As long as I can remember, I’ve had “nightmares” about getting a bad haircut: bald spots, too short, uneven, half-finished, etc. As a little girl, my wig-wearing mother would trim my long, straight, baby-fine hair six inches at a time with three snips of her scissors. Then my father would complain that she had cut off too much. (I speculate that this could be the origin of the nightmares.) I, in turn, cut the hair of every doll I ever owned. This made my mother think I’d grow up to be a serial killer. (There’s still time.)
When I was 11 years old in 1976, I got a “Dorothy Hamill” haircut as did almost every other American girl of a certain age after the Winter Olympics. Shortly thereafter, my father’s karate sensei mistook me for his little brother. My father was flattered by the suggestion that he looked young enough to have a little brother my age; but, I wasn’t, so I grew out my hair. From eighth grade until I was 41 years old, the closest I came to hair that short was a chin-length bob.
As I approached 41 with longish hair, I realized that the only celebrity haircuts that I coveted were shorts ones. There was something about the perfect short haircut that looked effortless and uncontrived. I also realized that I was in a hair “rut.” Whether I had a bob or long hair, layers or none, my haircuts were just variations on a theme which had started in eighth grade. So, cutting my hair into a Pixie became part of a strategic decision not to have hair for life. It also meant having hair nightmares.
Other than the first haircut I got in Providence, Rhode Island during my decade there, one stylist did all of the rest. Greg gave me my Pixie at 41 and I loved it. However, at 48 I decided I was in a rut again and that I wanted to grow out my hair. It took two years and it ended unhappily: I loved my hair, but at 50 I didn't love it on me. I quickly grew disenchanted with styling it only to resort to putting it into a ponytail. So, Greg started cutting my hair: first with layers around my face, then an all-over layered, above-shoulder cut. I left Providence and went to Columbus, Ohio. I saw the same stylist there three times in eight weeks trying to find the right cut: I ended up with a Pixie.
In May, at 51, I nervously colored my own hair for the first time. I wanted a medium brown color, but I couldn’t tell which color “number” (lightness-darkness factor) would produce my desired results, so I bought two shades. The first color was too light, and the next, darker color looked orange at the roots. I sent an instant message to my friend Cristina who had been a stylist before she got married. She told me to buy hair color with an “N” (for “natural”) next to the number and that would eliminate the orange roots. I went back to the drugstore and bought a 5N color in a different brand. It was significantly darker, my roots weren’t orange, and I liked it.
A week later, I went to a woman in Lewes, Delaware for a haircut. Kate had been to the salon where she worked, but a different stylist had cut Kate’s hair. She ran her fingers through my hair and asked, “Did a guy cut your hair last time? Guys just don’t get women’s hair: they cut like barbers.” She then proceeded to give me an uneven cut. She also asked me if I ever color my hair. “Yes,” I said without following up with, “Why do you ask?” because I was afraid that she’d say that it looked like I did it myself. Now, I’ll probably have hair color nightmares.
Yesterday, I had my hair cut and colored at a salon in Polson. The 24-year-old stylist gave me a great cut, but the color is cooler than I expected. Unfortunately, I also had her color my eyebrows, and the color adhered to my skin. My eyebrows look like they’ve been drawn on with a Sharpie! I look like an asshole, and I don't fucking care. Nightmares: I banish you!
When I returned to the RV park, I struck up a brief conversation with the guy in the fifth wheel parked beside me. I was walking the dogs and he said that when I returned he would give me a few suggestions about my tanks and hook-ups if I was interested. I said I was, and in 15 minutes he taught me more than I had learned from the dealership, the manuals, and by doing. He told me to buy a brass elbow to separate my water filter from BOB’s fresh water intake valve because the former was torqueing the latter; and, to buy a separate hose of a different color to use to flush the black tank so that I wouldn’t contaminate my fresh water hose if back pressure occurred. I am eternally grateful to him, and I said so as he and his family departed for home in Iowa this morning.
Siobhan M. Knox
In May 2016, I bought a five ton, 25’ long Class C motorhome because I like to drive, I like to travel, and it’s more fun and less expensive than living in a hotel. No prior RV experience was required, and I had none: perfect. I’m writing a book about my adventures which will come to an end when I get a job. The dogs will be sad.