When my hairstylist announced that she was expecting a baby and would be taking a three-month maternity leave, my reaction was like the Kubler-Ross Five Stages of Grief.

First there was denial.

“Are you sure? How many times did you pee on a stick?”

Then there was anger.

“Nooooo! You can’t leave me!!!”

Then bargaining.

“Tell you what, bring the baby to the salon and I’ll hold her while you cut my hair.”

Followed by depression.

“Oh my god. Three months! I’m going to look like one of the Beatles.”

And finally, acceptance.

“Okay. Well, Congratulations, I guess. It’s a blessing … for you, of course. For me, it’s a nightmare.”

So, maybe not so much acceptance after all.

Desperate for someone I could trust with my tresses, I got a recommendation from a friend for a high-end stylist who went by just one name or perhaps just a letter of the alphabet and only cut hair on Wednesdays. I had to book three months in advance and promise not to stress my hair follicles for two days before I came in. Also, I had to have my hair blessed in advance by a Tibetan yogi and bring a goat to my appointment as a sacrifice to the hair-cutting gods.

At the salon, I showed the stylist a picture of my hair the last time it had been cut. He grunted at me, stared at my head for five minutes, and then whipped out his scissors from his golden holster and began cutting. His hands moved so fast they were a blur, like Edward Scissorhands shaping a hedge, except the hedge was my head and Edward Scissorhands was a crazed hairstylist named Zee with pink shears and a can of hairspray strapped to his hip. I tried to look in the mirror while he cut, but as my hair flew in the air, it got caught in some kind of salon jet stream and came back and smacked me in the face. At this point I was confident that my head was going to be bald and I would have a full beard of my own cut hair on my face.

In less than 10 minutes, Zee was done. He slathered what was left of my hair with some kind of sludge that smelled like feet and had the consistency of slug slime. Then he pushed it all off to the side and straight up in the air in a faux-hawk so that I looked like an aging punk rocker from the 80s. I was fairly certain that this was not the haircut I’d had, not a haircut I wanted, and not something any 52-year-old suburban mother of two should be wearing any day except Halloween.

Hoping that maybe it wasn’t quite as bad as I thought it was, I turned to my daughter who had accompanied me for moral support and asked for her opinion.

“What do you think?”

“Hmmm,” she thought. “It’s not great. But look on the bright side.”

“What’s that?” I wondered.

She shrugged. “You still have your eyebrows.”

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