Mushroom Head: bad hair and bad puns


It's always nice to know that things could be worse.
It’s always nice to know that things could be worse.

For a brief period of my life–back in the days before kids and mortgages–I had a hair guy in a super style-y salon. He was awesome. James was fast, smashingly handsome, and gave fantastic scalp massages. He was also way too hip for me. He talked me into a variety of things that were a wee bit out of my league: very, very short hair, for example, and purple hair, and stripes here and there. I went willingly along, though, and I always felt fabulous.

Then I got pregnant, quit my job, and went back to school. My James Days were over. Nevermind. By that time, James was so popular he booked up six months out, and a substandard scalp massage was administered by one of his minions.

After a year or two of husband haircuts, I started going to a ‘salon’ notable for a). being significantly less expensive than Supercuts, as well as for b). its ridiculously stupid pun name. What is it with salons and puns? Open a phone book and you’ll find: Beyond the Fringe, The Grateful Head, Curl up and Dye.

Occasionally I asked them to color my hair, but mostly I had them hack an inch or two off the ends once or twice a year. That was awesome too, in a completely different way. No need to schedule in advance. Conveniently located. Super cheap.

Every once in a while I would ask for a little something different, which was never a good idea. After a couple of fails, I brought in photographs to help explain what I wanted. I described in great detail what I liked about a couple of different cuts and asked whoever was available which they thought might work on my head of hair.

She looked at me for a long, silent moment. “You want side-bang?” she asked finally. “I give you side-bang.”

That was not an attractive period.

In the meantime, my hair did not recover after two pregnancies. My stick straight hair became mildly wavy, then completely out of control. Instead of falling to my shoulders, it reached out into some sort of giant frizz triangle, just as wide as it was long. At the same time, my forehead grew and grew. When I got to the point where my “bad hair day” was morphing into a “bad hair decade,” I knew I needed a REAL haircut.

A very patient friend of mine sent me out into the big world with some advice: “you will pay $$$ for your haircut…and you will give them a nice tip on top of that…and you will feel fabulous.”

That was when I got what I called “The Mushroom.”

Don’t get me wrong. I looked great when I left. I felt fabulous for two whole days. It’s just that I don’t have the time, tools, products, and assistants to get my hair to do that on a regular basis. Or…ever. What happened at home was that the bottom layers flattened out into long straggly bits, and the top layers swelled up and out until the overall effect was like this:

Imagine my face somewhere in the middle of the stem.
Imagine my face somewhere in the middle of the stem.

It was utterly appalling.

I never went back.

And it took months and months to gather the courage to try again.


Published by

Beret Olsen

Writer, photographer, teacher, and part-time insomniac.

4 thoughts on “Mushroom Head: bad hair and bad puns”

  1. I have cried and laughed at my hair styles and hair cuts! You are patient and wait them out, it seems. You are right on with the names of hair salons, though! Funny!


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