My old hairdresser is gone. The one with booze on her breath who inadvertently dyed my blond hair black, then blamed it on my anti-depressants, then had to strip my hair of all it's color, burning my scalp and leading her to pull out a veritable washtub of red wine which we both immediately downed through funnels and didn't stop ingesting until I left the salon with light orange hair. Yes, she's either in some gin house somewhere or twelve-stepping (we won't go too far to the dark side with our suppositions).
All this to say I decided to return to the very same salon because it's within walking distance from my house. And I've always felt that if one can walk to one's hairdresser, one should. It helps L.A. feel more like a real city.
However, the only hairdresser left there with excellent coloring skills is a stiletto heel-wearing, aging minx with bleached platinum hair and voluminous breast implants. We'll call her Crystal. When my former, boozy stylist was coloring my hair, I used to gaze furtively at Crystal working on her clients, improbably standing for hours beneath the tonnage of those breasts. What a sad state of affairs, I'd think. She was obviously my age and trying to look 20. Her face didn't move much, her lips were suspiciously plump and those ridiculous mammaries bobbled on either side of a Breast Cavern.
Cut to yesterday:
I sit in a salon chair with each one of those large breasts beside my two ears as Crystal stands behind me checking my current hair color under the light. We agree the highlights should be honey blond and I should do a full head. As she goes off to mix my color I wonder what we could possiby have to talk about for the next two hours. It's a known fact that women with breast implants aren't very smart.
Okay yes, I did have a brow lift/blaphorestomy in the summer of 2010. And I did look like a battered Vulcan for about a month. But my plastic surgery is different. It's different because ... um ... well ... hmmmm ... it just is.
Crystal returns with my color. I am pretending to be engrossed in Elle magazine. Because there are lots of pretty pictures and one-and-a-half actual articles. Crystal begins her work. She asks me about my weekend. I answer monosyllabically. I don't want to strain her mind too much. Another hairdresser stops by to chat with Crystal and they speak Farsi.
Okay, I don't realize it's Farsi until I ask Crystal after the other hairdresser left. I grudgingly ask if she's Persian. She is. I grudgingly ask if she was in Iran during the revolution in 1979. She was. I become curious and start asking more questions.
Turns out she's the only member of her family to leave Iran. She left permanently when she was 22. She went to Canada for college and enjoyed freedoms the likes of which couldn't be found in Iran under the rule of religious clerics. She never returned to live in Iran and can't visit now with the civil unrest created by current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government and the very real possibility we may be going to war with Iran.
As I listen, I think about how difficult it would be to pull up roots and move away from my entire family and culture to a country where I don't speak the language or have any job or any friends. It was Crystal's desire to be the author of her own life which led her to the United States.
The longer we talk I lose view of Crystal's breasts, lips, leopard-print leotard. I look past her body and into her courageous heart. I hope she finds a good man with whom to make a family (something she greatly desires), someone who will see her vivacious, indomitable spirit.
She makes my hair beautiful and when I get up to leave we embrace, her breasts and my judgment no longer between us.