Crazy Sarah – DLBarGrill
I was always known as the rational, levelheaded one. You knew what to expect from Sarah. I was the one who would present the rational answer.
I lay on the sofa while Dennis was on the loveseat when I sprang it on him. “What would you think if I cut my hair short?”
Dennis was reading Sports Illustrated and my statement wasn’t enough to divert his attention. “How short?”
“Short. I really like the way Melissa cut hers. I’ve had it this long since I was 18. It’s about time.”
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Dennis kept reading. “I like your hair long.” My hair was definitely long, stretching a couple of inches past my breasts.
Dennis returned to his reading, and I picked up a magazine myself. About an hour later, Dennis put down the magazine. “You really have to cut your hair?”
I should say that I wasn’t looking for his permission to cut my hair, but one of the reasons you go to such trouble to look good is to look good for him. I sense an opening. “Yes.”
“I’m cool with it, but only if you go along with this thought I just had.”
“You get to pick the style.”
“No. It’s your hair. You pick how it looks.”
“It can’t be too short.”
“That’s not it either. I’m assuming you want it as short as Melissa.”
“Yeah. What is it?”
“You get it cut in stages. You decide the final style, but I decide the haircuts in between. You get it cut when I say, how I say, and I’ll pay for it.”
“That’s nuts. How do I know you won’t choose something freaky?”
“I have to be seen with you. Sarah, if you’re going to get rid of the hair I love, then I want you to do this. It’s kind of a way for me to be with you, but to be with a different woman.”
“I don’t know.”
“Think about it. It’ll be fun. You’ll be trying a bunch of different looks.”
“It’s the only way I’ll be cool with you going short.”
He held out his hand and I shook it. “Deal.” I wanted him to be on board with the decision to go short.
“One stipulation: You can tell people anything you want except that you’re doing it because I want it. If you tell anyone, you pay for the haircuts and owe me $100. If you don’t, I pay for them and owe you $100.”
“This is crazy.”
He kissed me on my neck, then on my forehead. He unbuttoned my bra. “I know.” And we made love.
Three days later, I got an e-mail: “You have an appointment with Patti at 6. I’ll drive.” All day I couldn’t believe I was going through with it. Dennis refused to tell me what haircut I was getting, and it gave me the weirdest erotic feeling. Even when I went with that short Princess Di look in the mid-80’s, I’d always decided my haircuts. Even in the car he wouldn’t tell me. He gave me an envelope with the instructions that only Patti was supposed to read it.
As instructed, I gave the envelope to Patti. She looked at the picture and read the note. “Are you sure about this?”
I gulped, looked at a smiling Dennis, and made the decision to go down this path. “Yes.”
Patti took me to the colorist. “Color?”
“It’s what you asked for.”
“Oh, right,” I replied, and the colorist began coloring my hair without showing the color. “Can you send Dennis over?”
Dennis looked at me with my hair draped in an unknown color. “You never said anything about color. You know I’m a blond.”
“The only blond you are comes out of a bottle. I’m in charge of your hair until the final cut. You can go back to blond then.”
“What’s the color?”
“I’ve always wanted to see you as a redhead. You know I have a thing for redheads.”
I leaned over and whispered into his ear. “If this wasn’t so erotic, I’d kill you.”
A few minutes later, I was at Patti’s station. “Ready?”
“As I’ll ever be.”
Then Patti went to town. She pushed my head down, and I gritted my teeth. She cut straight across in the back, freeing a foot of hair I’d carefully maintained for years. It had been 14 years since the last time I’d had more than three inches cut. Patti took the top section of my hair and did the same. My hair now brushed my shoulders.
And then, not quite three minutes after she started, Patti put the scissors down. She didn’t touch the rest of the hair. Instead, she blew my hair dry, carefully curling the ends under with a round brush. The end result amazed me. Here was this redhead with shiny shoulder-skimming, center-parted hair. I didn’t recognize her. I thanked Patti, and told her how wonderful it looked. How happy I was with the change. It was just what I wanted. Patti smiled as she handed the envelope back to me.
I looked at the two pictures. The first was a Pantene ad with an Asian model that had my new haircut. The second was that supermodel Angie something and her orange-red hair. The note read, “Patti, I’ve decided to make a change. I want Angie’s color and the Pantene haircut. I can only get the courage up to do it this way. Don’t let me back out.” I admired Dennis’s ingenuity. The writing was a woman’s, so Patti wouldn’t be suspicious.
Dennis ran his hands through my hair, clearly pleased. He was like a nervous child. “Do you like it?”
“It doesn’t matter. I’m not keeping this style. What matters is that you clearly like it.”
He smiled. “Thank you.”
And that made it all worthwhile, because over the next few days I came to the conclusion I hated the haircut. I wasn’t a redhead. I was a blond. And the style was way too much work. I had to blow dry it every morning with a round brush to curl it under. Otherwise, it looked awful. When my hair was long, I could wash and go. When it would be short, I’d be able to do the same. Now, I had to spend 15-20 minutes getting it right. With a cut like this, if it was at all messy, it looked awful.
I braced for the reaction.
“Oh shit,” Laurel said to me. “What did you do?”
“Don’t pull any punches,” I responded sarcastically.
“Well, it’s just that… I wasn’t expecting this. You mentioned going short, but this isn’t short, and it’s so red.”
I started to tell her, but I remembered my deal with Dennis. It wasn’t the money, although I spent my entire paycheck, it was the principle. A deal is a deal. “I changed my mind. I wanted to see how a redhead does.”
“Sarah, you’re crazy. You’re in sales. People in this business don’t deal with change that well.”
“Get used to it. This is the new Sarah. This might not be the last change you see.”
I’d had my shoulder length Pantene cut for four days when I got another e-mail from Dennis. “You have an appointment with Patti at 6. I’ll drive.”
I was shocked at this. I went to the hairdresser every three or four months and he wanted to go after four days. I e-mailed back: “I just got it cut and colored.”
He responded: “I have the photos. You don’t like it. We’ll change it.”
“Why do you want to do it so soon?”
“Because you aren’t expecting to do it so soon. No one is. After knocking Mike and Jen’s socks off with this ‘do, I want to see what they think of the next one. Besides, it gets you closer to the short cut you really want.”
Dennis followed the same procedure as the last time. He handed me an envelope I wasn’t supposed to look at and I handed that to Patti.
She, needless to say, was surprised to see me. “Sarah, I can’t believe you’re here. You hate it?”
“I wouldn’t say hate is the right word,” I said slyly. Our agreement was that I couldn’t tell anyone Dennis was pulling the strings. “I tried being a redhead and this look. It isn’t what I want. I guess I should have mentioned that I’m thinking of going short, but want to do it in stages.”
“That makes sense, but after four days? Most clients do it over months.”
“Let’s just go for it.”
She opened the envelope. “Yeah. It’s all here in the instructions. I’m just worried about ruining your hair with all these color changes.”
I leered at Dennis as Patti took me for color. He knew to follow. As I was sitting there with the dye in my hair, I asked, “I thought you wanted me to be a redhead?”
“And I got my redhead. You didn’t want to be a redhead. And now you’re going to be something very different.”
That’s when the colorist put in the darkest color I’ve ever seen. I was bright. I was bubbly. I was blond. Not anymore. Now I was some sort of Goth goddess in jet-black. I could just see how this would go over in the next client presentation. Dennis was making me over as some kind of freak. Everyone would think I was crazy.
Patti removed the towel from my now dark hair. She brushed out my sleek bob, then took out a small piece of metal. It was maybe four or five inches long with small spikes at one end. She pushed my head down and lightly ran this razor along the back of my head two inches below the nape. She did this for a while, taking it piece by piece. I had no idea what the result of this was.
She then took the razor to the right side of my head. She removed 2-3 inch pieces in succession, moving from front to back. My hair was becoming choppy, no longer sleek, as the ends were now different lengths, kind of chipped. Patti did the same on the left side, razoring off pieces of different lengths each time. My hair was full of layers, a vast departure from anything I’d ever had. My hair had always been one length.
But as Patti blew the hair dry and finger-scrunched the hair at the ends, I thought how different I looked. I didn’t recognize myself. My hair was heavily layered a couple of inches past my chin, a tousled ‘do that fell in different lengths on the sides.
I kind of liked it and Dennis was turned on by the cut. Just as with the shoulder-length redhead, Dennis was with a new woman few would recognize as me.
And I was right. They started calling me ‘Crazy Sarah’ at work. My boss called me into his office. He thought I was going overboard on my personal appearance. I told him that I could do my hair how I wanted and there was nothing strange about my new look. A few people were actually scared of me. That made me laugh. Didn’t I use to be the rational predictable one? People treated me differently. Now people thought I was some sort of bad girl. My ever-changing look became the topic of conversation with my friends and when we were out as a couple. I’m just glad my mom never saw me. The woman would have gone nuts.
I told Dennis that he had his fun. We hadn’t said how many cuts he got, even though I had been willing to give him three or four. That was before he raised the stakes with the colorist. He didn’t just take me for haircuts; he changed the way I looked completely. He changed the way people saw me.
And somehow this change in perception changed me. I became a little bit of the bad girl. I was no longer predictable.
I still missed my blond hair though. I went back to Patti and told her I wanted to be blond again. Patti told me that the entire coloring process had damaged my hair. There was no way she could take me from jet-black to blond. There was only one solution, buzz it. The old, dependable Sarah would never have done this, but Crazy Sarah did.
Patti took out an electric razor, put a 3/4-inch guard on it and applied it to my hair. Front to back she went, taking huge swaths of hair off my head. My ears were exposed for the first time and let me tell you it felt weird. I used to tie my hair back all the time, but this was nothing but a cool breeze.
She took the razor to the back of my head. Starting at the nape, she buzzed the hair upward. It only took four passes to dispose of my hair. My hair was gone in no time flat. It had once been down to my breasts and now it was little more than a buzz. By this time, people expected crazy haircuts from me. Some people thought I’d gone butch, but soon thereafter Dennis and I got engaged. By that time my hair grew out a bit, I got rid of the rest of the jet-black and colored my hair blond. I have it in a one-inch boyish style now, but I’m thinking of growing it out. After all, Crazy Sarah has to have wild hairstyles.