Hairdresser on Fire: A Short Hair Saga

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story / Lily Golightly

pictures / Jena Cumbo

I had long hair. And then I cut it.
There’s this moment when you’re in the salon chair, heart racing, clutching the arm rests with white knuckles and there is only one thought running through your head as your stylist takes the first hand full of hair from the back of your head and cuts it really really short. The thought is ‘Oh Shit.’

The moment reminded me of going up the Cyclone in Coney Island, it reminded me of when the needle suddenly touches skin in the first moment of getting a tattoo, I imagine it akin to standing in a plane ready to jump out and putting all faith in a parachute.
The dialogue ran through my head telling me ‘there is no turning back now…. and what the hell am I doing anyway? Am I cool enough to pull off the Wynona Ryder? Am I as confident as Victoria Beckham? Hell no, my nose is too big, my cheeks are too chubby, my forehead… my chin…”
It all began when I saw the Michelle Williams Louis Vuitton advertisement and decided that I had to have that haircut. The idea turned into a full blown mental obsession. I saved it as a bookmark on my work computer so I could click on it and daydream about how much more awesome I would be if I only had that hair do. The all grown up bitchy girl from Dawson’s Creek clutching a bag that cost more than my paycheck and looking oh so sultry consumed me.

So who could I trust with the task of turning me into a high fashion brand model look alike?
Five years ago, when I was on TheMostBoringDateOfAllTime at Benny’s Burritos, I saw two punk rock chicks having the breakup talk and one stormed off. The one that remained began to cry as she downed her margarita. I quickly turned my attention to my weepy neighbor and offered her a lollipop. We made fast friends, Wendy Kidd and I. It turned out we knew a lot of the same people. It turned out she used to be a rockstar in the all girl band Lez Zeppelin. It also turned out she ran a secret speakeasy salon in the East Village where you had to find out the exact location from people in the ‘know’.

Now, after years of friendship, I decided that if I had to trust anyone with my hair, it would be Wendy Kidd. We bickered like old women as she told me not to touch my hair while she was working on it. I looked around her kitschy and gorgeously decorated wonderland of a studio- Active Child playing in the background, several dogs lying on the couch, the most beautiful vintage armoire I’ve ever seen, and a floor to ceiling mirror in front of her stylists chair. The lady next to me was getting her hair dyed blue. It looked awesome.
My haircut was going well, but I’d be lying if I said I felt completely at ease. With each chunk of hair that dropped to the floor, I teetered between feeling completely giddy and terrified. As the cut took shape and I realized that I looked pretty badass, I began to duck-face in the mirror as my vanity clicked in full swing.
Sometimes there is nothing you need more than a new ‘do. Sometimes it can be devastating (we’ve all been there), but when it’s good… it’s good. After many hugs and I love yous, Wendy’s next client came in. She was totally famous. She complimented me and I walked out and strutted my way through the East Village like the hot shit I am.
I had long hair, and then I cut it. And maybe I’m just running on that post good haircut high, but I do feel glad that I shed my locks. And had I known it wasn’t going to be so scary, I would have done it a lot sooner. And it has to look great, otherwise why would Beyonce have copied me?

Lily Golightly is the owner of Golightly Media in NoHo. Look up Wendy Kidd at www.wendykiddstudio.com

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