Tag Archives: HAIR

To The Woman Currently Cutting My Hair: Are You Paying Attention?

Jana: Recently, I got a haircut. If it’s alright with you, I’d like to tell you about the full experience of my haircut.

 
At 6 AM on the day of the haircut, I got up and drove my boyfriend to the airport, as he was leaving to move to Los Angeles. Then I came home and lay in bed being sad for a while. At 11:30 AM, I roused myself, ate three pieces of toast, and got in the car to meet my sister, because we had purchased “Living Social” deals to get haircuts for only $20, and we had thought it might be a nice activity for the day that would help me take my mind off my boyfriend moving and my having no money and no real plan for my life. I was encouraged by the thought of the haircut.

I need to note that my encouragement was a product of that pesky human inability to accurately remember pain (my best example of this is eating hummus only ten minutes after having been on the toilet bargaining with God because of hummus-induced problems. Once it’s over, I’m always like, it wasn’t so baaad. Ooo is that Sabra? What kind of crackers do you have?). Because, when I’m being honest with myself, I’m fully aware that I always have a terrible time at a haircut. The conversation between me and the hairdresser is a lot like this, always:

Hairdresser: Let’s see here. Oh woah, so we’ve got some serious split ends.

Me: I know, yeah.

Hairdresser: You really need to stop straightening your hair. This is really damaged! If you don’t drastically change your lifestyle, it’s going to be damaged forever.

Me: I know, yes, you’re right.

Hairdresser: And oh my god, such little hair! It’s so so thin!

Me: Yeah, it’s really thin.

Hairdresser: Ok, I’ll see what I can do but I can’t make any promises! *Laughs*. So, are you excited to start high school in the fall?

 

Then they cut off the split ends and try to make conversation which I try to deflect with silence; then, I pay them $60 and go home to furiously straighten the hair.

But, on the day of this haircut, those memories were all rose-colored. Off we went to our haircut with tear-stained faces (just mine, my sister was fine) and hopeful hearts.

It was a very hot day, so we were excited to get inside to an air conditioned room. We ran across Mass Ave and into the salon and found it… stale. Terribly, terribly hot, and empty save for one girl getting her hair cut by a strange-looking man who was wearing a T-shirt that said “I’m just here to annoy you.” We approached the front counter, where a woman stood looking over some papers. She completely ignored us. “Hello?” we tried. She was obviously pissed that we were there. “Busy now, you can sit over there,” she said (it became clear at this moment that she was some kind of European foreign, which I’m only saying to accurately set the scene). We didn’t know what else to do, so we went and sat over on the weird-looking bench. From that vantage point, I could now see the woman’s full person:

This was an older lady, maybe in her late 60s, with cropped white hair, which is fine and good. She was wearing a somewhat ill-fitting dress that really highlighted her stomach paunch, which is also nothing I’m ever gonna get on a high horse about (am I right ladies? – sorry, I don’t even know what that joke was). But ok, HERE IS THE KICKER: on her feet, she was wearing those shoes that have the individual toes. I don’t even know that you can really call them shoes, but regardless, I’ve always understood them to be designed exclusively for endurance running. And yet, this woman wore them in her hair salon, paired with a dress. Furthermore, the shoes appeared to be wet.

You heard me. They were wet. As if she’d recently been walking in some sort of river.

Despite the shoes, we stayed. My sister was soon taken in for haircutting by the “Annoy you” t-shirt guy, who’d finished with the other girl. As I flipped through a magazine, I sensed from overhearing my sister’s conversation that the male hairdresser was in fact quite capable and normal; they laughed together as he cut her hair. I relaxed into the uncomfortable wooden-wicker bench.

Eventually, old Wet Shoes was ready for me, which she signaled by pointing – “Sinks, I meet you over there.” I went to the sinks.

Once we were there, in the familiar space of an awkward salon hairwashing, I sort of started to like her. She told me that she had just seen that movie “Hot Mike,” and that it was full of “beautiful bodies.” She explained that she’d been so rude earlier because she’d been trying to find an envelope full of something to do with taxes, and it had ended up being right in front of her. I got that, I’ve been there. I figured it would be ok.

And it was, such as it was, in that she did cut my hair and we did interact with only mild awkwardness. However, as we chatted, I couldn’t help but notice that she seemed to be really arbitrarily selecting pieces of my hair to cut. Juuust whatever. Just a piece here, a piece there. I didn’t see a PATTERN, see. In addition, TWICE during the haircut, someone came into the salon to ask her something, and she talked to these people WHILE SHE CUT MY HAIR, with her head fully turned away from what she was doing. So, I worried. But I was so TIRED and emotionally drained, and so sure of my inability to speak up for myself, that I just settled into it. I equate this situation to quietly agreeing to rent a HIDEOUS house that I’d have to live in for six months for fear of insulting the realtor. We live in our hair, is what I’m saying.

Then it was over. We tipped, we left. When I got home, it became very clear that my wet-shoed friend had cut a full layer of bangs all the way around my head. Like, an all-one-length layer. Left alone, this very closely resembles a mullet, or a poorly done version of the haircut Rachel had on “Friends.” But it’s ok! It’s just the way it is. I have a bang, around my head. And because hair grows at the same rate over time, I can only assume that this is how it will always be.

Like this.

PS. Right after the haircut I cried while eating half a pizza and then fell asleep watching “Something Borrowed.” Just to be clear about the day.

Catherine: If there’s one thing I like to make fun of besides Jana’s allergies, it’s her hair. It defies gravity. It has been known to fight the strongest straighteners, the firmest tugs of the comb, and emerge victorious, standing straight up on Jana’s head like a crown.

It’s incredible.

Jana, you gotta stop cutting your hair. You do it all the time, it never looks different, and you’re always really sad afterwards. This story, I hope, will teach you to steer clear for at LEAST a year. You don’t deserve the pain. You simply don’t.

And also, you should have been tipped off by the toe shoes. Those are disgusting. The only thing I hate more are probably Tevas, shoes that look like Tevas, and birkenstocks with socks. It’s in the top five worst shoe – I would’ve walked out then and there.

LAST BUT NOT LEAST – Jana and I will be reunited again next week! Maybe something horrible will happen? It probably will. We’ll let you know.

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Lil’ Disasters! Occurring In: Theaters

Jana: Here’s something new for the cheap seats in the back: A segment called “Lil’ Disasters”! In these posts, Cath and I will tell mini stories of times that we have embarrassed ourselves horrifically, but in small ways. Today, enjoy some individual moments in my life when I’ve walked away from a situation thinking “Jesus I wish I were dead.” 

In the inaugural edition, let’s talk about my acting career, shall we?

1993, The Beginning

In the third grade, my class did a play for the first time. As soon as the activity was announced, I felt something stirring in me and knew that this was my destiny. Then, I got the lead! The play was called “Daniel, Servant of the Lord,” and I was playing DANIEL. Yesss. I didn’t even notice that this was customarily a part for a boy! When the time for dress rehearsal finally arrived, I donned my tunic and tights with nervous excitement.

During that rehearsal, I was feeling PRETTY great about myself and my future as a gender-ambiguous actress. I had to go to the bathroom, though, so I left the auditorium in costume and headed downstairs. As I rushed down the top step, I saw the school receptionist heading up the stairs towards me.

“How are rehearsals going?” She asked, catching me off guard.

“Oh, great!” I managed to choke out.

Then, my tight-clad feet slipped out from under me, and I fell down the ENTIRE flight of stairs. Aside from sheer, body-wracking embarrassment, I don’t actually remember what happened next; all I know is that I avoided that receptionist at all costs for the entirety of my 5 remaining years at the school.

2005, The College Years

During one of the first rehearsals for the musical “Hair” that Cathy and I both had minor roles in our sophomore year of college, we were rehearsing a racy dance number, “Hashish”. The intimidating director was teaching us some choreography, and he placed me in contact with my crush, Peter. Peter was a junior, and I believed him to maybe BE the funniest person I’d ever met. I was thrilled that he’d have to touch me, which I expressed by looking at the floor and scratching the back of my neck. 

Unfortunately, on the day of this rehearsal I had chosen to wear my favorite workout pants. Like all of my favorite things, they were 90s-esque, with an elastic waist. During one dance move, Peter had to lift me up (YES!). BUT. The pants were so loose! Peter grabbed my waist. BOYFRIEND!, I thought. One second later, I felt my pants slide down. Like, all the way down, so that my underwear was exposed to not only Peter, but the entire cast of people I was hoping to impress. THE CLINCHER: My underwear had been purchased at American Eagle, and it was decorated with “school” phrases, like “To do: Homework!”, and little lists that read: “Field Hockey Practice, Math, TV!” 

Everyone laughed at me, I tried to be like “Ha, who doesn’t love American Eagle?”, and rehearsal continued. Shockingly, Peter never became my boyfriend.

This is what I ended up looking like in the real production of “Hair”. HELP THESE PANTS DON’T FIT ME, I wish I had been screaming. As I mentioned, Peter and I never dated.

2009, On The Downslide

Right after college, no longer an actress but still “wanting to be involved,” I worked as a House Manager at a local theater. One morning, I got dressed in what I deemed to be a classy, adult outfit – consisting of a strapless black top and a cardigan – and headed to work, where it was my job to instruct the volunteer ushers.

The ushers who showed up on this particular day were a man and woman in their late sixties. I gave them some little job to do, like picking up trash in the empty auditorium, and headed to the supply room to get the box of Kit Kits we’d sell at intermission. I leaned down and hoisted the box up into my arms. Easy breezy! Then I returned to the ushers. Like a professional, I instructed them to do another task. As I talked, I noticed they were looking at me with pained faces, as if they were being tortured but had yelled at to be cool about it. What a weird couple! I thought, but I didn’t let it get to me. I made some generic joke like, “Don’t get lost now!”, and sent them on their way. I was KILLIN IT. 

Confidently, I went to check in with the box office attendant. “Jana, oh my god,” she said. “Jana. Your shirt is off! I can see your whole bra! Oh my god!” She gestured wildly towards my chest. I looked down: BOOBS. The strapless black tank top was now just hovering underneath my completely exposed bra. The fucking Kit Kats! The strapless top hadn’t been able to maintain its position under the weight of the concessions! AHH NOO THE USHERRRS.

To my credit, I shimmied my shirt back into position and continued instructing the ushers as if they hadn’t just almost gotten to second base with me. To their credit, they didn’t complain to the theater that their House Manager had exposed herself while on the job. It was a win-win, if you think about it some way other than the way I think about it.

That’s all for today! I hope you’ve enjoyed this edition of “Lil’ Disasters”! Don’t worry, there are more to come – lil’ disasters happen in my life every day.

Catherine: JANA YOU ARE A DELIGHTFUL TREASURE TROVE OF HUMILIATIONS. I love the image of your “tight-clad feet” giving way under you, sending you tumbling down the stairs, your bobby pins breaking free and dispersing wildly.

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What has turned out to be a post about what an asshole I am

Jana: Once I got to high school, things were different. As you can probably guess, this was almost exclusively to do with my hair. You see, one day at the end of my annual haircut (during which I fielded the friendly chatter of the stylist I’d known for years with one-word answers choked out ridiculously fast and with the sore throat that I got whenever I talked to people not in my immediate family), I managed to give her approval to straighten my hair after blow drying it. As always, I sat in silence while she worked and tried to talk to me, and then slowly lifted my head to look in the mirror when she said she was done.

I remember being honestly shocked out of my fucking mind, because I looked DECENT! It was amazing. Afterwards, I have this picture of going to CVS to pick up something random, and my mind’s eye just wanders over the check-out counter while I think to myself: I’m beautiful. This is it. It’s happened. Maybe there’s a way out of my weird frizzy world! WHAT IS HAPPENING? Yes I will pay for this chapstick. LOOK AT MY HAIR!

Anyway, obviously this only lasted until I washed my hair (luckily THAT didn’t happen very often, so I probably got a good week off that first buzz). But eventually, the straight hair was gone with the water and the Pantene two-in-one shampoo plus conditioner that I thought was so effective. But I’d had a taste of freedom from hair hell, and I knew I had to have it again.

When I graduated from the alternative school where I spent my childhood, I had no choice but to enter the public high school in the town where I actually lived. This didn’t happen without a LOT of crying, self-questioning about why I had to become an adult, etc, but as these things go, September did come and I did have to start high school. Prior to doing so, though, I was able to convince my mother that my life would not continue unless I could get my hair permanently straightened. Not being cruel or blind, she gave in, and that is how I came to start high school looking somewhat like a normal adolescent.

And then the craziest part. The boys at the new school didn’t know about my past. They hadn’t seen this picture:

Here I am on the first day of 8th grade. Really take it in, and then think about how much had to change before boys started to like me.

They thought I was the cute new girl. I was completely shocked. It seemed like a lie. It was way too much to handle! I didn’t even know. I did not. Know. What to do.

HERE IN BRIEF IS THE STORY OF THE END OF MY FIRST RELATIONSHIP

He was the nicest boy in the world, or at least, definitely in the freshman class. For the purposes of this entry, I will call him Mark. Everyone loved Mark, because there was not one thing not to love. He was kind and smart and talented. And for some reason, he liked me. I knew this because he told someone who told me, and then I got wind that he was going to ask me to the semi-formal dance. I died. He asked me, I did not pluck my eyebrows or put on makeup, we went to the dance, I hardly talked to him. Afterwards, for some reason, he chose to ask me to be his girlfriend, which I somehow managed to say yes to. Throughout this entire time, I barely looked at him.

The point that I want to get to is that I was in the chorus and Mark was in the band and eventually we were both on a trip to Quebec. I knew this would pose considerable awkward hurdles, and I dealt with them by not thinking about them, from what I can remember, and instead loading up on disposable cameras. But on the last night of the trip, there was a cruise. Sunset, boat, romantic, etc. Everyone told me that he was going to kiss me that night. This is where my head immediately went when I heard this: NOT AN OPTION. I don’t think I even remotely considered the possibility that we might actually kiss and I’d survive it. I just went straight into survival mode, which is to say that I COMPLETELY avoided him. I spent the whole night hiding behind people. I went to the bathroom for huge stretches of time. I hid in corners.

Somehow, the cruise ended without us ever being alone. WIN! We got back on the buses, where we had to sit with the seatmates we’d picked at the beginning of the trip (I’d forced a friend of mine to tell Mark that she REALLY WANTED to sit with me, so it looked like it wasn’t my fault – in retrospect, this was really similar to those calls I used to force my mother to make so that I could leave social situations and blame it on her. This, I realize, is fucked). Anyway, I was all like “Sorry!” and sat with my poor friend, who looked like a jackass. I’m a dick.

In our hotels, we were allowed to roam freely until 9 PM, which was “curfew” – everyone back in their own rooms. We arrived back at the hotels at 7 PM, and I spent the two free hours in my room with my poor friends, crying. IT WAS TOO MUCH FOR ME! I could not be near him. What would I say? What was I supposed to do with my hands while I talked? Or while I didn’t talk? Was I supposed to look at his face or at his t-shirt? WHAT ARE SOCIAL QUES, I asked them. WHY CAN I NOT MASTER THEM.

Somehow, they talked me down. And then, at 9:05, I did what I had to do. Mark was residing in the hotel room DIRECTLY next door to mine. But I waited until after curfew, and then I called him on the hotel phone (I just had to dial one number, since it was just a room-to-room call). And I broke up with him. OVER THE PHONE, WHILE IN THE SAME BUILDING. I don’t even remember what I said, but I know it was terrible. Just the worst. The most awkward thing one could really do. Especially since the next day we had to take a bus back from Quebec together (thank god for that seating rule, right!).

That is how my first relationship ended. In case you’re wondering, my first kiss did not occur for two more years, and it also had to do with a chorus trip and an awkward situation in a hotel room.

Catherine: Jana, you are wearing Tevas in that picture. You’re really ok sharing that with the world? I mean, if you are, then wow. Brave, but I just wanted to call it to your attention. Because Tevas don’t look good, not on anyone. And if you (dear reader) are wearing them now, perhaps this is a good time to take them off? Unless you’re wearing those weird toe shoes underneath or something. In which case, get off the internet and head back to the store and join the rest of civilization by buying some proper footwear.

This post also reminds me of a post I will have to write someday, about how I spent the entire Freshman Boat Cruise on the back of the boat, alone, because I thought it meant I was “really deep” since I wanted to “take in the skyline.” (Surely it had nothing to do with me having approximately zero friends.)

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Wiping Out

Catherine: Jana and I met, rather fatefully, in the UVM production of “Hair.” (SIDE NOTE: Jana had actually first seen me in a summer production of “Ragtime.” Upon seeing that I was going to UVM in my bio, Jana’s mother, Mary,  very smartly suggested that perhaps we might be friends? Jana’s response, in retelling the tale is something like, “Yea, SURE!” (sarcastically.) Mary, as it turns out, was 100% right and Jana was once again reminded of the fact that mothers do, often, have a tendency to know what’s what.)

SO ANYWAYS. There was one particular performance of “Hair” that sticks out but for the terribly humiliating moments it had in store for me. Before I get into it, I should state, briefly, my addiction to Chapstick. I always have it on me, as does Jana, so we are both addicts. It’s real, it’s an addiction, now let’s move on. Since I had a costume with  no good pockets to use, I was keeping the chapstick in my bra strap, where it would be warm, and safe (what could possibly go wrong?) In  the most dance heavy and choreographed number of the entire show, where the entire cast of 20 or so was in very rigid lines moving completely in sync, I spy out of the corner of my eye, a red cherry chapstick on the ground a few rows of people ahead of me. Not. Period. I had to pick it up because a) I needed it and b) If I didn’t, it might be onstage for the whole show where it would surely be seen. And so I ruined the entire dance as I rather scrambled to get it off the ground and back into its formerly safe haven. And I never wore chapstick onstage again, but rather hid one of both sides of backstage.

Later in that same show, I had to ride my bicycle across the U-shaped stage (we call that a THRUST, now you’ve learned something!). It was a dramatic moment, don’t let me dissuade you from thinking otherwise. Well, as I completed my second turn, I realized that I had not left myself enough room to clear the audience (the front row of which was at the same level as the stage). So I crashed. I crashed into a big pile of boxes and, subsequently, some audience members. Was it loud? OF COURSE IT WAS. IT WAS LOUDER THAN A SONIC BOOM, I AM PRETTY SURE. The bike landed on me and I played it off like, “what? oh yeah, oh yeah that was supposed to happen!” while inside I was all like, “My body hurts and I hope I am not bleeding on my costume and maybe nobody noticed?” Cautiously, I spied into the crowd where, not shockingly, all eyes were on me. I walked my bike offstage, where those in the wings had heard a SONIC BOOM and wanted to know what had happened? I told them and was met with pity, shock, shame, and bemusement. I wish to conclude by saying that I continued to have to ride my bike in 7 or so more shows. WHY I didn’t get taken off bike duty, I cannot say.

This was taken backstage. I can only assume it was before the bicycle incident, as I seem in generally good spirits.

Jana: I have a lot to say about this post. I choose the following: It is true that I first laid eyes on Cathy in a production of Ragtime, the summer before we were to attend the same university. It is also true that I was very disdainful of the idea that this random girl might one day be a friend of mine, because I was sure that I would not make ANY friends and that I would fail at college and probably have to drop out and live in my parent’s basement (these fears are really well-documented in the plot of a short story I wrote for my 12th grade creative writing final – I named the main character “Jane”).

Secondly, the chapstick addiction is real, it’s true. Unfortunately, since our “Hair” days Catherine has become much less diligent about keeping it nearby, whereas I have become more so. The result is that she relies on me to provide her with chapstick when we are together, which breeds resentment. Catherine – how do you even survive in LA without me?

And finally, IT’S TRUE THAT SHE FELL OFF HER BIKE DURING THE PERFORMANCE, and that it was really, really embarrassing. I was really embarrassed for her, even as I danced around in the tight pink pants I had been assigned as a costume. It did ruin the scene and it was insane. Testify.

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