I really hate it when someone tries to convince me that I don’t really want what I want. I especially don’t like it when someone tells me I can’t have what I want when there is no legitimate reason why I can’t. It happened to me the other day at the beauty salon.

I go to a nearby beauty school. I’ve used beauty schools for years because their prices are right, and sometimes you get lucky. Additionally the students are often really passionate about their burgeoning careers and it shows in their work. And finally, I like to experiment with my hair and I don’t need or expect perfection.

I’ve been to this beauty school before where I usually ask to be placed with a male student, preferably a flamboyant one. Gay boys almost always give good hair, and they are so damn sweet to boot. But all the boys were taken, so I asked for an advanced student.

She was young, pleasant and called me “Honey”. I didn’t like that so much because it made me feel like an elderly person. I’m old but I’m not elderly. I told her I brought a picture.

“Oh, OK…, let me see what you’ve got”. She gave me the kind of smile that said, “I don’t like clients who bring in pictures”.

I’ve had stylists like that before. They don’t like pictures because they think the client is going to be disappointed when they don’t end up looking like the model in the picture. I don’t expect to look like the model, I just like to experiment with my hair and pictures help me do that.

The picture I brought in was of a woman my age with an undercut. I didn’t know it was called that until she told me. It’s when the hair next to your scalp is shorter than the hair that lies over it. It’s the kind of haircut you would see on someone in their teens or twenties, not on someone who is older and looks like an advanced age soccer mom. Which is exactly why I wanted to get it.

As I was showing her the picture she started screwing her face up and said, “Wait…. you want what???!” I continued to show her the picture and how I thought it could translate onto my hair. “I’m going to have to go get my teacher,” she said, her mouth in a firm line. I knew I was in trouble.

The teacher came around. He looked at the picture and then said, “What I would suggest is cutting the back in preparation for a style like that, and then come back in two or three months and we can do the rest”.

I didn’t understand. I felt like the girl had told her teacher that he needed to come and talk me out of the haircut. She kept telling me that it wouldn’t look good. I agreed to it because I didn’t want her to give me a haircut that she was forced into.

She took me to the shampoo bowl, and when we got back to her chair, there was a young woman sitting diagonally from me who had the exact kind of undercut I wanted. I pointed it out to my stylist.

“Her hair is a lot darker than yours,” she pointed out. “If I were to do that to your hair, it’s going to cut off the color and the rest will be completely white”.

She said that as if I would have to agree that it was a bad thing. My hair is white, and its a really pretty white. I color it sometimes and other times I don’t. “I kinda like the white,” I said sheepishly.

She went on, “Also your hair is really thin and you know how sometimes when hair is really short, it looks like the person is bald?”

Apparently I couldn’t quite let it go. “Yeah, I said, but in the picture I showed you the undercut wasn’t that short—it wasn’t done with a razor…”

She was looking a lot like my teenager looks when he tries to tell me that I can’t possibly know anything about anything. “Let’s just finish this up and you can see what you think,” she tweeted.

She blew it out into a bob. It looked fine. Cleaned up elder soccer mom. No undercut.



2 thoughts on “The Undercut

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