My parents are very generous people. Always offering to pick up the tab even if they don’t have the money. And they often do not have the money. Although I was expected to work hard during my childhood to earn my keep, I am very grateful for everything they have done for me.
Which is why it perplexes me that they were so god damn cheap when it came to certain things! For example, in seventh grade I wanted to try out for the basketball team. Now, I’m sure my parents both knew that I would likely have more luck rolling up real tight and being used a ball versus becoming a Harlem Globetrotter, but still, I definitely should have had the opportunity to at least try to make a fool out of myself! The ONLY requirement you needed to try out was an updated physical. I informed my mom, who advised me that it would be no problem.
She sent me to school with a slip from the doctor and, alas, I was on my way. Mid-way through tryouts I was informed by Ms. Butch that my slip was from last year. There must be some sort of mistake. I called my mom, almost on the verge of tears, “Mom, the slip from the doctor is from LAST year.” I waited expectantly. “So?” my mom asked. “Well, they need a CURRENT slip,” I explained as I imagined myself at the free throw line, a stadium of people chanting my name as I bend, shoot and SCORE! “Well, that will have to do,” she said. “I’m not taking you to the doctor.”
WHAT? So apparently ensuring the HEALTH of your ONLY daughter is not a priority?
Embarrassed, I grabbed my things and sulked home. All my best friends were on the basketball team EXCEPT me. The same thing happened in eighth grade when I decided to try out for volleyball. (Seriously, WHAT was my problem? I’m literally a midget with absolutely no athletic ability at all.) Isn’t it like a $20 deductible? I don’t understand why it was such a problem for my MOM to take me to the DOCTOR.
Around the same time, my Mom was taking me to a rather shady salon in the neighborhood to get my hair cut. Everyone who worked in the salon was Asian and spoke very little English. My mom allowed them to perm my hair. (Has anyone seen these curls? WHY would I need a perm?)
This salon also performed makeup tattooing in a back room.
During one of my hair cuts, a small Asian woman ran out of the back room screaming bloody murder and holding a dirty towel to her freshly tattooed eyelids.
Yes, I’m serious.
It was summer and we had about a week to go until I started eighth grade. I decided it was time for a change. I was going to get a haircut! I proceeded to cut no less than 1,000 pictures out of magazines showing the cute chin length bob I wanted to rock. Given the state of affairs on my head, my hair would never in a million years have looked like ANY of the pictures I cut out. If I had cut out a picture of an electrocuted rat’s nest, perhaps. But I did not.
To add to the confusion, my Mom decided to take me to a non-English speaking stylist in a non-English speaking salon. Cue lots of head nodding, bowing and perhaps even a few smiles of acknowledgement. I couldn’t wait to see my new look!
As my “stylist” busily cut away, it appeared she was cutting a lot of inches, as long brown hair showered down my shoulders to the tiled floor. Hmm, well I’m sure she knew what she was doing. Right?
As she put the finishing touches on my bob, she twirled me around to face myself in the mirror. I closed my eyes, held my breath and waited for the chair to stop in front of the mirror.
I slowly opened my eyes. GASP! Who is that BOY in the mirror? That couldn’t be me? I desperately flung my hands to my head. OH MY GOD! She had cut off ALL my hair. We are talking Fred Savage Wonder Years’ haircut. I’m not even kidding!
I mean, it wasn’t bad enough that I was an “early bloomer” and camouflaged my very present hips and breasts with baggy clothes. (At the time I was embarrassed and did not want to draw attention to my changing body. Fast forward 20 years to me wearing tassles and hoping a homeless man notices and possibly hoots at me.) So, in addition to the baggy clothes I would need to wear a ski mask to cover this atrocity!
I began crying and my Mom ran over to me and shook her head incredulously, not believing her eyes.
Thanks to you, cheapskate, you now have two sons.
I hope you’re happy.
If you decide to make a rather drastic change in your look, go to someone who speaks your language. Yes, hair does grow back. It wasn’t the end of the world by any means. But I spent days/weeks/months being embarrassed of my face/head.
I had enough issues to contend with, and adding “hair like a boy” on the list wasn’t exactly what my social life needed.
And I still can’t live down the Fred Savage nickname coined by my so-called best friend.
But I want to be Winnie!!!!