I get a painful flashback every time I attempt to trim my bangs. I begin to shake and break into a sweat. The second I drop the scissors, it all goes away. A memory from my teenage years still has power over me.
We were juniors in high school when Ann Marie Castorani asked Mariah and I to cut her hair. We agreed. That’s what friends do. The goal was to turn her brown, wiry, coarse, naturally curly, mid-length mass of tight curls into a sleek bob. In short, we were to transform her into a fellow classmate, Cathy O’Doole.
Cathy was petite with blonde, shiny, naturally straight, hair. When she turned her head, her hair would ever so gently sway and then fall right back into place. Ann Marie had a ruddy complexion and wore dark make up. Her neck was six shades lighter than her face. Cathy, on the other hand, had fair porcelain skin and only wore a light, pink, blush.
We had never cut hair, but we confident. For God’s sakes, we’d watched in the mirror as the hair stylists cut our own hair for years. It looked so easy. We wrapped a make shift pink towel for a drape. The transformation began with each of us on one side of her head with two different size scissors. Mine looked like garden shears. Mariah had a petite sewing pair. We encouraged Ann Marie throughout our butchering…I mean styling.
“Everyone will be so surprised when you arrive at the prom,” I said cheerfully. Half way through our professional cut, we had to switch sides and scissors. Our hands ached. Mariah’s fingers were swollen from the itsy bitsy scissor handles. My wrists hurt from the chomping move of my shears. Her hair was like a Brillo pad on steroids.
She was looking less and less like Cathy O’Doole when Mrs. Castorani arrived. She overheard Mariah say,”Ann Maire, you could be on Teen Magazine’s cover. This is so beautiful!” Ann Marie giggled with excitement. My side looked more like she should be on the cover story of “Big Foot‘s Head Was Spotted In The Woods.” I hid the mirror from her. Mariah signaled that we needed to cut another inch to even things up.
Ann Marie mentioned we could stay for her mom’s famous lasagna. Her mother rounded the corner smiling and singing. Once she saw our styling chair, her smile disappeared. She let out a scream that could have been heard in Russia. You’d have thought we cut her daughter’s head off! Why did she have to be so dramatic?
“How could you let these two idiots do this? I thought they were your best friends! You look like a Chia Pet! The prom is next weekend!”
“Anne and Mariah, get out of my house NOW!” Ann Marie ran to her bedroom in tears and she hadn’t even seen her hair yet.
We were sitting on the curb waiting for a ride home when Mariah asked, “Did she really call us idiots?” I had hurt feelings myself. “I guess she won’t bring us a piece of her famous lasagna now,” I moaned.
We were still waiting for a ride when Ann Marie yelled from her bedroom window. “I still love you guys,” as she sobbed.
Her mother was right. She did look like one, teary-eyed, Chia Pet.