Betty had her hair cut today. This is not a frequent occurrence. There was a time when Betty’s hair reached fingertip-length, before she chopped it to shoulder-length a few years ago: it has fluctuated up and down her thorax ever since. Today’s haircut, however, was slightly bolder than before. Some of it is collarboney, and one piece can just fit into her mouth. It is a good haircut.
Many haircuts, of course, are not good: Betty remembers several, over the years. In the fingertip days, naturally, there was not a terrible amount of room for disaster — and, if it comes to that, Betty’s hairdressers tended to be good sorts of people. There was Carlos, who had only a very minimal number of fingers on his cutting hand, and a slightly larger number on his other one; he was a fine hairdresser. There was also Carlos’s apprentice, a young boy who appeared to have only been introduced in passing to some of the more challenging scenarios that would present themselves to him over his career: he looked at Betty for quite a while — she was in her mid-teens and at more or less the height of her length, as it were — and after some deliberation he sat down, cross-legged, on the floor, so that he could snip the ends.
In more recent years, however, there were some quite unusual hairdressers. The most staggering was a wee girl in one of the swanky salons in Casabella Lane — Betty chose her on account of the fact that nobody else could fit Betty in, and she was meeting the boy person friend that afternoon and could not afford to be choosy. The hairdresser became chatty, and asked Betty all about her trips to the big city, where Betty, at the time, was studying. The conversation went something like this:
Hairdresser: Do you go up for the weekend?
Betty: No, I generally drive up for the day. Sometimes, however, I stay for the night with friends, or I go to an hotel.
Hairdresser [recalling, through the haze of volumizer, a previous topic]: But do you not stay with your boy-friend?
Betty: No, no.
Hairdresser: Oh. He lives very far away, does he?
Betty: No, not really, but I don’t stay with him.
Hairdresser [knowingly]: Ah. Wife and children?
[Betty wonders for a moment whether this is a cute way of implying that Betty is some kind of upper-level Good Girl, waiting not only for matrimony but also for offspring before she moves in with the boy person. It subsequently dawns on her that this is not the case — but, alas, too late.]
Hairdresser [comfortably]: No problem, we’ve heard it all, you wouldn’t believe. I’ll just get the straighteners.
Betty’s current hairdresser, however, is a darn good thing. She is within walking distance, and has very nice hair — a rare thing among the hairdressing masses — and, though she had no apprentice handy and had to wash Betty’s hair herself, she did not scuffle or mope. This being Takapuna, the hairdressers do seem to add a touch of class to even the small components of a shampoo. Tapotement, Betty noted. Very nice.
The upshot of all this is that Betty had not only a most relaxing head massage, but also a refreshingly adult conversation, totally unrelated to homewrecking, and a haircut that she likes. A small blessing, perhaps, but one for which Betty is profoundly grateful.