Hairdo comes with many don'ts

Kevin Cowherd

September 29, 1993|By Kevin Cowherd

I'll tell you what Nancy and I can't talk about without a huge fight: her hair.

Hair sounds like an innocuous subject, right? Like the weather? Something you can kick around without anyone getting all huffy and stomping out of the room? Hah! Don't try it. Really. It's just not worth it.

Here's what I mean. Nancy comes home the other day, right? I hear the car pull in the driveway and I look out the window and there she is. And then I notice something that just chills me to the bone. She's had something done to her hair.

"Mother of God!" I whisper, and now I start freaking out and running around in circles and thinking: "What do I do?! What do I do?!"

Because I know what's coming. You can almost hear the bell for Round 1.

So I run to the back of the house, because my plan is to run out the back door and hide in the woods. Only the back door is locked, so I try a window, but as soon as I get the window open, Nancy is . . . I'm telling you, this woman should be a Green Beret or something.

Because somehow she's covered 40 yards of rough terrain in the span of five seconds. And now she's standing right there as I pop the screen and crawl out the window.

"What do you think?" she says. She's pointing to her hair.

"It's very nice," I say.

See, this is what I always say about her hair. It's a conditioned response. It's the only response that's safe. In the most literal sense of the word.

Once she asked what I thought of a new hairstyle and I said: "Well . . ."

That's all I said. Just: "Well . . ."

I didn't say: "Well, it's OK."

I didn't say: "Well, I'm not so sure about this one."

All I said was: "Well . . ."

Because I was still making up my mind, right? And she got all annoyed. You would have thought I said: "Well, that's why they have hats."

So we had a big fight. She accused me of being insensitive. And I said . . . well, never mind what I said. But I learned my lesson.

L So this time I use common sense and I say: "It's very nice."

But she just keeps staring at me, like she can see into my brain or something. And finally she says: "You don't like it."

"Yes, I do," I say.

"No, you don't," she says. "I can tell."

Well, the truth is her haircut is just OK. It's got this . . . flip in the front.

But I can't tell her that.

Because if I say something like: "That flip in the front . . . I don't XTC know," she's going to get hot. I've seen it a hundred times. And then we'll be having this 12-round, Ali-Frazier dustup right there in front of the kids.

Besides, it's not just the flip. The whole thing is a little too short. But that's just my opinion. A hairstyle is such a subjective thing.

Look, I understand the pain behind a haircut. It's an emotional experience, no question. There's a loss of control there. You're -- sitting in that chair and someone is hovering over you, snipping ++ and snipping, and it's like your whole identity is being . . . altered.

So now she says: "Do you know how much I spent for this haircut?

I never know what to say when she asks this. One time I took a guess and said: "$27.50?"

And the answer was 60 bucks. I mean, I wasn't even in the ballpark.

So this time when she asks if I know how much her haircut cost, I say: "No, how much?"

"It was very expensive," she says.

So all I say is: "Maybe if you blow it out . . ."

Because that's what she says to me all the time, right? She comes home with a new haircut and says: "You'll like it when I blow-dry it."

But this time I say: "Maybe if you blow it out . . ." and she stomps away. All huffy.

I don't know. There's no sense in talking about hair with some people. Honestly. It's not worth the aggravation.

But now I start to feel bad. Because I know she feels bad. So I walk into the kitchen. And she's rustling in the knife drawer, which is always a bad sign, only this time she pulls out a potato peeler.

So now she starts furiously peeling these potatoes and there's potato skin flying all over the place and it's sort of hard to concentrate.

"Look," I say, "what I meant is . . ."

"Hah!" she says. "What you meant!"

"What I meant was . . ."

"Lemme tell you something," she says. " I like my hair. And that's all that counts."

"Absolutely," I say.

I probably should have said that in the first place. But you never know how that'll go over.

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