In The Name of The Mane

Once upon a time I had no hair worries because Lorenzo was in my life.

Lorenzo cut hair like a wizard. He looked exactly like his name sounds when said slowly-- long flowing mane of dark hair. Cheekbones high and taut as his perfect butt. He could have jumped off the cover of a romance novel, 50 Shades of Grey No More. He'd take me by the hand and help me personally fulfill my hair fantasies. Lorenzo wore black leather pants so tight they looked like part of his legs and he kept his silk shirts open to the navel. I had a compulsion to slip his tip in his waistband along with my number.

But he had my number.

I felt him walk up behind me as I sat in the chair. I gasped a bit as he gently but firmly touched the back of my head. He took his time running his fingers through my hair, as if he were reading my love letter to him, written on my scalp in Braille. He could do anything he wanted. I felt safe in his hands.

His confidence was contagious; he made everyone look and feel good. I’d see him socially, and would melt a bit when, at a party, without a word, he'd reach up in casual conversation and gently brushed my hair off my forehead with his trained hand.

His own long, black hair was a marvel. People did anything to touch it, usually under the guise of asking conditioning tips. It was like boobies in a strip club; you just want to touch ‘em, even though you might not understand why and it’s not at all cool with the owner.

Lorenzo grabbed my head, guiding it closer to his chest. He cut slowly at first and then his clipping built with rhythmic passion. Hot music pounded in the salon and I swear he timed my cut to end as a song reached its crescendo. When he finished, his hands flew up in the air. He was spent. I was breathless and it took a moment for my eyes to gain back focus. An assistant swooped in from nowhere and mopped his brow.

I hated that the haircut ended. When I left the salon I needed to pause and reach in my pants to dress right from left so I could comfortably walk to my car.

Ordinary stars rise in the Los Angeles sky every night; but a fiery meteor like Lorenzo gets noticed.

My Lorenzo met Elton John at a party. Elton made a smart move and left LA to stay sober. He learned to come back to Hollywood to stuff his pockets with cash to benefit his AIDS foundation. Elton planted his seeds of philanthropy at the same time he implanted his famous hair plugs -- and Sir Elton didn't want to personally tend his new garden. I imagine Lorenzo walking into the party, his hair blowing in the breeze. A little fluff of sex fell off his shoulders, leaving a happy trail that Elton sniffed out and followed.

He courted Lorenzo. At first it was so innocent, like when Elton flew into L.A. and shut down Versace on Rodeo and let Lorenzo point at shirts he wanted. As any normal business relationship progresses, soon Lorenzo had meetings with Elton's decorator to outfit an apartment in Atlanta.

I wasn't really worried. I saw Lorenzo once a month or so, and his “affair” with Elton seemed just that.

My hair never looked more taken care of. Lorenzo was flourishing and I benefited. One day he was snipping away and let it slip that he’d flown over to London to stay with Elton. What? Up to now I was happy for me -- my hairdresser also did Elton John's hair! When someone complimented mine, I whipped it in their general direction, slung my drink, and loudly letting them know that it was manhandled by the same hands as the fabled tresses of a legendary pop singer.

Yet here I was sitting in his chair, stunned. It was one of those days in LA that's so stunningly beautiful I get suspicious and figure something bad has to happen to balance it all out. I know I really should just stay home where it’s safe.

He finished my cut and instead of the usual ceremonial whipping off of my cape, he placed his hands on my shoulders and took a deep breath.

He spoke slowly. "We need to talk," he said.

Those are the four most hated words in any language. In sign language it's a simple flip of the bird. In Africa, you hear them clicked by a tribe and know that heads are landing on a stick.

Lorenzo was moving to London, leaving his salon, his home, his family, and me.

I was angry with him for falling for the glitz, begging to know why I wasn't enough. I screamed and cried, pulling on my hair, hard, to show him what the real thing was. I needed to tell him how foolish he was for leaving the stability of a solid head of hair for temporary plugs.

Elton pulled the ultimate trump card and introduced Lorenzo to Princess Diana. My world was crumbling; but I wished him well. I used my fake smile, the one ironically honed as a reaction to sad news in this town.

Rejection is a total erection killer; I walked out of the salon in the same state I was in when I leave the dentist -- limp, confused, shaken and in pain.

My presumptive belief that my hair would always be perfect lulled me into a false sense of security.  I guess karma is a bitch with a British accent and six Grammys.

I felt abandoned and lost. Life doesn't come with a hair manual -- but life grows out.

I tried to go back to Sassoon; but it felt weird, like it does when you go visit your elementary school and the desks look tiny. I crashed, along with my own self-worth. I walked into The Hair Cuttery; they don’t even require an appointment. I had it done by someone wearing a hand-written nametag; she was probably just released from prison. I once let a guy in Paris cut it --just because he was swarthy. I didn't even speak French to him; I no longer deserved open and honest communication about my hair.

I'm better. I've talked about it, take a few deep breaths and resist the urge to go down the disastrous road of self-cutting. I rarely have it cut now. I’ve faced the cold hard realization that it’ll probably fall out anyway.

Hair will leave you just like Lorenzo did.


  1. Sniff. Chortle.Sniff.
    So good.

  2. My last imbedded memory of the Italia face to face seating configuration was learning that the Stewardesses were apparently not required to wear under garments.


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