A Haircut for a Wedding (Memoir)

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My mother always joked about how she knew best, so you can imagine her glee when the movie Tangled came out and Mother Gothel started singing Mother Knows Best. Evidently, that has become one of my mom’s favorite songs and whenever I begin to doubt her on things she likes to sing it just to remind me that she really does know best. But it took a lot of trial and error on my part to find that her words were always more or less true.

I have always been quite the stubborn and headstrong child. I never let anyone help me tie my shoes or pick my clothes out for me. I always had to be the one to do things my way, unless I just could not figure out how to do it. Then I would demand help as if I had always needed it and was simply waiting for someone to give it to me.

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There have been several occasions when my stubbornness got me into a great deal of trouble. One such occasion, I was five. And it was spring. My Aunt and Uncle had asked me to be the flower girl at their upcoming wedding. I was about as excited as a kid on Christmas morning. I was going to be in a beautiful white dress holding a little basket and throwing flowers for everyone to see, paving the way for the beautiful bride. In weddings, everyone always wants to look their very best. That is why the bride wears a dress she will only probably wear once in her entire life, and the groom wears a tuxedo that is much to tight in all the wrong places.

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About two weeks before the wedding my mother decided to get a haircut so that she could look her very best and since I was mommy’s little girl, I wanted to be just like her! So I wanted to get a haircut, too. When I asked if I could get a hair cut as well, Mom told me very firmly, “No,” that I could not have a haircut because I did not need one. My hair was already long and black like a raven’s back, and she told me that I would look pretty just the way I was. This was not what I wanted to hear.

Mom did not budge on the “No haircuts for Hali” stance, which seemed entirely unfair. And to add to the unfairness, I had to go to her hair appointment with her! This made me furious as I had done absolutely nothing wrong… yet. I made it absolutely impossible for Mom to ignore my frustration. I darted around the salon, looking at the hair products on the shelf, touching them and playing with them. My mother had always told me to, “look with your eyes and not with your hands,” or in other words, don’t touch things that don’t belong to you. I was certainly not going to listen to this advice now. I made sure that I was a complete and utter nuisance. After Mom was finished with her haircut appointment she whisked my mischievous little self out of the hair salon and back home.

I was very upset with her for a few days after Mom’s haircut appointment but I finally simmered down a bit. The time of the wedding was drawing more and more near, and even though I had gotten over my anger and resentment towards my mother, I still wanted a haircut. So I decided I would take matters into my own hands.

It was a few days before we were to leave for the wedding. Mom was preoccupied with watching a show on the television in the family room, or doing laundry, or some other motherly past-time but either way she was busy doing something else and this was the perfect moment to do my mischievous deed.

I was very sneaky about it. I was rather like a female child version of James Bond. I snuck around the house searching for my weapon of choice– making sure to be very careful not to get caught by the great and terrible Mother. I searched and searched for that most deadly weapon. Finally, I had found it: one pair of purple handled scissors. I had located them in a desk drawer in the schoolroom.

I grabbed them and snuck into the living room. This was one of my favorite rooms. The walls were a dark shade of Kelly green and the carpet was a ragged mustard yellow. I loved how this room lit up with color and life and warmth, no matter what time of day it was. But today it was not a room of warmth and color, it was a room of rebellion.

I went and stood near the window in the sun. I was not very methodical in the way that I used the purple handled scissors. A snip there. A chop here. “Schnk, shk” went the purple handled scissors through strands of recently detached hair. I had always hated the cowlick that sat at the very front of my forehead, in the very middle of my hairline. That certainly had to go. Shnk. There the pieces went– the left over remains of my bangs fell to the ground.

I continued to prune very haphazardly at the rest of my hair when suddenly there appeared a figure whose feet were coming through the doorway into the green and yellow room. I tried to hide the scissors behind my back. I put on the biggest smile I could manage, but that did not seem to help my cause in the least.

I’m not sure what gave me away: the huge Cheshire cat grin on my face, the hands that were so obviously hiding some treacherous thing behind my back, or the fact that there were pieces and clumps of hair that had been mysteriously detached from my head laying around my feet.

Mom glared down her nose at me, trying to muffle her amusement at what I had done, and yet tame her fury that I had, in fact, done it. “What is behind your back, Hali?” She asked, knowing all to well what I was hiding. She obviously knew what had happened, but she was making me do the humiliating act of telling her myself what had happened.

“Nothing,” I replied. I thought, somehow, that saying it in a long drawn out way would make me sound more honest.

“I know better than that,” Mother scowled, but very forcefully because she was still trying to hide her amusement. “What is behind your back? Are they scissors?”

I hung my head. “Yes,” I replied sheepishly. I revealed the purple handled scissors and held them out to my mother. She took them from me and proceeded to tell me how bad I had been and how much I would dislike my hair now.

But, I didn’t dislike my hair in the least. At least, not for the time being. I liked it quite a lot in fact. Or perhaps it was more that I liked the fact that I had gotten away with getting a haircut even when Mom had told me that I couldn’t. I had conquered this battle and defeated the great and terrible Mother.

Mom made me clean up the mess I had made on the mustard yellow carpet, and as I did so I knew that I was triumphant in my attempt. I had given myself a haircut. And I had done so against all odds. I was able to finish the job and had only gotten caught after I had been successful in the act.

But mother was right. A couple days later I disliked how my hair looked very severely. I had not only cut my bangs, but in doing so I made the cowlick worse because now there was just a tuft of hair that sprang out from the front of my head. And to add to that, my hair was as short as a boy’s cut in some places, cut sideways in others, and oddly long or mismatched in the rest. There were half strands cut and others that were completely abnormally detached. I disliked it so much that I began to cry, and would not stop crying because I thought I looked ugly with my new, self-made haircut. Mother had proven her point. Mother was right. Mother knows best.

A few days before the wedding, Mother wound up taking me to a salon near where my aunt and uncle were having their wedding. She asked the people at the salon to do the best that they could to fix my hack job up, and they certainly had their work cut out for them. They had the hardest time fixing me up and making my look nice, but I was all the merrier for it. After they had finished I was once again satisfied with my hair and I thought that I was the cutest little girl on the face of the planet, and I think that the pictures prove the case:

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But that satisfaction was very short lived. After the prettiness of the wedding and myself had blown over, with my hair no longer done up in pretty curls to hide the unevenness thereof, I resented what I had done and promised myself that I would do better at listening to my mother.

I broke that promise on several occasions. I am still learning that mother really does know best and every time I think I might know better than her, I learn that I should always listened. When mother says, “It looks like it’s going to rain. You should bring a jacket,” and you don’t listen, it will always rain. And you will always need that jacket.

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Pictures Copyright and Citation (In order of appearance)

Creative Commons, Cleff Wedding, Uploaded on February 12, 2010 by CleffArtWorks (Copyright: CleffArtWorks. I do not own this image. No changes were made)

Creative Commons, takoma park beauty salon, Uploaded on September 23, 2007 by Susan Sermoneta (Copyright: Susan Sermoneta. I do not own this image. No changes were made)

All Rights Reserved, Little Hali, Taken: Around 2004 (Copyright: I own this picture and I reserve all rights to it)

All Rights Reserved, Little Hali with Doll, Taken: Around 2004 (Copyright: I own this picture and I reserve all rights to it)

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