It has always been my way to bounce back and forth between “I suppose I have hair, and in theory it must occasionally be cut, but who remembers that sort of thing” and “I must have a haircut in the next forty minutes; the longer I have to wait the more drastic the haircut must become, and if my hair has not been cut in forty minutes on that day will I surely die.” I thought I knew what it was like to maintain short hair – I’d had the occasional plucky orphan bob, the ill Victorian cap-o’-curls – but it was not until I first shaved my head in a fit of transsexual panic that I came to understand why so many men seem to live in barbershops. The haircuts are constant, my God.
Before a haircut:
Bedraggled, just gave my last dollars’ worth of vitamin money to an untrustworthy boy, no street smarts, outdoors and itchy, bread factory, getting yelled at, missing skeleton, still has “sloppy no bra feeling” despite no longer needing a bra, sweatshirt face, thrown into a slough, turned into a bog body, mouth and joints switch places, no heartbeat, gas station shoes, back hurts, purse full of Band-Aids, spent the night in horse jail at the 4-H Club, mostly scabs, gambling debts, patchy beard, shoplifting at 7-11, Hormel chili, radiation poisoning, regular poisoning but I have 24 hours to find out who’s poisoning me so the doctors can back-formulate an antidote, chairs have uneven legs at the coffee shop, youngest son to a cursed shepherd, shoes with big hole in front so it looks like shoes have mouth.
After a haircut:
Permitted to display the fleur-de-lis on my coat of arms, victorious in the latest battle with the Savoyards, unlimited talk and text, fully paid up on the Tithe to Hell and free to visit Carterhaugh with the other maidens, son of France and superior to mere princes of the blood, ready to go riding with Father this year on his annual tour of the family holdings instead of holding Mother’s sewing at home, jewel at my throat, walking stick for insolent gesturing, given raisins as a treat by my Latin-master, kicking the chamberlain, big lace napkin tucked into my collar before feast, shiny apple, velvet pantaloons, long empty hallways for boisterousness, exiled mother due to corruption with a high-ranking minister, big turkey leg for breakfast, interrupting the opera to trade japes with my Macaroni friends, gold bucket of grapes for peeling, silver bucket of grapes for throwing, Beau Geste, enemy to Jesuits, riding dragoons like ponies, tiny cakes, nine rings, walking through manicured gardens with hands clasped behind my back, 5’11.