neither hair nor there

Yesterday I got a haircut. This is the second professional haircut I’ve gotten in Georgia (so in, oh, about 22 months), but the third haircut overall, if you count the self-inflicted “styling” I gave myself in a fit of frustration about four months ago. 

The first haircut took place last summer (Junish, if I recall) while I was visiting Peace Corps friends in another town. I had arrived and met up with my friends. We were just three gals about to have a fun weekend together when one of my companions casually mentioned how long my hair was getting. I replied with an “Ugh, tell me about it, I’m in need of a haircut desperately!” And one thing lead to another and all of sudden we were in a salon getting our hairs cut. It’s mostly a blur now, but I do recall that I felt (initially) pretty good about mine. There was a lot of cutting and layering and blow-drying and for a moment there I looked kinda fabulous. Sadly, my companions did not fair as well. The first, after having asked for a just a leeeeetle trim of her long hair, ended up with layers so out of control and misplaced that another PCV later described it as having bangs in the back of her head. And the other…well, there were tears. Lots of tears. For which she cannot be blamed. I would have cried, too, if I had ended up with the mullet that she received that day. So compared to all that, my haircut was great.

The problem with my haircut though, as I later discovered, was that I had actually received two haircuts. In the front I had a stylish, slightly-longer-than-shoulder-length layered cut. In the back I had hair that reached to the middle of my back and came to a point. It just felt so mismatched. But I endured it for months because 1) I had taken to pulling it back almost all the time and, therefore, didn’t often see how jacked-up it was, and 2) I was afraid of receiving an even worse haircut from another stylist. So I stewed.

But then this past November I reached a point of deep frustration and decided to do something. Unfortunately, I was still so afraid of going to a salon, ya know? What was I going to do? But then a voice in my head whispered softly to me: If you want something done right you do it yourself.  And since the voices in my head almost never lead me astray I decided to act on those words of wisdom. 

I spent 20 minutes Googling “self hair-cutting techniques”, watched a few YouTube videos, and then went to town on my mane with the pair of dull bandage-cutting scissors I received in my Peace Corps medical kit. (What could possibly go wrong with such a well-formed plan?) After about 10 minutes of hacking away I had managed to cut a good 4-5 inches off the back, better matching it to the front of my hair.

But now a new problem surfaced, which was this: though I kept cutting and cutting, no matter how I tried I couldn’t get it to lay even in the back. There were always uneven pieces. Which I would trim. But then, as if by magic, new uneven pieces would appear. In  a huff I finally gave up, deciding that my arms are simply not long enough to properly cut the hair at the back of my head. (Just to be clear, I’m not saying I’m a T-Rex or Matthew McConaughey or something like that. Yes, I have short arms, but the rest of me is pretty short, too, so I think it’s all proportional. But even tall people with regular-length arms probably can’t reach back and around like that either. I mean, really, who has long enough arms to truly cut the hair in the back of their own head? Very few people, I suspect!)

So, I had cut off the long and straggly hair in the back, thus solving one problem. But it was now all uneven and, let’s face it, completely unsightly. What a mess. As the days and weeks wore on, I continued to wear my hair up, trying to ignore the catastrophe going on back there. I would mention to other PCVs, “Hey, maybe the next time you come over you can trim up my hair in the back for me!” I even carried my dull scissors with me to conferences and other PCV’s sites thinking if there was a free moment someone could fix it right up. But I always forgot about the scissors in my bag until I got home. So the corrective trim never happened. And then it was three months later and my hair was sort-of-growing-out anyway, so what was the use at that point?

So I basically walked around in public with a self-inflicted uneven haircut for four months. I’m that pathetic.

But this week I finally decided enough was enough. ENOUGH WAS ENOUGH. Something needed to be done. The situation was no longer tenable. (I think this is what people call “hitting rock bottom.”)

I asked my coworkers with cute haircuts to recommend a salon. They said I should see a woman named Melano, drew a little map showing me where she works, and told me how to say “haircut” in Georgian. I was as prepared as I ever would be. So yesterday I took that map, put on my big-girl panties, and went to get a real haircut.

And…it was a fabulous haircut! And it only cost 4 Lari! (FYI, that’s about $2.40.) Why did I wait so long to have this done?

In the interests of full disclosure, here is what 4 Lari does not get you: a hair washing (I didn’t even see a sink in the place), a fancy salon chair that goes up and down (I sat in an office chair) and clean sterilized tools (something we should not dwell on). In fact, I’m pretty sure the stylist cut my hair with craft scissors. But, who cares about luxuries anyway because the cut is amazing. I had brought a picture with me of what I wanted (a medium-length bob, angled slightly forward). She looked at the photo and made it happen. She was the best, checking in with me on the length before she made the first cut, giving me a great blow-out, and going over it twice at the end to make sure there were no stray pieces.  And all for 4 Lari. (How am I going to go back to the U.S. and pay $50 or $75 or, god forbid, $100+ for a haircut? I was already cheap. I’m now completely ruined.)

So, here is my new haircut:

I love it!

I love it!

Now, I will admit that given my circumstances I may no longer be the best judge of what actually qualifies as a good, stylish haircut. But I do know the Georgians around me like it. My coworkers oohed and awed(And let’s just say, I do think that if they didn’t like it they would have said so. Georgians, in my experience, can be very upfront when it comes to physical appearances. Like how they will tell you when you’re getting fat. Just in case you hadn’t noticed. Or how they often point out all my gray hairs, which is a whole other matter that deserves its own post. Anyhoo…) So I’ve gotten lots of positive feedback. And I personally adore it and feel like a million bucks. But I might be completely deluded. This could actually be an awful haircut. If that is the case, please don’t tell me now. Wait until I get back to the U.S. and then stage an intervention, like good friends do. For now, just be kind and let me bask in the afterglow of my haircut. My wonderful new haircut.



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12 responses to “neither hair nor there

  1. Looks good to me. But why is your right hand over your stomach? Is this a Napoleonic pose or is something else going on?

  2. Katy

    You look marvelous!

  3. Must Have Boxes

    Love the new haircut!

    – KW

  4. Amy

    Clearly, I haven’t seen you in ages. (And, I live in this tiny country with you.) Your hair was so so so LONG. But, this length and cut is great for you!

  5. Liz

    Your ability to photograph the back of your head is impressive. Love the cut. tres chic!

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