Haircuts and Jesus as a Punkista Portuguese Stylist
Today I went to my stylist Alex and asked him to please give me a much shorter haircut than normal. I’d like something crazier and fun but please, I can’t be bothered to use a “flat-iron” or whatever you call those things, so just make it easy for me to work with.
Alex: But why don’t you like using hot irons or blow-dryers?
Me: [Somewhat stumped for an answer] I, IIIIIIIII, I just can’t be bothered.
He proceeded to talk about my grey highlights as if they were endearing, and then took the razor to my cranium. I love these moments. Except that Alex asks me more than my Grandma about why I don’t have a boyfriend. At this point, he feels very invested in the matter. He really cares about my hair. It is charming.
Alex: [Grabbing my bangs to cut, wide-eyed] Now here is the best part!
Once upon a time, I had hair that was all one length, parted in the middle. No nonsense. Then I moved to Portugal and it felt as if God himself came down and performed open-heart surgery on me. It was life altering and awful and wonderful. I needed an outward sign of it. Now it seemed that a frantically bold haircut was more than a good idea: it was almost a divine order. I all of a sudden could not live without one.
So I went to the urban stylist down in Baixa Chiado and she literally danced around my chair to the thumping bass in the basement studio as I said, “just…cut it…new.”
The cement walls watched and it seemed the drum and bass in the stereo paused. Dramatically, she looked into the mirror, deep into my eyes, and exhaled as she said: “Well. We’ll need to cut you a fringe.”
Me: A fringe?
Portuguese Punkista Stylist: A fringe.
Me: [Realizing this meant “cut you some nice bangs, girl.”] Oh. Are you sure?
Portuguese Punkista Stylist: [Looking deeper into my eyes, by way of the mirror] Well. That is not the question. The question is: Are. You. Secure?
I looked at her hair, shorter than my Dad’s. I looked at her fringe, as drastically short as hip European fringes tend to be. I looked at myself in the mirror, sweating profusely and trying to mask that my breathing was becoming terrifically irregular. Am I secure? Am I?
Me: [After an eternity of searching my innards for an honest answer] Just. Cut it.
And she did. And I went from having an all-one-length-part-in-the-middle-non-hairdo to looking like Joan Jett in wild layers and fringes all around. It was lovely, really. My haircuts have since become spiritual experiences, markers of something happening in my little heart.
And I forever will remember her as a punked out Jesus in disguise asking me questions that I knew I had to answer. I liked how she danced as the cutting went on.