Hair Today, Wine Tomorrow

In my defense, I just want to say that I used to cut other people’s hair for a living. I know what I’m doing when I pick up a pair of haircutting shears or my prized feather razor. I may not be able to do it professionally any more, but the knowledge is still there in my head.

I still know what I’m doing.

Even if I didn’t have all those years of experience, I’d probably still have a rough grasp of the concept. After all, I grew up with two aunts and an older sister who have all worked in the industry and owned salons at one time or another.

All of which does nothing to explain just exactly what the hell I did to my hair last night.

Seriously, I know better.

It’s been sort of a spiral that I should have seen coming. It started when I saw my hairdresser sister a few months ago and realized that she has let her hair go gray. But it’s not just gray. It’s glowing, shiny, resplendent in its shimmery grayness. It’s the only kind of gray any self-respecting cosmetologist should ever be allowed to wear.

That was right about the time my state shut everything down because of the pandemic. With no salons open, and no concerns about people seeing me with white roots, I decided to give it a shot. Let the ol’ grays sprout and do their own thing. What’s the worst that can happen, right?

I should know by now not to ask that question.

I got to see my other sister last week for the first time in months. The non-hairdressing sister, for the record.

That’s important to the story. Trust me.

“I cut my own hair!” she announced. It had gone from long and wavy to shoulder-length, with thick, bouncy curls that were streaked with shiny gray. It was, quite simply, the best haircut I have ever seen on her. Ever. The length, the shape, the color … it was all beyond perfect for her.

“I just pulled it into a ponytail on top of my head and cut it in a straight line,” she explained.

I think we all know what happened next, don’t we?

I’ve got a good three inches of steely gray hair at my roots. Not a shiny, pretty white like my sisters have, but it sure is gray. Oh, yeah, it is gray.  I took a glass of wine with me into the bathroom and stared at my hair in the mirror.

“She has no experience with hair,” I said out loud. “She’s had no training. She just pulled it into a ponytail and cut it off and it looks amazing.”

“Mom, are you talking to yourself in there?” my son shouted through the bathroom door.

“Nope. Talking to the mirror.” And the mirror thinks I need more wine. 

I’ve seen the ponytail-cutting technique. I watched Trevor Sorbie demonstrate it at my first hair show. I understand the concept of angles and a stationary guide and every little thing I learned in my continuing education classes. Logically, it all made sense.

I, however, am no Trevor Sorbie. Not even a distant cousin.

After a bit more wine, it really began to seem like such a simple thing to do. And so silly that I’d never done it before.  I mean, c’mon, I used to cut other people’s hair every day. Why wouldn’t I be able to cut my own?

So I scooped it up into a high ponytail, took a deep breath, and went to town with my trusty little  five-inch Fromm shears.

Big mistake.

After a little more wine, I decided it might look better if I snipped at a few of the jagged pieces.

More wine became vital at that point. As did volumizer, gel, a diffuser, and several gallons of hairspray. After that, I decided I should go to bed because everything would look better in the morning.

It’s morning now.

My kids can’t stop laughing at me. The dog hid under the table after seeing me, and she’s still there now, whimpering. Even the contractor had to put down his tools and step outside for a moment to regain his composure.

I’m trying really hard to put a positive spin on this. Like “any experience I learn from is a good one” or “it’s only hair, it’ll grow back” or some other such platitude. But honestly, all I’ve got is “don’t ever leave me alone with wine and sharp objects.”

Right now, I’m facing a huge dilemma. I need to call in a professional to fix this, obviously. But which sister do I call — the one who has been doing hair for decades and whose skill is unrivaled, or the one who knows nothing about hair but made her own look fabulous?

Or should I leave town and go somewhere anonymously to let some stranger fix it? While laughing her ass off, probably .

You know what? None of these options are really appealing. Maybe I’d be better of trying to fix it myself?

Yeah, I’m gonna need more wine before I try that.