Even with our haircuts in America most of us don’t get what we ask for and pay for, we get clipped the way some beautiful woman decides she wants us to look.

Few of us get what we want. The rest of us get what comes.

And I got Gary, this handsome Italian cop from South Philly (now that’s redundant) deciding I should come with him and get my bushy mangle of locks fixed up at his favorite hair salon. There was this beautiful Asian-American scissorhands he liked to flirt with who just couldn’t wait to get busy reshaping my coif.

But, of course.

I hate haircuts. They make me feel wounded. That’s why I don’t get many of them. Besides, I like my hair long, especially in the back. It gives me something to rip and tear when I’m stumped writing in the still night hours. And women have mentioned that there are times when they like to yank on it, too.

Hmmm… I wonder what they mean by that?

Anyway, when I do get my abundant tresses clipped, I don’t want it to look like I got ‘a hair cut.’ Or even two of them. You know what I mean? Women don’t ever look like they got hacked with a meat cleaver. Or white walls shaved around their ears. Or proud flesh beaming at the nape of their necks.

They get it styled. They get their split ends snipped. They get to looking pretty. And just like that old proverb: Women rather be pretty than smart because men see better than they think.

Call me vain, if you will. I’m allowed. We all are.  Deep down we are all very superficial. That’s why the world’s got so many lyin’ mirrors. And, if people want to see my inner beauty, take x-rays. Or they can peer down my throat. Or up my you know what.

Besides we all have a ‘look’ about ourselves. It might be for professional or artistic reasons. Or just because that’s the way we like to see ourselves. Like our always perfectly coifed congressman and people eternally posing on TV. It’s our personae.  And I am not exactly displeased with the affect I have on other people. Actually, I’m happy to still have any affect at all. My goal has always been to amuse, abuse, afflict and comfort.

And I do it well. I can be insufferable. Just like my latest future ex-wife.

So I explained to Teri, the beauty maestro, what I wanted. And didn’t want.

I didn’t want to look like Gary (Nothing too personal.). I also didn’t want to look like I was from South Philadelphia (That gets beyond explanation.). I didn’t want to look like a Catholic altar boy. (I’ll let that one go.) And mostly, I didn’t want to look like I had just had a haircut.

I wanted my hair long. Especially in the back. I just wanted it shaped up. I explained that all the grooming I do with my hair each early morning is wash it in the shower, towel dry and brush it back with my stubby fingers. After that my hand absently brushes it back throughout the day. I don’t check it in the reflection of department store windows.

And the reason I was allowing Gary to bring me in the door was because my regular hair guy in center city had become too darn expensive.

Got it?

Teri is, indeed, beautiful. And, unfortunately I’ve learned — especially from my exes – that what is often a feast for the eyes, is usually a famine for the brain. It’s my fault. Man is weak. And I’m very weak. And Teri started reminding me of  the devilish Lola in “Damn Yankees” singing in her sexy red dress: “What Lola wants, Lola gets.”

Teri’s only reply was: “Can’t I do something with your sides?”

“No.”

“You have to get with it, Drew,” she chirped.

“I don’t wanna,” I said. “I just want what I want. Got it?”

At that, the ordeal began.

Gary took a seat to watch. Joey, the hefty, shaved-headed salon co-owner busied himself. And before I knew it Teri’s scissors were off to the races. She was snipping faster than Secretariat galloping down the home stretch.

Someone clipping that speedily, can only be doing one thing: What she only knows from repetition and redundancy on a thousand other Gary’s, South Philly Italian stallions and Catholic altar boys.

When she finished, I didn’t want to even peek. My hand felt the phantom pain of my amputated mane.

Gary and Joey had gotten up and walked outside to check out Joey’s Harley Davidson motorcycle. And then Teri held up a hand mirror to reflect the back of my head.

There is no Halloween movie scream that could capture what I was restraining. If you could have harnessed my fury I could have lit up all the traffic lights in Philadelphia.

However, at such times, I am so torturously polite. I have learned you don’t spew in anger the best diatribe you will always ruefully regret.

So, blind with the insult, I paid her. I even tipped her. I mean, I still wanted to do all sorts of unnatural acts with her. A man is always prospecting.

But then I asked her what happened to my hair in the back?

“You don’t like it?” she said, seeming genuinely hurt. “Don’t worry. Your hair will grow back.”

I chose my words cautiously. “I didn’t come here for my hair to grow back! I came here to get a hair cut. Not all of them assaulted like troops on Iwo Jima. Even Bin Laden surely looks better at the bottom of the sea.”

At that I left.

Gary complimented my “nice-hair-cut-you-look-good” as if he was too tentative to say anything else. I wasn’t mad at him. I don’t blame him. I really like the guy. Even if he is good looking. And knows it. But he’s not narcissistic. A narcissist  is someone who sometimes ‘suspects’ someone else may be better looking. Gary harbors no doubts.

I have gotten a lot of nonsensical kidding. Up in New York a group that I often write for said I look like a geek, or a computer nerd. One said I didn’t look like a writer. So maybe he’d better look until he finds one.

This will pass. My hair will grow back long again…alas, perhaps in a couple of years. And to be honest, Teri’s haircut, itself, isn’t that bad. Maybe even pretty good. It’s just not pretty good on me. It’s not what I asked for. It’s not what I was paying for. It’s not what I wanted.

Then again, like I said at the top, few of us get what we want, mostly we get what comes. We get what she wants, no matter how much or how little we pay a Lola, or a Teri or any other she-devil with the red dress, red dress on….

And dats yDrewIS on DIS penal colony.

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