This is not the first time, folks. I’ve been butchered by many a barber or hairstylist. When I was a kid I got home-styled haircuts that were about 30 years after their time, so that I had the shortest hair in the school. I grew up in the 70’s, when everyone else was sporting medium to long hair (and the longer the better), in which case I was always automatically an outcast by virtue of my hair. I grew up detesting my hair, and bad haircuts are a curse I’ve never been able to completely shake. I might have a period of years where I get away with my hair not making me look like a hopeless reject, but then there are the inevitable relapses, such as TODAY!
Today’s hatchet job is particularly enervating considering how hard I’ve tried to NOT get this specific haircut. It’s not even as bad as it would have been if I hadn’t stopped the stylist with the clippers midstream. She’d glided them from the back of my neck to the back of my ear in a single, brisk movement, and was going to do a loop over the ear and shear to the temple. That’s when I protested.
I’d almost think it’s a curse upon me, because my luck with haircuts has been so crappy. Let me just give you some background on this particular botch job. It all started around New Years, when I met a guy who had what I saw as a particularly unfortunate haircut. I don’t think that much about people’s hair, and generally just accept it as whatever it is, but in his case I stood up and took notice. He had no sideburns, for one. His hair screamed “moron” or “lunatic”, and it wasn’t long before I put together why. Only Forest Gump, Slingblade, and Adolf Hitler had that haircut.
I didn’t speak my impression out loud or anything. I just thought the guy looked ridiculous because of his hair. But the Buddha or the Sweet Lord Jesus or someone heard me, by Gad, and my judgmentalism earned me a karmic dept that would learn me a lesson I wouldn’t soon forget. Oh, no. Within a week I walked out of a hairstylist’s shop with precisely the same ridiculous haircut!
I should have mentioned that I live in Thailand, and before that I lived in China, and before that Vietnam, and before that China, and before that Thailand. My batting average for acceptable haircuts in Asia is abysmal, usually due to language barriers, and the apparent presumption of almost all hairstylists/barbers that it is my fervent desire to look like a complete jackass.
China was the worst because the hair stylists there, perhaps subconsciously, tried to make me look like Chairman Mao. I’d go to get my hair cut with extreme trepidation, and try to have a hand ready to boldly intervene when they would inevitably bring the thinning shears near the top of my head. “No thanks, I’m not going for the pattern-balding look this year!” One way or another my hair would always end up flat on top and puffy on the sides, like Mao. And I used to think, “I haven’t had a good haircut since I lived in Thailand.”
When I moved back to Thailand about nine months ago I thought the era of crappy haircuts had come to a well-deserved end. Not so fast! The first hairstylist I chose gave me a passable haircut, but when I tried her a second time she thinned out the top for me and did her best to recreate the Chairman Mao look. I don’t think she could control it. She must have been possessed. An hour and a half later I was at another hairstylist’s shelling out more money to fix it, mostly by chopping off the puffy sides. I used that stylist a few times until she gave me a Gumby sort of sloping trapezoidal cut.
But then, my bad luck finally really did end when I stumbled upon the stylist that used to give me good hair cuts back in the halcyon days when I lived in Thailand six years prior. She was the one I always remembered when I couldn’t get a non-Mao haircut in China. She even recognized me and named the guesthouse where I used to live. She thought she hadn’t seen me in three years, but it was six. Not only did she remember me, she remembered how I liked my hair.
Except, something must have got short-circuited because she remembered that I wanted Adolf Hitler’s hair. She’d shaved a band across the back of my head and over an ear before I knew what happened. Moments later I sat strapped in the chair sporting the precise haircut I’d scoffed at less than a week before. Karma had been swift and merciless. Judge NOT someone else’s hair too despairingly, mother-flipper. This should have been punishment enough, cruel and unusual as it was, I’d have thought.
I was determined to take charge and insure that I NEVER get another Forest Gump coiffure. I decided to stick with the same stylist, because I knew for certain she could cut my hair correctly, as she had done regularly years before. So, the next time I went in I brought drawings of what I didn’t want, including the Hitler/Slingblade/Gump cut, and a friend to keep an eye on the back and help run interference should the stylist have a lapse of memory or get me confused with some jackass who wants to look like he’s about to have a neck operation. In fact, I’ve brought the same friend each time I’ve gotten a haircut since then, and it’s worked. I was able to get a few fairly decent cuts.
But, today, even with my friend present, poised on the edge of the couch ready to leap up and stop any funny business, the stylist was just too quick. Had I hesitated even a second, she’d have gotten the clippers over the ear and extended the wide swatch of baldness to my temple. This is why I only have the Hitler haircut in the back, and it’s just really short on the sides but not bald, and I still have sideburns. You can call my haircut the half-Adolf, if you like.
I let my guard down and let myself go soft. I didn’t bring in any pictures (not wanting to be insulting) and figured she knew me by now. I even walk by her shop most days. I can’t blame the hairdresser. This must be something bigger, involving past lives, gods, curses, potions and dooms. Some Sallie Mae of the black arts is exacting interest in the netherworld. All attempts to resist are futile.
Despite the undefiable power of the hex, I’m not going to go to this particular stylist again, and I guess I’m going to have to bring pictures and instructions in Thai specifying what NOT to do, otherwise I’ll get the precise haircut I most want to avoid, like when I first moved to China and kept getting chicken’s feet because it was the last thing I wanted to eat.
Or, perhaps what I consider relapses into a crappy-haircut curse is really a divine sign that I should be using my latent idiot-savant skills to fulfill my destiny as the charismatic, megalomaniacal, messianic, and ultimately despotic leader of an alien/UFO cult.
Why fight it?