Recently our friends Tom and Susana came into town from Key Biscayne, Florida for Tom’s brother’s wedding. We met them and our mutual friends Steve and Juliet for breakfast. Susana walked into the restaurant wearing the most beautiful, natural-looking hair extensions I had ever seen.
Ever since seeing Beyoncé flip her extended locks back and forth during the Super Bowl half-time show I knew I wanted three things: Those boots, that outfit (and the body it fit so beautifully), and hair extensions.
I’ve thought about getting hair extensions for years because my hair grows horizontally, and vertically (but only north). I have been referred to as “Wild Boomba”, “Medusa”, “Kramer”, and “mushroom-head”. The “mushroom-head” remark came from a fun guy. Lame joke, I know. But that fun guy is my husband, Richard.
I had done a little research in town at several salons asking about how hair extensions were attached. Glue? Tape? An industrial-strength staple gun?
But the main reason I’ve never seriously investigated getting hair extensions is because the idea of having another person’s hair attached to my own has always creeped me out. I’ve been told it is cut from the heads of living Indian women who sell their perfect, beautiful, virgin hair. “Virgin” hair has never been color-treated, or permed; whether or not these women are actual virgins isn’t any of my business. I just wanted to know they were alive when they sold their hair.
Susana’s extensions were removable. They attached to her head with little comb thingies that snapped underneath layers of her own hair giving her the option of wearing a few, all, or none of them. That seemed like the healthiest method I had heard about so far, and it would give me the freedom to be a mushroom-head or a Beyoncé.
As it just so happened, we were heading to the Miami area with the kids in a few weeks because Richard had been invited to speak about The Holocaust at Edison State College in Fort Myers where my BFF Kelly Greene Lavis is a Professor of Humanities.Richard is on the Board of Directors at the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, and an amazing docent.
We were going to stay with Kelly, Scott and their son, Dylan, for a few days, then visit Tom and Susana in their new house on Key Biscayne , and then have Passover with Richard’s parents in Weston. We decided to stay on Pompano Beach and drive back and forth to see them because we wanted to be on the water.
So after breakfast Susana, who knows how to get things done, called her stylist Joseantonio right there outside the restaurant and asked him if he could arrange to get extensions for me.
She spoke with him in Spanish, of which I know very little, and the conversation was over in give-or-take two seconds because that’s how quickly they spoke to one another. If I hadn’t actually seen her make the call I would never have believed the call even took place. But, in those few seconds, he told her a lot of information because before I knew it she told me she had to cut off some of my hair from the underneath layer on the back of my scalp that she would give to him upon her return home so he could match it to my texture and color.
Susana just happened to have a small pair of scissors in her purse. She instructed Juliet to hold up the top layer of hair on the back of my head while she snipped off a piece. Did I say “a piece”? It looked more like a chunk. A large chunk. I was shocked when I saw the length, because I didn’t realize my hair had grown out in the back as much as it had. And, I thought I was going to be left with a bald spot the size of a small SUV.
Truthfully, I couldn’t even feel where the hair had been cut. And, I couldn’t see it mostly because Susana might have had a scissors, but she didn’t have a Mary Poppins-sized bag from which she could produce a large enough mirror so I could inspect my head. Juliet, who has a dog, pulled out an unused poop bag from her pocket and we deposited my locks inside.
The plan was that Joseantonio had told Susana that he would bring the hair extensions and install them at our hotel in Pompano Beach. I felt like a Kardashian at the moment; and not in a bad way. This was living the good life. I deserved this. I was worth it.
Slight problem though; a few days later I received a text from Susana who was back in Key Biscayne, packing like a madwoman to move into a house from their condo in a few days. The text read, “Yolanda (her housekeeper) threw away the bag with your hair. Sorry! Get another sample and I will give you Joseantonio’s address so you can send it to him. You are going to look amazing!”
Amazing? I was already freaked out about the chunk of hair the size of a Subaru Forrester she had cut off my head to give to him and now I had to cut off another chunk? Was it really worth it?
Yes! It was really worth it! You know why it was really worth it? Because if I didn’t go through with it I’d end up with two bald spots that would need to be covered up by hair extensions! And, because I had made up my mind that I was going to be “Sasha Fierce” (one of Beyoncé’s alter-egos) on this vacation. “No” was not going to be in my vocabulary. I was going to do everything and try everything. I still wouldn’t try raw fish, though.
I called Juliet to ask her to trim off more hair because she witnessed where Susana had cut off the original swath, and because she’s no fraidy cat like I am. I knew she’d have no problem just hacking it off, giving me another unused poop bag, and handing it to me to send to Joseantonio. But, she wasn’t home and I didn’t want to ask another friend to do it because I wanted to surprise everyone (meaning my mother) with my new look when I got home.
So, I did it. I washed my hair and let it dry into its usual Jew-fro and then sectioned the back of my hair with clippies, leaving just the approximate sweet-spot of hair exposed, took a pair of scissors, closed my eyes (not the best idea) and snipped off another crop circle of hair the size of The Great Divide. I put it in a more-respectable-than-a-poop-bag Ziploc, purchased a small, bubble-wrap-lined envelope, and went to the Post Office to send it to Joseantonio.