Hairdresser Hazards for Authors

The summer of 2015 was the first summer my husband, Alan, and I spent four months aboard our boat in the Pacific Northwest Waters of Washington and Canada. We made Bellingham our home port and this is where I found my new “summer hairdresser.” During my initial appointment with young Ellie (not her real name), we covered the basic “how do you dos,” and then we moved on to the subject of my books.

“You’re an author?” she asked. “How interesting.”

Snip, snip, snip. “What’s the name of your book?”

“I’ve actually published two memoirs—French Illusions: My Story as an American Au Pair in the Loire Valley and French Illusions: From Tours to Paris.”

Her eyes flew to my face in the mirror. “Really? I’ve always wanted to visit France. Tell me more.” She refocused her attention on my hair. Snip, snip, snip.

“Well…both books are based on my diaries when I was twenty one. At the time, I wanted to become a flight attendant, but I needed to learn a foreign language to secure the job…”

She listened, nodding as she murmured words of encouragement, her scissors working overtime. Near the end of my story, I paused.

“Er…um…Ellie?” I croaked. “I think one side is shorter than the other. Don’t forget I only wanted a trim.”

Ellie blanched. “Oh dear, I’m so sorry. I’m afraid I got too absorbed in your story. Here, let me even this side out.”

I kept my mouth shut until she completed her task and then I finished my tale. A few minutes later, when Ellie ushered me to the register, she gushed about my story and promised to purchase my books.

“I hope your hair isn’t too short,” she said with a weak smile.

“No, I’m sure it’s fine. I’ll see you in six weeks.” A grin spread across my face as I walked out the door, but as ran my hands through my short, short hair, I vowed to keep my mouth shut the next time Ellie trimmed my hair.

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