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A bad hair day

Elizabeth Chicoine

My mom’s dog has a standing appointment at The Pet Spot in Edwards. That spoiled little yorkie. He lives the good life. This swishy doggie salon is his place of beauty. They know him there, love him, and expect him regularly. Lucky dog!My mom, on the other hand, was not pleased with my quip today that her new haircut looked like that loveable little dog, Rocky! Have you ever had one of those moments when your mouth uttered words that were meant to remain in your head only?Needless to say, I am in the doghouse with my mom tonight.My mom’s regular stylist has taken time off to raise her newborn. It has been almost a year now, and my mom is still on the hairstylist circuit to find her replacement. Oh, such a rollercoaster this has been. Like most women, she likes her cut for the first few days. Then, like a tremor along the fault lines of the California coast, the haircut erupts. I’ll even admit to being privy to this recent quake. Indeed, I actually liked her new doo at first glance.But then, it happened. She went back to the salon to buy some hairspray. She thought her hair needed more lift. Oh, she got some lift. The perky young stylist decided that it just needed to be a bit shorter on top, “to stand up.”Herein was my mom’s fatal blow. She mistook “stand up” to mean volume. Big difference in that syntax. And in that generational gap between the stylist and my mom. To my mom, “stand up” meant curls, not spikes.Context, understanding what the other means, is an art form in our society. I learned that well when I politely and honestly tried to tell my mom how I felt about her hair. It was a bit dog-eared, cute, in a messy, puppy sort of way. But I can’t lie to my mom. In a best put-on-a-happy-face grin, I said, “Oh, it isn’t all that bad. It just sort of looks like you are going through a mid-life crisis.”Quickly, my Phi Beta Kappa mom corrected me, “The problem with that excuse is that I’m far too old for this to be mid-life, honey.”Eat my foot. I didn’t dare tell her that my sister thought the description sounded far worse than that. I’ll let you all fill in the blanks with what you might have said to your mom in a similar situation. Daughters embellish things to the extreme. Suffice it to say that by the end of the night, after sharing a few long distance calls and e-mails, we all enjoyed some wonderful belly laughs. The cost of the laughs was priceless. Thanks, Mom. The price of the cut, well, you get what you pay for. Let her little yorkie be the poster child for that motto. His doggie doo is a bit pricier than her clip, but his look is fabulous. And he is a regular. No explanations with each trim. Just do the doo! And a polite thank you.Hair. Such a wonderful common connection that we all share. Love it, hate it, cut it, dye it, lose it, grow it, and in some selfless acts, give it away.Yes, I have a friend whose elementary-school-aged daughter grew her hair long with the intent of giving it to Locks of Love, a charitable group that gathers hair for people in need of hair due to medical challenges. Hair. In abundance, it can be turned into a lesson in benevolence. My mom’s routine haircut experience today reminded me of the deeper meaning of the bounties that so many of us enjoy yet forget to appreciate.Hair. Our outside appearance which greets the world daily. Love it or hate it, tame it or tossle it, but please, don’t ask anyone you love their opinion of it. They may just make a mistake and tell you honestly how they feel. But does anyone ever really like their own hair? Perhaps Rocky the dog does. He is always so happy after a good clip. He immediately finds his favorite odiferous thing in the yard to roll-in to revel in his beauty. No worries. He has that standing wash, blow-dry, clip at the hottest spot in town for pets. He’s worth it. Meanwhile, my mom will be growing out her newest style for some time. No appointments necessary. Elizabeth H. Chicoine of Eagle writes a weekly column for the Daily. She can be reached at echicoine@centurytel.netVail, Colorado


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