Yes, I mean hair cutter. I don’t go to a place with  hairstylists. Even hair dresser is too stylish a word for the shop I go to, on the rare occasions I actually get my hair cut. I let it go for a whole year while my mom was sick. It takes courage for me to go in for a trim because my hair grows back so slowly. Every time I get it cut, I feel like I’m signing a contract for the next six months.

But on this particular day, I felt bold and daring. I walked into Bobby’s shop just before lunch. Why then? Because he’s closed at lunch. If you think that’s weird, then you don’t live in a small town. Shops around here still close for lunch because that’s when you eat your noon meal, right?

I’ve heard about Bobby for years because my husband has gone to him often. So I knew that Bobby leaned toward the short side of any requested length. I had planned to ask for 2 inches off. When I landed in his chair, I changed it to 1 1/2. I got 2.

As he combed through my hair, Bobby said, “Boy, your hair is really thick!”

“It’s deceiving,” I said. “I look like I’m going to be easy, but I’m not.”

“Oh, it’ll be fine.”

While I sat there quietly, noticing that Bobby was carefully  pinning up my layers to ensure an even cut, a young woman came into the shop just to talk to him. She complained that she was supposed to start school, but she was putting it off for another couple months. She wanted to save up a couple of paychecks first.

“Are you working?” Bobby asked.

“No,” she admitted.

“Well, you can’t really save up paychecks until you get a job.”

“Yeah, but all the classes, they’re during the day. I want night classes,” the woman said.

“So you go to class during the day, and you work at night. There’s tons of night jobs,” Bobby said.

“Yeah, I know.”

“You just don’t want to work.”

“No, I don’t. Just another couple of months,” the woman said.

“If you start now, you’ll be done two months sooner,” Bobby said.

“Yeah, I know.”

Then they talked books. The woman said she’s only read two books in her life, and one was “The Shack.”

“Have you read it, Bobby?”

“Nah. The only book I’ve read all the way through is the Bible.”

His Bible was sitting on his stand, all worn and ragged. He’s become a Christian just since we moved here six years ago. I heard he got married recently. There were snapshots of a bride stuck into the corners of his mirror.

He finished my cut, then thinned it real well and dried it, which, he didn’t have to for that price. I tip well because I know that whoever cuts my hair gets more than they bargained for. (Think: Cher.) I left the shop looking like a nice, graying, middle-aged mom with a nice, middle-aged cut. Perfect.

It’s amazing what a good hair cut can do for my mood. I felt beautiful. Well, as beautiful as can be expected for only getting cheap cuts and only getting them every six months or so. Thank you, Bobby.

Johnny Cash was playing over the radio as I left.