Monday, October 10, 2005

beauty school

I need to go to Beauty School. I have no interest in cutting hair, styling hair, and certainly I could do without washing other people’s hair. But I need to go. If for nothing else, I need to learn to use the blow dryer.

My stylist can blow out all these kicky styles with just a flick of the wrist. She uses the barrel of the dryer like a second hand, somehow hoisting and holding the hair while she brushes the underside. She parts my hair quickly with the left hand and the right hand – holding the blow dryer – is already up and under and smoothing it out. It’s a thing of beauty. Myself, I can only create frizz. And static. And sweat. After blow drying my hair, I often look like I was in a fight in the jungle and I have lost miserably. Sweat droplets are running down the small of my back. I am out of breath. My face is read and blotchy. And my hair is a frizzball with kinky little pieces reaching to the heavens, that catch the light to accentuate my failure of a hairstyle. No amount of conditioner, crème, gel, or tonic can redeem this … abomination of hairstyling. And you can bet your ass that if I have just spent 30 minutes melting the bristles of my hairbrush and my deodorant is working over time, I sure as hell am NOT going to pull that shit back in a ponytail. Nuh uh.

I probably couldn’t be admitted to Beauty School. They’d review my transcript and scoff. I can see them sitting, the panel of stylist judges. Vidal Sassoon, Paul Mitchell, Toni & Guy will both be there, even Augusten Burroughs will make a surprise appearance. They’ll look at my History of Hairstyling, and question me line by line.

“Is it true that you once left on a hair dye so long that it literally turned into actual petroleum jelly?”
“Yes, sir, but… well I was trying to achieve a lighter blonde and I thought…”
“You’re a natural dark brunette, are you not?”
“Well, yes, but…”
“I think I have heard enough, thank you.”

“Is it also true that you routinely bleach your own hair – to horrific shades of golden orange and blonde?”
“Yes, that is correct.”
“And again, for the record, your natural hair is dark brown?”
“And yet you attempt home lightening?”
“Yes… yes, I do.”

“The ten shades of red currently on your head – are any of those natural?”
“Maybe, I mean, I don’t know. I have certainly dyed my hair this color, but it might be near to a natural color -- stop laughing! –- because I used to get these -– I mean it, stop laughing!! –- auburn highlights from the sun. And anyway, I don’t want your permission to color other peoples’ hair – I just want to learn to blow dry.”
“But you have colored other peoples’ hair, haven’t you?”
“Well, yes…”
“I see here, “ he says, flipping through the documents, “a bleach-out job done to a certain David Walters. And after achieving a white blonde color, you then applied hot pink color to the head in a leopard pattern?”
“Yes. I did that. But please… about the blow dryer, you see…”

Augusten Burroughs adjusts his ballcap and leans in, across the high oak desk, “Yes, yes… about the blow drying.”
“Thank you, sir –“
“- no ‘sir’ is necessary. I see here that you like to hold the dryer just inches from your hair. And that, on occasion, you burn your own hands – is that accurate?”
“Well, yes, I suppose…”
“…and that last year when you were still wreaking havoc on that bleached out highlight across the crown of your head, that you actually used the dryer so close to your head that your hair melted?”
“It didn’t melt, exactly… I mean, the heat was… I was…. Well, there was a swatch of hair that sort of singed and then stuck together.”
“And when you attempted to brush the hairs apart, what happened?”
“The section broke and fell off. About 3 inches from my scalp is where it broke off.”
“And I see here that the section of hair was approximately 3 inches wide? And was not at the time disguised with other layers cut into the hair?”
“Yes, but… wait, aren’t you the one who used conditioner to –“
“- I think we’re done here.”

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