“I want to go really dark,” I told my hairstylist, Kristina, the moment I sat in her chair.
Her eyes lit up like a Christmas tree. “Really?” she gushed. “This is so exciting! You’re going to look so good. And I’m going to give you the perfect haircut to complement the color.”
“Go for it. I trust you,” I replied. And I did—this was a woman who’d shepherded me through as many hair whims as there are microclimates in San Francisco and hadn’t let me down yet, even when I’d gotten hot-pink extensions the preceding year.
But a stylist is only as strong as her weakest hairspray, and that day Kristina whittled away a little more of my faith in her with each snip of her scissors. Of course, I didn’t realize at the time that our relationship was unraveling. No, my almost black tresses (peppered with unsolicited yellow chunks) and Kristina’s raucous enthusiasm as she bounced around my head, taking an inch off here, six inches off there—“I love this cut; it’s a masterpiece!”—conspired to distract me from my plight until it was too late.
By the time I stepped bewilderedly into the sunlight, I looked like a hacked-up crow. Kristina Scissorhands had given me three haircuts in one. The top layers ended directly atop my skull, the middle tier jutted out from the back of my neck like one of those rows of spikes that prevent people from entering rental-car parking lots through the wrong driveway, and the jagged bottom rung threatened to draw blood. Squinting into a compact mirror, I touched the glass and whispered, “Annie?” No one answered.