The Most Creeped Out I've Been In A Long, Long Time

As some of you have noted after not seeing me in more than a year, I actually have hair now. For years, the only style my hair had was a #2 guard on a Wahl clipper set. But I decided at some point a year or two ago that it was time to grow out of that and keep a bit of hair up there.

And as the time has gone by, I've gotten a little more daring. I've gone from crew cut to somewhat of a crew cut to actually keeping an inch of hair on the top of my head.

But with recent events, such as really tight deadlines on last minute projects, a ton of back-to-back travel, getting insanely sick, then more really tight deadlines on more last minute projects, I've just not had time to get to the barber. I find it a little ironic that I, the guy who owns and curates the Art of Akira Exhibit, now had Tetsuo-hair.

Now throughout the past year and a half or so, I've been going to the local SportsClips, which is essentially a butched up salon where men can feel manly about getting shampooed, massaged and styled. There's SportsCenter on every TV and the place is decked out in lockers and chain link fencing. But I make no bones about it. Its a salon. I have a stylist. Her name is Dana.

I am a secure man. I don't mind admitting these things.

Dana is the only person who has found a way to manage my exceptionally weird parts. I actually have two of them -- one of them is a pronounced, run-of-the-mill part, and the other one sits somewhat on the side of my head, the result of a childhood accident where my head was literally ripped open by a nail that was half sticking out of a wall. Not that I wanted to go ram my head into this nail; but my brother -- who was 8 years older than me, much larger, and really pissed I was in his room -- tossed me down the stairs quite literally, and on the descent, I just happened to make contact with it.

The result -- yet another reason I hate and never talk about him, and a weird part in my hair which causes it to grow in a totally different direction, much like a Rhodesian Ridgeback dog. And Dana has figured out how to tame it.

I like Dana. She's good people. She knows me, and we get along well. With other customers, all the stylists -- Dana included -- pretty much have a script, mostly focused on sports. But we talk about each other's spouses and what they've been up to, and how much we hate Nicki Minaj, and how lame the newest movie of whatever sort is. And this whole week, Dana's been off. Except for yesterday. And I refuse to try another stylist. It had to be Dana.

So, I walk into SportClips and Dana greets me with a smile. She beckons me back to her chair, and sitting in it is this 12-ish year old girl. In her lap was her 14-ish year old sister. Both were blonde, really really skinny, and somewhat enamored by the person who had just walked in (me).

Even as they got out of the chair, they kept their eyes on me. I smiled and said "I'm sorry to make you move." They didn't say a word. Their father, who was getting a haircut in the chair next to mine, smiled and said "Sorry."

"Not at all!" I said, attempting to be nice.

The girls just stared at me. They both wore ELCA shirts -- Eagles Landing Christian Academy, the local Tea Party breeding ground around these parts. They struck me as cheerleader types. And they were freaking me out a little.

"You work out?" the younger looking of the two asked. Her voice was odd. It was half question, half accusation.

"Yeah," I said with a chuckle, "I work out. I gotta do something to keep from being even fatter than I am now!"

Dana laughed, slapped my shoulder and said "Stop it, you're fine!" The other stylist laughed and said "Come on now!" The father getting his haircut chuckled.

The children? Nothing. They just stared.

So Dana set about the process of getting the bib on me and talking about seeing Andrea on the Animal Planet the other day, rescuing cats on the Animal Horders show.

"Yeah, she's been on a lot lately," I said. "I'm super proud!"

Dana began talking about her dog, which was new the last time I saw her, when we were interrupted by the younger of the two children.

"You're married?" she asked. Same tone; half question, half accusation.

"Yep," I said with a smile. "I'm a lucky guy."

"His wife is an animal rescuer!" Dana chimed in.

Nothing. Just stares.

Dana began talking again, and I was conversing with her, when the younger girl said apropos of nothing, "I work out too."

Conversation stopped. I couldn't look at the girl directly, but I looked up in the mirror and saw her staring at me. "I do CrossFit with my dad."

At this point, I was beginning to be a little freaked out, mostly due to the severe fracturing of just about every social moray put in place between strangers for precisely this reason. But I was being nice, because she was just a kid.

"I've done CrossFit before," I said. "I like it. I'll start doing it again in a few months."

"Why don't you do it now?" she asked.

"I'm working on another phase of my workout," I replied.

The dad just sat there. Nothing out of him, nor out of the older of the two girls.

Somewhere behind me, Dana said "...Okayyyyy..." And began cutting my hair again.

The two Children of the Corn stood in relative silence while the rest of the haircut took place. When it was time to walk back to the rinse sink to get my hair washed, they were there. The father was in the far left chair, getting his hair washed. The younger girl was in the middle chair. Dana asked the older of the two girls, who was in Dana's regular chair on the far right, to "Get up, sweetie, I need to use that."

She did, and I sat down. I gave her a somewhat nervous, freaked out smile as I did. And when I did -- having said nothing at all this entire time -- the older looking of the two girls said "I don't have a boyfriend now, but when I do, I want him to be like you."

I was officially creeped the fuck out.

Finally the father spoke up. "Let the man be," he said, sounding a lot like Michael Landon in Little House on the Prairie.

I sat there with a hot towel on my face, stunned and somewhat ready to run out the door. Dana tried to make small talk, but I could tell she was freaked out too. The father and his two girls left, saying nothing else.

As soon as they walked out the door, Dana said "What the FUCK was that?"

"I don't even want to know," I replied.

Nothing more was said after that.