“A haircut will make you feel better, Lease,” my niece, Jen, said as we wandered the mall.  We were together in Florida to organize and attend my dad’s funeral.  It was December, 2000.

For reasons I still don’t fully understand, my brother Bob, who was Dad’s primary caretaker at the end, was insistent.

“Dad wanted to have Bobby Darin’s Mac The Knife played at his funeral,” Bob insisted.  So in the days before YouTube, Jen and I were on a mission, looking for a CD of the song.  It was no easy feat, let me tell you, finding that recording.*  Record stores were fading, and the stock held by the few remaining didn’t include too many hits from 1958.  Jen and I were getting tired and frustrated.

But Jen was right, I looked awful.

My hair is my best feature and always has been.  It’s strawberry blonde, thick and curly.  It does what it wants to do, which is good, because I don’t like to fuss with it.  And I always let whoever cuts my hair do what they want with it.  It always looks better than when I tell the expert what to do.

Into the salon Jen and I went.

Mellie, the hairdresser I ended up with, was young — 19, she said.  Her hair was black and pink, and she wore thick makeup and brass hoop earrings the size of hula hoops.

I looked at Jen skeptically.

“It’ll be fine,” she reassured me.  Of course, she wasn’t getting her hair cut.

I told Mellie to trim my hair, that I was going to a funeral and needed to be presentable.

“How about …” Mellie started talking about different looks.  But really, I didn’t care.


When she finished, she twirled my chair around like a playground carousel.

“There you go!  You look … sassy!

She’d given me the ugliest hairstyle I’ve ever seen — Jennifer Aniston haircut from friends.  Cut short in the back, with long sides.  It’s not a nice look on a human.

John and Jacob hadn’t been able to get to my Dad’s funeral — there were no flights available.  John was gentle when he saw my new do, though.  After all, I was grieving.  A month later when I had all my hair cut off to get rid of the stupid style, John said “I was really surprised to see you with that style.  You looked like Cooper [our English springer spaniel.]    Long curly bits around your ears and nothing in back.”

Jacob & Cooper in Alps ~2000

Yesterday I had my long hair cut to chin length.  When he was done, my longtime hairdresser Ric, who has never given me a bad cut, spun my chair around and proclaimed:

“Elyse, you look sassy!”




* We were, happily able to find a recording of Mack The Knife:


Filed under ; Don't Make Me Feel Perky Tonigh, Conspicuous consumption, Dogs, Don't Make Me Puke, Family, Gross, Humiliation, Humor, laughter, Memoir writing, Missing Folks, Oh shit, Sassy

46 responses to “Sassy

  1. I don’t know if it’s just a British thing, but over here we will pretty much always tell the hair stylist that we’re happy with what they’ve done, even if we’re not. Having a haircut is actually quite an intimate thing isn’t it, they spend quite a bit of time with you, very close, touching you, plus they’re also doing something creative, so to say you’re not happy at the end feels like it could be really hurtful and insulting to them.

    So now when you go to get your haircut, you’ve learned that you must say “Do whatever you like as long as it’s not sassy.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Always love when you work in the Mack the Knife fish. Now … about that hair … I will not comment in order to keep my head.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sometimes things have a funny way of coming full circle! Hopefully this latest incarnation is better than the first…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Is it terrible of me that this post made me giggle?

    I don’t have any haircut horror stories of my own, so I’ma borrow someone else’s: the one and only time my mother got a perm — one of those aggressive ’60s high-hair-with-a-bottom-flip, close relative to a beehive in attitude — she was talked into it by the hairstylist prepping her for her wedding. The perm itself wasn’t awful-awful, but she certainly didn’t look like herself. The most photographed day of her life, and she’s almost unrecognizable!

    Makes me glad I’ve been close-cropping my hair for so many years. When your haircut *deliberately* looks indistinguishable from a Flowbee head-vacuuming, there’s really nothing a stylist can do accidentally to make it look worse. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • A bad haircut really is a 1st world problem! I am relatively certain that I will survive the new one as I did the original “sassy” one!

      But I’m feeling it for your mom. On the other hand, she probably didn’t dress the way she did on her wedding day on other days either.

      You are always welcome to giggle over my foibles. I do. (Including over the fact that my cousin, who saw a selfie if the new awful do, has named two different diseases I must be suffering from based on the picture!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Sorry. I misread your original comment. I thought your mom made that client.


  6. My wife once said I looked like the mom from the Bradey bunch… I was at the barbers 20 minutes later…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Don’t worry about your haircut, you’ll grow out of it. My wife is a beautician, and prefers customers who let her do what she wants, so I think she’d like you. She always thought it would be funny if she worked in an expensive hair salon; and then, after getting a customer to agree to a few hundred dollars for a hairstyle, she whips out a Flowbee.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You know, I’d forgotten about the Flowbee — and had to look it up. I should get one for Duncan — cheaper than buying a new vacuum cleaner every year!

      But I think she’d have to be very careful who she whipped out the Flowbee on. Most women don’t have much humor about bad haircuts.

      Luckily I know it will grow out. As I’ve said before, this is exactly why I would never get a tattoo!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. You are the best at memoirs, Elyse. I keep urging my Mollie to write hers because she has a ton of them, but for some reason, she refuses. I have begun to write them for her and put them in the family history. Someday, when we’re long gone, a descendant will find them and say, “What a hoot!”. Or, OMG! Who knows?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I started blogging memoir stories because everybody I know has heard them all before. And they aren’t as funny the 10th time around!

      But I think you have to want to write them up. Because writing and telling stories are two very different skills. I’ve learned that I have to reorganize stories when I write them, and then I can never get the same kind of reaction when I TELL them verbally again.

      If she (or you) is interested, though, Gotham Writing Workshops has a pretty good 6 week online memoir course. Although I must say the humor writing course I took helped me more.

      So many stories will be lost … but I guess that is the way of life, isn’t it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The distinguishing characteristic between a very good friend and a true friend: they’ll laugh just as hard at the stories the 20th time they’ve heard them. On the downside … true friends will also be honest about just how bad the haircut is.

        Perhaps you should post a photo so we can all weigh in. Maybe it isn’t as bad as you think … I mean, you know, older people have a tough time with change, right? 🙂


        Liked by 1 person

        • We old foggies


        • The very good friends were there when the stories happened — THAT’s why they laugh at the 20th retelling!

          But no, there will be no photographic evidence. Partly because I promised my husband no pictures and partly because then I’d have to admit that I do in fact look like I do.


  9. Paul

    Hair today, gone tomorrow. Ha!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. A word, a smell, a color can take us places we long to go, or to places we’d almost forgotten. And either way the memory is often bittersweet.

    Thank you for sharing your memories, both sad and sweet of that day so long ago.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was a hard time, but the bad haircut gave us something to laugh about. And laughter was otherwise in short supply. (But the shark singing Mack The Knife was heaven-sent!)

      Liked by 1 person

  11. So sorry, I feel your pain. I’ve had a love/hate relationship with hairstylists ever since my mother had us clipped to a pixie cut. Ugh. Sassy works for some, but that Rachel cut…didn’t work for anyone. I didn’t even like it on her.☺

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s funny you should mention the pixie — I had those too. I thought this morning that that is what this new one was — but I googled it and no, they’re different.

      The Rachel cut WAS horrible — especially on me. This one isn’t great, but it’ll grow. And then I’ll do something else with it. C’est la vie!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I hope this time around ‘Sassy’ was a good thing!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. So funny! What made Mellie think “sassy” was the right look for a funeral?! Ha, that’s the danger of a 19-year-old making social protocol decisions for you. I hope Ric’s “sassy” was better 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think that Mellie’s job training must have been the beauty shop equivalent of the grocery store bagging lessons that instruct clerks to put the apples underneath the canned goods.

      Ric’s sassy IS better, relatively speaking.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Hairdressers used to love me as I’d let them do more or less what they wanted as my hair ALWAYS did what they wanted! That was until 1990, when I went in with loing hair and came out with a crew cut……….. and I was going to a wedding! The hairdresser agreed to perm it to ‘soften the effect’ and I looked like a spent match. I trim it myself now.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I guess it’s good I’ve never had a hairdresser say I looked “sassy.” Sorry your “bad hair” occurred while you were organizing your dad’s funeral. That’s really awful. At least you can laugh about it now. Maybe. 😉


    • Merril, I think your hair and mine are very similar although different clors, judging by your gravitar photo. So I’m hoping mine grows in like yours looks! Stay sassy-free, that’s my recommendation.

      Actually, I was able to laugh at the bad cut at the time too. It helped ease the pain of the fact that, because it was Florida the week between Christmas and New Years, nobody could get to my Dad’s funeral. I didn’t have to explain to everybody I’d ever known that it was just a bad (albeit “Sassy”) cut!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I’m not usually happy with a new haircut. It takes a week to settle in (or for me to get over the fact that a haircut can’t make me stunningly gorgeous). I had a cut last week. I only go every 8 to 10 weeks because they always cut too much off. I can’t wear short hair because I have strange growth patterns (others call them cowlicks. I call them the devil’s work.) I’ve never been called sassy though. Maybe that’s a good thing?

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Never, ever tell a hairdresser, “Whatever” or “Do whatever you think looks best.” I did that once. I cried afterwards, but it was too late. Just had to wait for the hair to grow back out so it could be cut properly. But at least I didn’t have it happen on the day of my dad’s funeral – how awful for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Isn’t it funny, CM — I’ve had the opposite experience. With the exception of this haircut in Florida, I think I come out ahead (pun intended) if I let the hairdresser do his stuff. It’s when I tell them what to do that I’m sorry.

      Ric has been cutting my hair for over 20 years, and I always come out with the same style in a different length. I was bored and wanted something different.

      Lesson learned!

      Glad it will grow out. But this is EXACTLY why I would never get a tattoo! (That and Hepatitis)

      Liked by 1 person

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