After the first two mows through the side of my hair, on which she's using the number five clipper (five on the sides, seven on top), she asks, "When did you get your hair cut last, about three weeks ago?"
"Actually more like six," I responded, but immediately started thinking about it. I got it cut not too much before my ski trip, which would have made early March.
"I'm just asking, because not much hair is coming off with this number five."
"Actually now that I think about it, it was probably the beginning of March, as I got it cut right before my ski trip, which basically would have been about three weeks ago."
A few minutes later, "You have a perfect cowlick."
How does one respond to that? It seems akin to something like, "You have the most perfect wart on your face." Thanks, girl!
I left it alone, and she went on to tell me a story about a foreign student attending NCSU some years back, and when she said to him, "You have a cowlick," (evidently she feels compelled to mention unruly hair spots to all of her clients), he responded in broken English. "No! No cow licks my hair." She said she tried to explain to him what it meant, but that it was a "southernism" (which I find hard to believe), and it didn't make much sense.
After he left and she thought about it, she thought maybe she had offended him. (At least she thinks when no one's around.) So, when he came in for his next haircut, she saw him in the parking lot, and hid in the back so she wouldn't have to cut his hair. But, at the desk, he said pointing to her station, "I'd like that lady who cuts there. She knows about cowlicks." Her manager came to the back to get her, and the boy was her customer for the next five years while in school.
She ended the story wistfully saying, "He went back to teach in his home country after graduation."
"I wonder where that term cowlick comes from," I mused aloud.
"I don't know." (and again) "I think it's a southernism, but you hear it all the time in beauty school. I think it might be because the way the hair sticks up, it looks like a cow just came up and licked it like that."
A cowlick is simply a shock of hair which looks as if the big, wet tongue of a cow has licked it. It grows in a different direction from the rest of the hair around it, so that it might look as though it is sticking up or out. The term dates from the late 16th century, when R. Haydocke used it in his translation of Lomazzo: "The lockes or plaine feakes of haire called cow-lickes, are made turning vpwards (sic)." A feake, by the way, is a "dangling curl of hair".
Having seen a fair number of cows in our lives, we have to wonder if the term arose because some varieties of cattle have rather scruffy coats, looking as if they are, themselves, covered in cowlicks, which people may have thought were caused by the cow licking its fur.
There is also the less-heard term calf-lick, which has the same meaning as cowlick.
Okay, enough about everyone else. Back to me.
So, that nice little cowlick story passes, and right after she runs the clipper up my head again, and little pieces of my hair are flying in the air between us, she starts this hacking.
"Never breathe in while you're cutting," she said. "Those little pieces go everywhere. In your nose, in your mouth, everywhere."
I thought some thoughts about some of the hair in her nose not being my hair, but did not interrupt.
"Back in beauty school, I'll never forget this. One of my instructors said, 'It's no big deal if a little bit of hair goes down your throat. It may not taste good, but it's just protein, and it won't hurt you at all.'"
And then she added, "Of course, that was before AIDS."
Good God! If she wasn't holding an electric cutting object in her hand, near my neck, I believe my head would have done a 360, spewed forth green stuff, and muttered the inimitable words of Linda Blair in that devilishly graveled voice, "Your mother sucks cocks in hell."
Of course it was one of those educational opportunity moments that I was way too stunned to be able to take advantage of. Where do people get these thoughts from? Yeah, I can't even begin to count the number of poz friends I have who got infected by inhaling bits of hair from other HIV+ people.
After I left, I thought about looking up the origin of cowlick, primarily to let her know that it's not a southernism, and imagined writing at the bottom of the note I would leave at the front desk for her about it, "Oh, and by the way, you can't get AIDS from swallowing hair of HIV+ people. You're living proof of it."
Just to freak her out, of course. Then she could hide in the back whenever I came back for a hair cut, and I could say to the manager, pointing at her station, "I want that ignorant woman there to cut my hair."
Alrighty, then! Time to let all of that go.
On a lighter note, I read this sentence in a story today about Terri Schiavo:
"George Felos, the attorney for husband and guardian Michael Schiavo, said the chief medical examiner for Pinellas County, Dr. John Thogmartin, had agreed to perform an autopsy before her remains are cremated."
You know how they say, to get your "drag name," you take the name of the first street you lived on and combine it with the name of your first pet? (Mine would be "Eastern Avenue Strutt," which sounds more like a dance than a person, well, then again, maybe more like a stripper than a drag queen.) But, yet again, I digress.
Well, I think everyone should have a "gansta rap name," too, and mine's going to be John Thogmartin, which I anticipate eventually being morphed into John Thugmartin.
Class was good tonight. I reviewed my idea for the design of my results page with Dr. Swarts, and got some good feedback.
I met Joe at Cup-a-Joe's (no relation) after class. With me, I'd brought a little Tupperware container of Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur, which just happens to look exactly like cream. How convenient! We "flavored" our coffees.
We talked almost non-stop for an hour-and-a-half, passing the baton back and forth along the way.
At 10:25, the lady working there screamed, "LAST CALL!" At 10:30, they turned the radio up so loud that we couldn't hear each other talk. "WE'RE CLOSED," the guy working there screamed.
A very abrupt and abrasive ending to an otherwise delightful visit. I think I prefer Helios.