It’s after Namibia and before
China. Zac and I are visiting our university area, and I go to get a
haircut at one of those cheap $12 a cut places. It is a Thursday morning,
and there is only one young woman running the shop. She clicks some keys on
the computer and asks if I’ve been there before.
“Yes, but it was more than
two years ago.”
“Ok,” she says, “what’s your
“Well, I’ve moved. I can’t
remember my old number.”
“Ok, let me check by your
last name.” She looks Hispanic maybe, but she doesn’t have an accent.
“My name has changed—I got
married—so try Shogren, s-h-o-g-r-e-n.”
“Nope, it not coming up.
What’s your name now?”
“No, it’s not in there
either. Let me just add you. What’s your current address?”
“Uh, I don’t have one, I’m
“Ok, I’ll just put ‘out of
town.’ It’ll be about a twenty minute wait.”
I flip through magazines full
of before and after pictures, and think the before looks better than the
after, until she calls me. When I sit in the blue chair, she touches my hair
and asks, “How do you want it cut?”
“To about here,” I indicate.
“You’re getting a lot cut
“It just sort of grew out of
“So, you’re from out of
town?” She starts combing my hair.
“Yeah, we’re here visiting my
husband’s mom and a couple of friends. We just got back from Namibia.” I
add the necessary “in southern Africa.”
“What were you doing there?”
“We were teachers with the
“Did you meet your husband in
the Peace Corps?” She sprays my hair with water and continues combing.
“No, we met here at OSU. I
used to live right over there.” I gesture north of the shopping center.
“How long have you been
married? You look really young.”
“For, uh, two years. I’m
“I’m 23. I’d like to get
“Do you have a boyfriend?”
“Yeah, but he’s still just a
kid.” She fastens the top layer of my hair with a clip and begins cutting
the layer underneath. There is a picture of her and her baby taped to the
“Where are you from
originally?” I ask.
“I’ve always lived in
“Are you a student at OSU?”
She shakes her head, “No.”
Lengths of my hair fall to the floor. “I’d like to travel though. Did you
have to pay to go over there?”
“No, the Peace Corps paid
everything. You don’t make a lot of money, but they pay for your airfare
and insurance and a small salary.”
“How did you find out about
“Um, I had a teacher in high
school who did it, and she recommended it to me. Also other people who knew
about the Peace Corps told me I should look into it.” She unfastens the top
layer and combs it straight.
“I think I’d like to try it.
What do you need to do it?” Her scissors trim the top layer of hair to
match the bottom layer.
“Uh, a college degree, I
think. Or experience. I’m not sure of the exact requirements.”
The doorbell dings. “I’ll be
right with you.”
I look in the mirror.
“That’s my husband.”
Zac walks over. “You’re
getting a lot off!” My hair is strewn around the floor.
“It’ll just be a few more
minutes.” She says, cutting the stray ends.
“I was just wondering,” I
lied, “what should I do when I have frizzy hair? Should I use gel?”
“No, don’t use gel—that has
too much alcohol in it. It will damage your hair. Here, you should use—um,
let me get it.” She goes to the front of the shop where there are products
sold only in salons.
“Here, use this. You rub a
drop in your hands,” she shows me a slippery nickel sized drop, “then apply
it to the ends, like this.” She massages the serum into the ends of my
hair, then lightly rubs the top.
“Yeah, that looks good.
“Don’t use gel. It will
damage your hair.” She combs it a bit more. “Ok, you’re finished.”
I buy the stuff she
recommended, and say, “Keep the change.”
The receipt says her name is