“Are you sure you want to do this?” Jesse asked nervously, hovering behind me. “I know how you are about these things and I haven’t got a whole lot of experience, yet.”
“I’m feeling pretty brave at the moment,” I answered. “So just do me a favor and do it as fast as you can.”
“Okay,” he muttered back. “Breathe.”
A mere twelve seconds later it was over with.
Jesse, twitching, put his hand on my shoulder and asked if I was okay.
“Wow,” was all I could manage to say.
“Um, do you want to see it?” he asked sheepishly.
I nodded yes.
Jesse spun me around and held out his hand. There he was clutching all eight inches of it.
“Jesus, I didn’t realize there was so much of it,” I blurted out.
“I tried to tell you it was longer than you realized, but you never listen,” he replied anxiously. “So, do you want to hold on to it or what?”
“Oh please. Just get rid of it,” I answered dismissively.
He then walked over to the trash receptacle and disposed of it.
That was the fate of what was once my luxuriously long ponytail.
Groan. You got us all worked up over a haircut, Robby?
What the hell did you people think I was talking about? This isn’t Serial Blonde After Dark, you perverts. And though it’s not nearly as titillating, I can assure you that getting nearly a foot of your hair lopped off on a whim is almost as traumatic as finding yourself impaled on something that large.
But I digress.
Sometimes you need to really shake things up to improve your mood and demeanor.
Like so many people in my demographic (no longer a kid, not quite ready for Shady Pines, either), I had found myself feeling anxious, moody, and restless. I desperately needed something to get my mind off the things that were troubling me (making ends meet, trying to lose more weight, the rise and fall of Britney Spears). And none of my previous coping mechanisms were doing the trick.
Food wasn’t the answer (though I was craving some artery clogging Taco Bell, I haven’t been busting my ass on Weight Watchers for the last seven months to throw it away on something that would surely wreak havoc on my diminishing waist line, not to mention my colon). Sex wouldn’t do it (though I was craving the hot drive through cashier at said Taco Bell, I wouldn’t be able to decide which big burrito I wanted: his or his employer’s). Even my old standby of escaping into a good book wasn’t strong enough to distract me (Edward or Jacob? The vampire or the werewolf? Who was the better choice for Bella Swan?)
Just when I needed it, like a guardian angel (albeit one who lost his wings a long time ago, along with most of his clothing most likely), my sweet friend Jesse, half way through his cosmetology training, called me with a tale of despair of his own.
“I can’t do this anymore,” he complained.
“Oh, Jesse, you can and you will,” I answered. “You’re just nervous. It’ll be different when you work on real people.”
“I burned half the hair off my mannequin head last week with a fucking curling iron. They’re never going to let me near a live person.”
Been there. Done that.
“Accidents happen,” I reasoned.
And then an interesting thought occurred to me.
“You know what,” I began. “I think we could both use a good dose of spontaneity. Get your ass over here. You’re cutting my hair.”
After much cajoling and swearing on a stack of Madonna CDs that I would not regret this decision (which in turn, he feared, would result in much bodily harm being inflicted upon his person), he obviously, but begrudgingly gave in to my demand.
That afternoon with Jesse did us both good. After the initial shock wore off, he got his confidence back and I felt like a brand new person, too.
So to all of you out there feeling down trodden or overwhelmed, I highly recommend doing something to jump start your motors. It might not necessarily involve scissors or a bottle of peroxide (of course I bleached the hell out of my hair afterwards, too), but there are many things one can do to reinvigorate their life. Go for a long, peaceful walk. Update your resume. Reorganize your closets. Call a friend, have a good old fashion bitching session, and then go out and do something fun! Hell, sit down and write your own column about the things you could be doing instead of sitting there feeling shitty about your life.
On second thought, maybe you should just cut and color your hair.
Leave the writing to me.
Essential Download: "Anything Goes"
Artisit: Harpers Bizzare
Available On: Feelin' Groovy: The Best of Harpers Bizzare
Originally published in the September 2008 issue of The Empty Closet, New York State’s Oldest Continuously-Published LGTB newspaper since 1973, through the Gay Alliance of Genesee Valley.