Till age 12, it didn't really matter. Yes I think that was the time when my haircut started actually making a difference. Or maybe that was when I realised that people might have an opinion about the newly-styled hair.
Over the years (no, not that many),I have realised that going for a haircut is by far one of the most irrelevant and yet horrendously traumatising experiences of life. I refer to the Before, During and especially the After of the visit to a stylist. Of course, it can also, in freak cases, be an ego-trip if it comes out right. Probability: Trust me, very very low.
This is the nicest phase of the three.
Step 1: Getting yelled at by mom for having such unruly hair.
Step 2: Completely denying the possibility of such a thing.
Step 3: Looking in the mirror.
Step 4: "Hmmm.. Maybe she was right"
Step 5 : Book an appointment with a parlour who's not expensive but just expensive enough to give you a decent cut.
Step 6: Get up and go at the scheduled time. That's all you need to do, all you people with hair growing out of everywhere!
Step in. The one thing I can never understand, is that when a person gives you a great haircut one day, why can't he/she repeat the performance EVER again? It happened one day, when, for the first time in my life, everybody, i repeat, everybody, actually appreciated my new haircut. Sigh! I believe I was never to see such a day again. About 2-3 months later Stage Before happened, and I, in all innocence and faith, booked an appointment with the same lady. She'd forgotten all about me and my hair. I tried in vain to explain, and no surprise here, came out with a disaster, totally unlike the previous one.
Anyway, albeit with broken faith, I go to a stylist every couple of months, basically because I just have to get my hair cut. So well.. This reminds me, I once read a quote somewhere,
Your hairstylist is the only person in the world you should not say "Go ahead, surprise me!" to.
Well what can you do but place your life in her hands, and especially if you're anything like me, you have no clue what to do. So then I meekly ask her, "What do you think? What would suit my face shape" The responses can vary from "I don't know" to a lot of jargon that I can't even pretend I understand. So to avoid giving anymore of my confused-look-expression, I tell her to begin.
First she sprays your hair with water, which makes it lose all semblance with your hairstyle. Snip. There goes the first bunch of hair. Well from this stage onwards till the final blow-drying stage, you basically have no idea what it's going to turn out like. I'm usually desperately cringing into the mirror to make some form of the re-sized and re-shaped hair. But to no avail. You can ask her to cut it a little shorter, but that's all the input you can give, and even then the little shorter can get a tad too short.
When she's done cutting it, and you have that wet mop of hair on your head, from that time till she fetches the hair dryer and sets it up, I'm never quite sure what expression I should let out. I want to appreciate this work real bad, but I really don't even know yet what you've done. Once the blow-dryer starts working on your head, you're feeling a little better cos atleast it resembles a hairstyle. And then, you see it.
Is it good? Maybe if I push this strand in, it'll be okay. Is it good or what? Let me look at her face. She's smiling... maybe its turned out fine. Ugh..maybe she's laughing at me. Well its done. Can't do anything about it. Pay and leave. Pay and leave! Quick. Before anyone else at the parlour gets to comment on your hairstyle.
The first stage of reactions is at home. Two categories here again. Comments, or no comments. Family has always been kind enough not to give unkind comments. So, you deduce their opinion based on that factor. If they say Hey, nice, it's probably nice. If they say it doesn't look very different, it means you've spent a lot of cash for nothing. If they look like you've gotten them in a quandary about what to say about it, its pretty bad.
Then you go to the mirror. Re-inspect. Re-evaluate. Mourn. Rejoice. Worry about what people will say when they see you next.
Sample comment: "Don't worry beta, it'll grow back soon." So well, if you can see where I'm going, people can be pretty darn mean!
Next day at school/college/work: If its a drastic change, then you are greeted with wide eyes at first. There are all sorts of people in this world. You can never know this better than when you've had a drastic change in style. The ones who'll look you through as if nothing has happened. I wonder if these people actually notice nothing, or pretend not to so that they don't have to say anything about it. Then the ones who will look at you, brighten eyes, ask "You've cut your hair?!" You reply sheepishly "Yeah.." expecting bricks or bouquets, and then well, they look away and say absolutely nothing in comment. This is definitely the worst reaction. I mean, come on, say Something! Then again, the set of people, who go, "What have you DONE to your hair? Whats wrong with you?? It was fine the way it was!" Sigh.. Atleast they said something. Dismiss them as people who don't adapt too well to change. Then the set of people who (god bless them) will oppose the earlier sect and stand by you, saying this is what suits you. And then you smile and thank the universe for the existence of these people in your life. But wait, does this mean the previous style was...... Sniff. You see what I'm getting at? There's no respite. There really isn't.