Friday, November 07, 2003


Your deep concern for my hair has touched my blonde, processed heart. I finally got to shampoo today and things were a little less Sally Ride this morning. I curled, I sprayed, I learned about myself and others. If you see me from the back, though, you're probably wondering who took my parachute pants and hugeass wavy earrings.

I certainly hope Lewis, the stylist who rolled me, trolled me, and blew me dry, is having a good day. Lewis is very very very very gay. That's fine. He also made me look like I just fell out of a Journey video. That's not so fine.

He practially got in a slapfight with another stylist over which perm solution to use. This occured while my hair was doing something Lewis called "depolimerization," which involved spraying a substance on my head that, as time passed, created a refreshing thousand-candy-canes-ramming-into-my-scalp sensation. Mintiest. Hair treatment. Ever.

Lewis began rummaging around a supply closet as the York Peppermint Patties pressed into my skull. "What are you using?" asked another hairdresser. "Number Three: For Fine And Resistant Hair," said Lewis, holding up the box.

The other stylist paused. "Why?"

I was beginning to further doubt Lewis' expertise, a concern that began when I first sat down at his work station and noticed that his cosmotology license was precisely three weeks old. "Her hair is very resistant to perming," he said, pointing to my hair as it lay limp and defenseless in the sink, sad blonde roadkill on the Vidal Sasoon Road of Life. "She just got a body perm two months ago, and look at it."

I think Lewis began to sense my discomfort as he led me from the sink back to his workstation, a towel wrapped around my hair (That is the only pure nudity left now: A woman and her face, bare before the world.) "Don't worry--we talk shop all the time around here," he said, dumping chemicals over my head. "It wasn't nearly this much fun when I studied computer engineering in college."

"I talk shop all the time with my writer friends too," I said. It's true. I can't tell you how many times I've placed an essay on an editor's desk, then as he sat there redlining it picked up the phone, all, "Becca, seriously, how much did that last paragraph suck? I really don't know what I'm doing, do I?"

"Hair," Lewis said as I sat with my head encased in a gigantic Baggie while the perm processed, "is a big part of my life." I smiled and nodded; so much was clear from his chosen major. It's nothing but combs and mousse when you sidle up to a Dell. And then, from the No Shit category of stylist-customer patter, he added, "Probably it's because I'm from San Francisco."

Lewis gasped as he removed the rollers. "Oh," he murmured. "This turned out gorgeous." Certainly, if you're on your way to a Family Ties taping.

One of you fine, fine readers out there, Ginny B., had some weeping to do in exact non-adherence to my directive to turn off your PC sensors when I first alerted you to Lewis' work. "I didn't know there were "levels" of homosexuality," she emailed. "You got some 'splainin to do, Lucy!"

Well, there are indeed "levels" of homosexuality, Ginny. Yes, there are. You got your Rock Hudsons ("He's GAY?!") and you got your Elton Johns ("Oh, he's gay.") Then you have people like one of my co-workers, who is ostensibly straight but came to me in a panic last month because he had forgotten to wear a belt that day and was wondering if he could borrow one of mine. The Earth actually stopped rotating for a few seconds as I struggled to process just how many thousands of things were wrong with that question.

Also, Ginny, I do believe that you owe the entire Hispanic community an apology for your "splainin' to do" comment. That was unforgivably stereotypical and insensitive, my friend, and by God we don't do that here.

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