Wednesday, January 30, 2008


I have always considered it a point of pride that I go to Supercuts for my haircuts. Probably because I am rather high maintenance about everything else: my clothes, make up, skincare, etc. But perhaps I should be wary of any salon that still features artwork by Patrick Nagel, particularly artwork with cheetahs:

Yesterday I disappeared at lunch to get a trim at the local Supercuts. I have gone there numerous times and my direction is always simple: an inch off the bottom, maintain the long layers for bounce. But yesterday my stylist seemed not to know the definition of an inch, of long layers. Because while I sat there shell shocked by how round my face looks when my body is draped in an eggplant colored dandruff speckled smock she spritzed my hair with a spray bottle (no shampoo for $20) and began to hack away chunks off the back. At first I didn't notice. Like I said I was more enrapt with my round head in the mirror, the way it kind of just bobbled on top of the little tissue she had wrapped around my pencil neck. But then she got around to the front of my hair and that's when I noticed there was not the usual deliberate measuring, no delicate snip snip even if at Supercuts the deliberation is a farce. No, this lady was taking hunks of my hair, raising them high overhead and just cutting 4 inches at a time. I couldn't move.

Looking at old photos of myself the only way I can measure the passage of time is the thickness of my eyebrows (1990: monster caterpillars. 1994: Drew Barrymore-thin. Both ill-advised). I prefer my hair long. I can directly relate this penchant for long hair back to the spring of my 8th grade year when I found a photo of Famke Janssen with short hair and brought it to Shear Locks (also featuring the artwork of Nagel) because I wanted to look like her. This was long before X-men, Golden Eye and Nip/Tuck. Famke was a no-name Dutch model with high cheekbones and doe eyes.

I tore out a photo from my mom's Vogue and brought it in to Shear Locks, never once contrasting Famke's fine features to my Vuarnet t-shirt and madras shorts, to the fact that I lined the inside of my brown eyes with aquamarine Wet 'n Wild eye pencil. (Aside: the color aquamarine didn't seem to make it out of the decade of the 80's. Funny how an entire color can go obsolete.)

This was how 14 year old Susannah looked as a Dutch model:

Let's just pause for a moment to admire my bravery for posting my 9th grade school photo. I am only thankful that the photo is in black and white because that turtleneck that I have on? Yeah, it's a pastel salmon color and my frosted lipgloss matches. (Salmon: yet another color that didn't make it out of the 80's. Thank God.)

All of this just to say that I was scarred by short hair. I spent the first half of high school with a stubby ponytail and handfuls of bobby pins stuck at odd angles into the side of my head. The Famke haircut took forever to grow out. So yesterday when I finally noticed that the Supercuts lady was hacking away at my head as if she was tenderizing a veal flank I couldn't move. It was a bit like those nightmares where the bad guys is coming at you and you cannot scream. When she was done she whipped out a white plastic mirror and spun me around so I could see the back. There were still some long wispy pieces but there were also bulky chunks, particularly on the right side of my head. You like? she smiled. And for some reason I still don't quite understand I smiled back and tipped her 20%.

It wasn't until I got home that I could finally scream.

UPDATE: After many requests to see photos of my new bad haircut, here is my Ode to Nagel complete with requisite feline (cheetah compliments of Zoey. Sadly Zoey did not have New Wave spear earrings for me to wear or a shoulder-padded blazer):

Note the chunk of hair gracelessly swinging in the front while I maintain the party in the back.
I mean, right?
WTF Nagel Cheetah? I thought for sure you were the international symbol of style and tress.


Marilyn Eakin said...

Okay, I realize it is an old post, but you look great!

Anonymous said...

If you like the art of Patrick Nagel, please check out the new forum set up by some of his fans: