Fear of a Mullet Planet by HeadBoy
A quiet cabin in upstate Vermont, a crackling fire, the soft dulcet sounds of Chet Baker wafting through the air, a dark, empty night outside. Clouds nowhere in sight, stars too numerous to count if you had a lifetime, and two people cuddled up on the rug enjoying the warmth of the blaze before them. A bottle of dark, red wine sits between them.
She snacks on crackers he gently places on her tongue. She giggles. He smiles. She spreads caviar on a cracker, places it on his lips and watches him bite. Clearly, they are two people very in love. Soul mates. A pair formed by the grace of God. A God who danced on the day they were born. A God who had smiled on them.
In a world of freaks and cold-hearted cynics, these two had found each other. Found each other across the Great continent of North America. She hailed from Montreal, the English-speaking section, and he from Phoenix, the boiling hot part of America. They met one evening a year ago, stuck in some freezing airport during a snowstorm. He was in town to visit his brother, she was just taking a much-needed holiday. Late into the night, and early into the morning they were the only two left awake in the airport, everyone else had either gotten out to the comfort of a hotel, or fallen asleep in the rigid, anything but ergonomic, chairs made of that plastic substance that would bring Gandhi to rage.
He saw her first, and his heart thudded. It thundered to life after a misspent youth of keeping score with his buddies. Keeping score on the amount of women he’d bedded changed him. He woke up one morning and found no joy in seeing a gorgeous female in bed next to him – it was a sight all too common. His soul was sick, broken even. His friends didn’t understand when he stopped playing “date baseball” and they began snickering under their breath. He wanted out of the race for AIDS and empty conquest. He had been celibate for one year when he met her in the airport that night, and she was of a similar heart.
She had found herself feeling unloved and wanted to find it, somewhere. Anywhere. That led her down a road she never felt comfortable with. She felt uncomfortable in her own skin. She felt out of place everywhere she went. She looked for love in the beds, and sometimes behind the buildings or in the bushes, of most every guy she met.
She found herself wanting. She found herself destitute. She found herself in bed with the lowest form of self-pitying person in the bed next to her. Hungover, lost in an unfamiliar part of downtown, she hailed a cab back to her apartment. $25 later, she was home. Home and weeping over what her life had become and she figured she needed to change.
She had spent every spare penny on clothes, shoes and her hair and nails. She tumbled into the bathroom, ripping her fake nails off with her teeth, spitting them into her hand as she walked.
Into the shower, she tried to scrub away the slimy feel all over her body. It would not go away. It would not shampoo out of her hair. It would not scrub off of her long, tone legs, or her world-class hips. The kind you wanted to rest your head on at night as you watched TV and drifted away to sleep to dream of her. She could not get away from it, so she decided then and there to get rid of the old her.
The nails were gone, easily enough, and she packed up everything she owned and donated it to a Women’s Shelter nearby. With her credit cards in hand, she marched to the nearest department store, bent on looking “Amish” as she kept telling herself. She didn’t. Not even close. But she did do a great job of humbling herself, and the sight of herself in the knee-length, floral print, dress was, well, humbling. It had a foreign feel to it, she hadn’t worn anything so, um, wholesome, in ages.
She wandered up the mall into a hair salon. Grabbed a magazine and waited her turn. In a fit of frustration, she turned to a random page and decided she’d go with whatever hairstyle was on the page. It was a beautiful ad she stopped on – a colorful splash from TiGi, gorgeous layout and design, and featuring a lovely model wearing a… mullet. “It could look cute,” she tried to tell herself.
As her name was called, she felt the pangs of regret as she showed the stylist the picture. Her hair was still slightly wet, most of the curls had yet to show themselves. Her hair looked a darker shade of walnut than usual as it hung down to her shoulder blades. Brushing against her back, it felt odd to her, unadorned, no hairspray, the bangs just sort of hung limply. The stylist looked animated, she became excited at the aspect of giving a new style to her new client.
Snipping ensued, first went the bulky portions in back, quickly sawed away to slightly past the shoulders. Just past the shoulders and still able to be called “long-ish,” but no longer the long and flowing tresses she’d loved. The sides were cut away, much shorter than the back. “I look like Billy Ray friggin’ Cyrus” she thought, hating the new look that was emerging. The crown and bangs were snipped off in short order, almost in an assembly line fashion. Waiting behind her were other women waiting in the air-conditioned splendor to be rid of too much hair, to be trimmed, to be colored, or variously pampered.
She looked sad as the stylist clipped away the last vestige of her luxurious mane. In its place was a subdued, fairly common-looking ‘do. A Steve Perry-esque flat thing that hung on her melon like a defiant revival of the early-eighties. “Oh God, what did I do?” she asked herself, choking on tears, gagging on spending her money on a random, hideous, new look.
“And here’s the new you!” the stylist said, spinning the chair around after primping, combing and teasing the evil mullet on her head. She spun into plain view of the mirror, she tried to look at the picture of the stylist’s baby, all cherubic and pudgy. A cute little brown-haired, big-eyed child. To no avail. She saw herself… a different her. A her without the locks that men would grab onto, tousle, grab and fawn over. In their place was… well, quite simply, proof of Satan – the mullet!
“It’ll be easy to not have sex,” she thought to herself. “Very nice,” she said to the stylist. It was exactly as the picture looked. “Very Amish,” she thought, walking away from the counter after paying for the damage. In her uncomfortable new dress and her retro-hideous ‘do she walked up the mall and out. As a form of penance, when she got home, she looked at herself in the mirror, looked until she was used to the idea of how she looked.
The short, spiky-topped thing on her head was becoming less of an affront to her. She combed the back and whimpered a little. But she began to like the pelt-like feel of the back, and the sight of her ears coupled with straight up bangs. She went back five weeks later and had the sides shortened slightly and the top butchered to the point where all it would do was stand up.
The old her was dead, the new one had no hope of finding a life partner, or even an evening’s worth of companionship. Not as long as her head looked like a squirrel had crawled up there to die. She was alone. A feeling she’d grown used to. But she had a feeling of searching coursing through her veins. Running wild through her make-up free, anti-stylish body. She saw other women sporting the ‘do as she walked to work most mornings. A few at first, then the masses. A mullet nation was emerging, much to the consternation of fashionable hair fans everywhere.
He knew her feelings well. After finding one another, after bottoming out, after denying themselves the pleasures they’d gotten so accustomed to for so long and suddenly lost a taste for, the two fell in love. Fast. Hard. Completely. He fell for her. And he never cared about her hair. It was the way her eyes threw his heart into the sky when he looked at them.
Which brought them to the cabin. Which brought them to their vestal celebration.
The cabin in upstate Vermont was still quiet. The crackling fire sparkled. The soft dulcet sounds of Chet Baker wafted away into the air, piercing the dark, empty night outside. The stars, too numerous to count, seemed to glisten, as if the angels above were weeping at the beauty of two people so totally enraptured of one another. Two people snuggled together on a rug, enjoying the warmth of the blaze before them. The bottle of wine now laying on its side, empty now, and the sounds of giggling begin to rise. God had smiled on them. And he tousles her hair, whispers into her ear.
Her eyes light up, and a grin erupts across her face. “Oh God, yes I do,” she says, grabbing him by the hand. They pull each other into the bathroom, in a giggling frenzy. A pair of scissors flash across the mirror, catching a glint of light. “Cut the dammed thing off,” she says.
There was the sound of cutting, as her shaggy-backed cut was subdued into something more akin to a style. The Carol Brady-meets-a-dead-animal-on-the-roadside ‘do fell away, revealing a neck that begged to be kissed and caressed. He combed it carefully, and snipped away the Davy-Crockett-hat-looking mess that she’d tired of and he’d never warmed to. True love can wait. It can also be wholly understanding of every fault a man or a woman can have. It’s a safe bet to say it can not forgive a mullet.
Anything but that.
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