Today I had my follow-up appointment with the Spanish doctor. I brought him the x-rays of my neck and shoulders and my blood test results. He hemmed and hawed and muttered to himself for a while. Then he said that I have too much tension in my neck and shoulders and that is what is causing me to feel dizzy and to have headaches. He prescribed me 15 sessions of physical therapy a.k.a. massages. I said, “Sounds good.”
He also said I need more vitamin B and iron so I get to start taking some supplements. And then something I didn’t understand about digestion so I need to have an echo-graph of my stomach. Then I’ll have to visit him again.
Oh yeah! One more thing is that he literally gave me a massage right there in his office. Like, I stripped down, he got out the oil and he massaged my back and neck. I guess I was just meant to have an awkward massage at some point.
It was weird, especially when he was rubbing my neck and he had his hands on my face and his finger went in my mouth for a second. I was trying so hard not to laugh at the serious awkwardness of it all!
Anyway, this morning, my roommate told me that she was bringing a “stylist” to our house for the afternoon. He was going to cut her hair and straighten her co-worker’s hair. She asked if I might be interested in a hair cut because he’s one of those people who gives you a hair cut that will best complement your facial features, etc. (like Nick Arrojo for those of you who remember him from What Not to Wear.)
The truth is I was going to go get a hair cut anyway next week. I’m afraid of Spanish hair cuts, but my hair desperately needed one. Also, I’ve toyed with the idea of cutting it a lot shorter. Like, shoulder length, so not too short. I was really thinking that I should just get a trim and then do the drastic cutting when I get back to the States and a hairdresser that I trust.
But that all changed when there was a “stylist” coming to my house.
I knew it was fate. I was thinking about a change and there it was—literally—in my kitchen.
Plus, my roommate’s hair cut is really cute; I like it a lot. I wouldn’t go for anything that short on me, but it’s nice. The stylist wanted to cut my hair to my shoulders and give me some shorter bangs and lots of layers for volume. I asked him how short the first layer would be and he said, “Pretty short.”
I sat in the chair and he went around my head like a tornado with scissors. An entire head of hair (pretty much) fell at my feet. When he started cutting my bangs and I felt the scissors just below my hairline I got nervous. I should have clarified that I despise really short bangs, I thought to myself. But it all seemed to happen so fast. One minute the doctors finger is in my mouth, the next I’m agreeing to a drastic new “look”.
And while in the chair I thought It’s OK. I needed a change. I needed something to spice up my look. It’s been the same for so long. And I thought about those wusses on What Not to Wear who cry when they get their hair cut or freak out and you’re at home yelling, “OH MY GOD IT LOOKS SO MUCH BETTER! QUIT YOUR WHINING!” And I knew I was better at coping than they are and that it’s just hair.
So he finished and was wading around knee-deep in hair that used to be on my head. He said, shake your head. I did. I felt nothing. He said touch your hair. I did. And it was gone.
We went to the mirror where I discovered my bangs were about 3cm long, yet they started at the back of my head. There were some longer pieces on the sides, but overall the front was really short. He started showing me how to blow-dry it but I was too horrified to grab the blow-dryer. It seemed surreal. What was this mess on my head? Where was my hair?
Finally he asked if he could show me the back with a mirror. I looked and I gasped and I turned to my roommate and said (because I was so shocked, in English): “Is it a mullet??!!”
Unfortunately, I was not dealing with my target audience at this point. There is no word in Spanish for mullet. I think it translates as “fashionable haircut”. I thought my roommate might understand because she spent some time in the U.S. but she had no idea. I explained over and over that it’s when the hair is short in the front and long in the back. And they were like, “That’s totally normal. What are you talking about?”
So he asked me how to fix it. I had to ask him to cut the back shorter (even though I really didn’t WANT my hair any shorter than it already was). He tried to explain that because of my “figure” I need longer hair. Well, duh. But not just 5 long strands in the back!
He cut it again. I still hated it but at least didn’t have a mullet. I tried to explain the type of people who wear mullets and he said that the cut he gave me was MY cut, and social norms shouldn’t matter, it should matter what looks good. I didn’t have the energy at this point to tell him that mullets NEVER look good because I thought I was in a nightmare that was going to end any second. It didn’t.
My roommate is (have I mentioned?) the nicest woman in the world and paid for my haircut because she felt so bad that I was upset. She also helped me find a bus to get to Alcala tomorrow and offered to call the physical therapy place for me to verify my insurance. Nicest. Ever.
She said that when he first cut her hair she was really shocked, too. But that this cut shows my face more and my eyes and compliments me. She says that I need to give it a week to a month to grow out a little [read: your bangs are really fucking short] but that I’ll get used to it and have fun with it.
I believe that. I do. But I look in the mirror and a week or a month seems like a really long time to wait.
I guess I went a long time living here without getting my hair cut into a mullet. It was bound to happen, I suppose, mostly because I feared it so much (The Secret.) Living in Spain is all about having Spanish experiences, and you can’t get much more Spanish than a mullet. Plus, according to my friend Stefanie’s students, having a mullet is lucky. (So is stepping in dog poo, which happens a lot here since dogs have no where to poo but the sidewalk.)
Spain: where shit and mullets happen.