Tinkerbell is such an odd character. She is either completely sweet, helpful, and loyal: bravely risking her life for others, or completely evil, ill-tempered, and jealous: attempting murder and getting into all kinds of trouble. I suppose that it’s not surprising that the haircut named after her has the same characteristics. When you get a pixie cut, it’s either going to be completely adorable or completely horrible, and everyone around you is either going to love or hate it. There’s not a lot of middle ground there.
Last Wednesday I sat in a salon chair, staring in the mirror, and knew with a sinking heart that Tinkerbell had turned evil.
Let’s back up and talk about how we got to Neverland, shall we? I haven’t had a stylist I’ve trusted since four years and two states ago, so I’ve basically only cut my hair when we’ve gone back to visit family. Unfortunately, it’s been eight months since I was able to go for a cut, and, while I like my hair long, it had gotten crazily, ridiculously, Rapunzel-wanna-be long. It was high time to take a risk and find a stylist here. Also, have you ever vacuumed with post-pregnancy shedding and long hair? It’s horrifying.
My hair grows quickly and stays healthy, so I like to donate it when I can. Style-wise I wanted to cut it back to medium length, but I’ve always thought surely there are little girls out there who had long hair before they got sick and would love a longer wig than the minimum 10 inch donation. It seemed kind of selfish to cut less off when I could make such a long donation. So, I decided I’d cut it short and donate as much as I could.
I knew going into this that there are pixie cuts I love and pixie cuts I hate. So, I spent weeks stalking the internet, pinning pixies I both liked and disliked and figuring out exactly what it was I liked/disliked so I could tell the stylist. I asked for salon recommendations and read countless reviews online. When I finally decided on a salon I called and asked the receptionist to recommend a stylist who was good at the cut I wanted.
The day of the cut, I printed several pictures and also pulled out my phone and tried to show the stylist more pictures. Here’s one of the pictures I printed; it’s from Whippy Cake‘s Etsy shop (the original link doesn’t work anymore because the product is unavailable, but you should definitely check out her blog: she’s adorable!) I also asked for highlights that were “natural-looking and a few shades lighter than my natural hair.”
In retrospect, I should have run the moment I noticed that she was barely glancing at the pictures and not asking me any questions. But I told myself, Maybe she just gets exactly what you’re saying and doesn’t need more explanation. I’m sure she knows what she’s doing.
First she cut ponytails for the donation, and wow—so long! It is really bizzare to watch your ponytail move from your head to the salon table. Then it was time for the highlights and cut. You know that sinking feeling when you realize this is not going to end well, but the hair is gone and it’s already too late? Halfway through the cut, after asking some weak questions that she answered like she knew what she was doing, I had to just close my eyes and hope it was suddenly going to transform into what I wanted.
I opened my eyes at the end and there, staring back at me, was The Horror. Super poofy at the top, tapered to the bottom, with platinum blonde streaks shooting out from my scalp. It hit me instantly: I look like a lightbulb with a face. Dun dun DUN!!
When she asked what I thought, I pitifully mumbled something about maybe needing to get used to it and basically escaped out of there to my car as fast as possible, where I sat and took deep breaths and repeated “It’s just hair!” to myself over and over again and maybe cried just a little. Then I poured some of my water bottle out and desperately tried to flatten down the crazy volume on top. It’s lucky I didn’t electrocute my lightbulb-head and die right on the spot!
The thought of ever leaving that car and going back to live among humanity was horrifying, but I figured my family might eventually notice I was gone and figure out something had not gone according to plan. My husband was super positive and excited about me getting it cut: he likes it when I change up my look and sweetly says I look beautiful no matter what (although he will tell me what he likes best). He had texted me when I was driving to my appointment: “Your new cut’s going to look gorgeous!” Awwww. Now that it was done I texted him to warn him of my emotional state: “I’m done. Be forewarned…I hate it. There might be years.” Years was a typo that was supposed to be “tears,” but I realized it was rather appropriate, since it was going to take years to grow out the abomination on top of my head. I arrived home like this (even though it was 60 degrees):
He asked if he could see it, to which I answered, “You can see as long as you don’t look at me.” I considered starting a Christian-burqa trend so I’d never have to show him or anyone, but figured the likelihood of it catching on was pretty slim, so I showed him. (Warning: If there are children nearby, you might want to cover their eyes.)
I imagine having your wife hate a new haircut is a terrifying experience for husbands. What do you SAY?? My husband was a hero and managed to walk through the field of landmines by alternately comforting me, admitting it wasn’t what he was expecting, and pointing out aspects of it he thought looked beautiful anyway. Truly heroic!
I looked at it longer and at least decided I didn’t look like a lightbulb. I looked like the lovechild of Kate Gosselin and Justin Bieber. The back was edging dangerously close to mullet-land, with uneven pieces at the nape that reminded me of a bent-leg, dancing hoedowner. One side had a jagged stair-step like an upside-down stairway to heaven that was clearly leading the other direction. It was also shockingly similar to poor Julia Robert’s mind-numbingly awful wig when she played Tinkerbell in Hook. I’m not going to link to that photo…it’s too awful. Google at your own risk!
After some tears, I went into crisis-management mode and did the only reasonable thing I could do: went shopping for hats. Unfortunately, the only hats I could find were military-looking duck-bills which made me look like I had hacked off my hair to pose as a man and join the resistance, or mafia fedoras which made me look like I was (to quote the hilarious Jungle Jam radio show) “The head crime boss of all the crime bosses!” Oh, the humanity!!
Thankfully one store at least took pity on me enough to have a gazillion dangly earrings on clearance for 70% off, which I figured could at least make me look a little less like a man. I stood there for several years, looking for earrings sufficiently huge and shocking enough that no one would notice my hair. Maybe something with neon flashing lights, or magical earrings that would throw a bag over my head whenever they sensed eyeballs turning my way?
I spent that night online, researching hair-growth methods. At one point I was fake-sobbing to my husband about the whole debacle and my two-year-old son ran up to ask worriedly, “Are you okay, Mommy?” I explained that I didn’t like my haircut and was sad, and asked him if he thought I still looked pretty. He looked at me thoughtfully for a while, then said pragmatically, “Not pre-pre…just be happy!” Lol. Shortly after, however, he ran up to his daddy and exclaimed while pointing at me, “Daddy! Mommy’s pre-pre! Mommy’s pre-pre!” That’s right, little boy: dig yourself out of that hole. 😉
The next morning I called the salon to ask them to try and fix it, and (after saying they couldn’t get me in until next week!!) convinced them to fit me in the next day. I thought maybe I’d like it more if I styled it better and did my makeup, so I pulled out an arsenal of hair products and red lipstick and went to work (and I do mean WORK. I was in there so long at one point my son called out, “Mommy…you okaaaay?” Heh.) Bold red lipstick and 60’s makeup can make anything better, but I was still borderline-miserable. The highlights were well-placed, but I have always loathed blonde highlights on brown hair. It just looks cheap to me. Thanks to less than optimal lighting, they actually look better in these pictures than in real life: they were truly a shocking platinum color. I didn’t take a picture of the back, but the contrast to the underside of my hair was awful. The highlights really showed how crooked the cut was, and looked like lightning bolts running down my head and ending in a mud puddle. And I did my best to hide the mullet behind my neck in these pictures, so you can’t even see that….
I even pulled out the big guns: my absolutely most adorable accessory, my baby girl. At least her cuteness distracted from the abomination, but the awful thing about making such a big change is that EVERYONE notices. If you get a bad haircut that’s only a small change you might get by with only a few fake “It’s cute!” comments, but not when you cut off enough hair to climb down a tower with.
After what felt like years of grimacing like some cursed fairytale character every time I passed a mirror, the morning of my re-do appointment finally arrived. I tried to dress in something that seemed really my style so maybe she’d get a hint of what look I was actually going for, but I kept changing up my jewelry and make-up because somehow something just didn’t seem…me. Then the lightbulb went on (pun intended): Oh, it’s my hair. *facepalm*
I disliked the highlights so much that I asked her to just dye it all back to brunette, and (even though my specific descriptions didn’t help at the first appointment) very specifically explained exactly what I thought might help sort of salvage it (blending the layers, removing the baby-mullet, etc). And this was the result:
Okay, still not what I wanted. But at least I think it looks like a normal haircut now, not like the evil neighbor lady from an 80s movie. My husband commented that, while he didn’t hate the blonde as much as I did, when he saw the brunette he thought it looked much more “me.” I agree. And while he’s said he thinks he would like the style I was originally going for better, he has repeatedly said that he really likes this. So that’s a big consolation.
I DO think when it grows about two inches I’ll really like it. But since I love a really feminine style, headbands and jewelry are going to be my best friends until it grows out a bit.
Well, I may not love it, but at least now I think the whole debacle is kind of funny. Maybe I’ll write a Tinkerbell/Rapunzel spin off where she gets cursed so she can’t look at her reflection in a mirror without bursting into tears and having lightning bolts shoot out from her hair. (As a side-note, Tinkerbell has a bun, so don’t ask my why this haircut is called a “Pixie.”)
The upside of all this? I can laugh about it now, and I have 15.5 inches of hair to donate that I hope will make a brave little girl somewhere very happy. And that was the point, anyway.