventually normalized to a certain extent but my hair never did.

True for most women and perhaps for many men, my hair has taken me both to the mountain top and into the depths of despair. Okay, maybe that's an overstatement. Let's say it's had its ups and downs. Although the color is interesting and used to be memorable, the texture is mostly unmanageable. While summer weather in the South is made for frizz and my hair is happy to accommodate the humidity if not the blow dryer, in the winter it just hangs there. It's also thick on the sides and in the back, and thinner on top. It's as if I were destined to look like Ronald McDonald in drag.

Throughout the years, I've done some crazy things to my hair. My friend, Allison, who also happened to be my college room-mate, was known for "highlighting" anyone's hair at any time day or night. The fact that Allison went on to become a Methodist minister and, later a Buckhead therapist, must be based, in part, on the number of people who used the Lord's name in vain and developed annoying tics during her UGA dorm-room beauty-parlor days. I was one of her victims.

Later on, after I got married, I either had my hair cut short or, every few years, when curly hair was in style, I would get a perm . My latest perm was just a few years ago, when, by the way, curly hair was NOT in vogue. I have no idea what led to that brilliant idea but I think it had something to do with my then-stylist's BMW payment. Because I was already on up there in years, my head of tousled locks did NOT give me that sexy bed-head look, but did,instead, cause me to look very much like John Calvert, the Third Lord Baltimore. The picture to the left is not me because I don't (as of yet) have that much facial hair. But, as they say, you get the picture.

Before I go any further in trying to explain what my hair has to do with the closest I come to crazy, let me tell you about Whitney, my current hair stylist/psychiatrist. Whitney is wonderful and talented and smart and funny, not to mention handsome. He's great with hair and great with people. Therefore, Whitney can't be blamed for any of what I'm about to tell you, nor can my past stylists be held accountable either, except for maybe that one with the Beamer. In fact, Whitney is often called in to fix what I have wrought.

You see, not only do I have bad hair, I'm also cheap. Whitney, being the fabulous stylist that he is, charges, although undoubtedly not nearly what he's worth, what the Atlanta market will bear. But that's not all. In addition to his stupendously expensive fee structure, Whitney has also placed his salon (JH Design Studio Hair Salon) in Roswell, Georgia, a charming little burg ten miles north of Atlanta, while I live in Midtown. So, not only do I have to pay Whitney's outrageously enormous salary, I also have to cough up an extra dollar (50 cents there and 50 cents back) to drive my happy self up (and down) State Route 400, the Hospitality Highway, which is so hospitable as to be a toll road with more driving jerks per 1000 feet than any highway in the world, including the Autobahn. I do have to admit that Whitney has offered to hand me 4 quarters when I leave his salon. He has also offered (on several occasions quite forcefully) to find me another stylist.

So, here we go. The closest I come to crazy is when I am standing in my tiny midtown bathroom, looking in the mirror, with a hank of hair in one hand and scissors in the other. Although this current bout of psychotic behavior has much to do with toll roads and the price of gas, I've always been a closet cutter (of hair). I guess my mama didn't punish me enough after that early childhood rite of passage known as cutting your bangs with the blunt-edged scissors.

I used to think everyone whacked at their hair, until I noticed my grown daughters don't. They leave their hair be. And just recently, when I felt the need to talk about my problem to others, I realized most adult women are horrified at the thought of cutting their own hair. Second graders, on the other hand, are open to the idea.

OK, this is how it happens. Something feels too long or thick. I ignore it for a while, but my hand keeps finding it (usually while I'm watching HGTV's House Hunters or Design on a Dime). I go and look in the mirror and pull the offending piece out at a right angle. Before I know it, I've taken out the scissors and cut the loathsome lock, which makes another strand look too long or thick. So on and so forth throughout an entire commercial sequence. The next thing I know I'm calling Whitney for an emergency trip up the Hospitality Highway (50 cents there and 50 cents back). The last time this happened, Whitney said the only thing he could do was to give me a reverse mullet with business in the back and a party in the front. He then handed me 4 quarters and offered to help me find a stylist closer to home.

To tell you the truth, my problem these days isn't really my hair. It's the old face under it. Allison and I were talking the other afternoon at our weekly Friday early bird dinner, when she mentioned someone who'd had one of those digital things done where they take your picture and then attach photographs of various hairstyles to your face. We were laughing about how, no matter what fabulous hair they put on the poor woman, her face was still sitting there right under it. That led us to talking about how hair just doesn't look the same any more on our poor tired faces. Then I remembered something a friend told me a long time ago, which is the great adage "no matter where I go, there I am." I guess the same could be said for my hair and the face right under it. I seem to drag them with me wherever I go, even when it's up (and down) the Hospitality Highway to see my friend Whitney. Fifty cents there and fifty cents back.


Whitney said...

I do love that I'm sitting here close to 11PM laughing out loud at you, your humor, and yes, your hair tendencies! I love you beyond words, and I love being able to tress your locks whenever you're willing to traverse GA 400. And, if you need those quarters, just say the word....oh, and thanks for the plug! I do love you!...Whitney

marciamayo said...

Hey Whitney, I'm so glad you liked it. Was it the "handsome" part that sucked you in?

marciamayo said...

Here's a great response from Holland Morgan.

Too bad I'm in the middle of buying a house (under the wise and witty guidance of Linda Lanier! God help me!) else I would be forced to interject a male perspective on the hair thing. It was only after my dearly departed father had been through the ravages of chemo and radiation, losing his gorgeous, thick head of gray hair, and layed out in the coffin that people began saying, "I never knew you resembled your father!" Happy Thursday, Red.

Anonymous said...

The only time that I remember cutting my own hair was when I was on Chemo and cut my only good wig. What makes this sooo hilarious is that when I got up the next morning I had forgotten about cutting the darn thing and kept looking for the tag to see if I had it on right. Needless to say I didn't have a good wig anymore. I love this article it is soooo you. Keep them coming, although I refuse to marble at least in my fingers. LOL
Debra Pope Johnson

marciamayo said...

Debra, you just reminded me about when you'd lost your hair after chemo. You were also having hot flashes and you'd pull your wig off to fan yourself. You taught me so much about grace and humor during that time.

Jeff said...

Sure like your blog and by the way Happy Birthday! This one reminded me of a recent quote that I read, "the difference in stupid/crazy and genius is that genius has it's limitations."

marciamayo said...

Thanks, Jeff. I agree there is a thin line between genius and nuts. The bad thing is I know which way I lean.

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