Carol’s first cut.
My niece is just sixteen – an Aquarius like me, she was an extra-special birthday present. She goes to a High School here in Altamonte Springs. She has a longish chin, but a real cute face and is bubbling over with fun. She is very popular at school, likeable and attractive, with her dark eyes and near blue-black hair. It was her hair – thick and springy – that was a bone of contention between her, her mother and me.
Carol has, lately, started to admire my ultra-short crop, asking questions about why I have it so short, why a ‘lady’ goes to a men’s barber shop, and – with a curious innocence – if I mind looking like a boy. I fended off these questions as best as I was able, until she met my friend Michelle. I think she then worked out the relationship between Michelle and me for herself. However, she was thrilled to find that it was Michelle who now cuts my hair and began to use the same interrogatory line of questions on Michelle. She had met her match there though – every one was turned back on her, with Michelle asking Carol why she was curious, why the interest. Then it came out – Carol wanted a hair cut like mine!
The chorus of Oh-No’s from Michelle and I was synchronized, and repeated ..and then I repeated it all the way back to her house. Carol was still insisting that she wanted a crew- cut, with a short back and clippered sides because it was ‘cool’. Besides, she added, what was wrong with the style – after all, I wore it! Clever as a fox this teen! We had only just walked through the door when she started on her Mother, asking her to agree that my haircut was ‘cool’, pointing out it was easy to care for, and claiming that Michelle would cut hers like it too.
Her Mom is Italian descent like Michelle, with a matching volatile nature, so I was not surprised to be on the receiving end of her Mother’s replies to this idea. I had ‘egged Carol on’, had misled the child (??) and so on. Meanwhile I was protesting my innocence, and that of Michelle, pointing out it was all Carol’s own idea. I was told that I knew how much her daughter thought of me, and should not be surprised if Carol thought it was appropriate to copy me. This I was too pleased and smug to argue with!
Over dinner, try as I might, I could not get Carol off the subject and she soon won her Dad’s support – Dads and Daughters Syndrome! I think the gravy spill on my arm was an accident in all but her Mother’s subconscious – anyway, it got the subject changed .. for about three minutes. Carol was so fixated it with the idea that I began to wonder if she shared my fetish with hair through some sort of family genes. Her father was no help, reminding me of how we both used to go to the same barber, for the same haircut when we were kids. This seemed to seal the subject as far as Carol was concerned, but in fact, having gotten her own way, she dropped the subject, and as far as I could tell, dropped the idea as well for this was all before last Christmas.
Then last Thursday she came over and met me from the office, grinning hugely and bouncing around all over the reception area. I wear a wig to work, so – particularly for a teenager – she was very diplomatic and stood up on tip-toe to whisper her excitement. Mother had given in, she could get her hair cropped like mine, would I please take her to see Michelle and get her to cut it.
I was, I admit, a little suspicious so, while she went to the Coke machine, I put a quick call through to her Mom. Apparently, like most teenage girls, she had twisted her Dad around her fingers and the pair of them had worn her Mother’s reluctance away to an agreement – although it was made very clear, that it was really all my fault. I was contrite and asked if I should try and talk her out of it, or get Michelle to trim it, but keep it as long as we could get away with. I was told off in a way that made it clear that Mom was hoping Carol would hate the finished style and be ‘punished’ for not listening to Mom. She said that no, crop it all off like a boy, and she added a final rebuke for me – “…just like yours.”
I thought that this was to be the end of my regular dinners at the house, and was pretty upset – she is a fantastic cook, but I refused to feel guilty. I had to accept that having me for an Aunt was an influence on Carol, but I was aware that peer-group pressure was probably even stronger as a fashion influence. I had seen the ‘high-fades’ and half-shaved heads and tattoos in her class – and this was the girls. So I grinned at Carol and entered into the spirit of fun that she was so obviously experiencing.
So did Michelle bless her – after a few whispered assurances from me in the back of the salon. Carol’s thick hair was springy, not exactly curly or wiry, but thick with a wave. Michelle explained that when hairdressers are entering the competitions it is this type of hair they look for on models as it takes, and holds a style so well. She reduced the bulk and length with scissors then used the clipper. The top was about an inch and half long, spiky over the crown, with Carol’s hairline ‘lined-out’ around her ears and neck. After some pleading from Carol, Michelle shaved the back and sides off, although leaving it much thicker than she cuts mine – but like a boy’s, as Carol insisted. Still not satisfied Carol pestered her until she shaved off the sideburns above her ears.
She did look cute, and her face is so alive with fun and good nature, the style had no mannish look to it all. However, I was still dreading the greeting I was sure to get when I dropped her off home. Carol wanted to stop off at the Altamonte Mall, no doubt to show off to her gang of friends, but I advised we had better ‘beard the lioness in her den’ and face her Mother. Carol grew subdued as we parked and went in, and I called out for her Mom to come see.
She loved it. It was declared, cute, sweet, clean and tidy and it was pointed out to me how well it showed off her Carol’s eyes, and what a lovely long neck her daughter had. I was even thanked.
Isn’t life funny sometimes !?