Thursday, April 29, 2010

Cousin Itt: Alive and Well and Living in My House

Living on the dole brings me back to my roots. Adversity shows me my true colors. I am learning the lengths I to which I can go to survive.
The true color of my roots: grey
The lengths to which I will go: half-way down my back and heading south fast.
Indeed, what I see when I look in the mirror these days: visions of The Addams Family’s Cousin Itt.
That’s right—these days I’m actually drawing job-seeking inspiration from hairy Cousin Itt. (Remember the episode “Cousin Itt and the Vocational Counselor” where he/she/it found his/her/its appropriate career?)
My own hair (greying and inching toward my waist) is growing proof that I’m making it through tough times. Nevertheless, I like what I see in my long, grey locks: the outer reflection of my inner strength.
I had no hair until the age of three. My grandmother once taped pink foam curlers to my head when I begged her to fix my “hair” just like hers.
But, when I got hair, I grew a lot of it. Fast growing. Beyond plentiful. Super thick. I burn out hair dryers, and break brushes, barrettes and ponytail holders.   
The good news is I inherited Mom’s thick tresses. The bad news is I inherited Dad’s prematurely grey hair gene. I have more grey on my head than my mother does on hers.
Five years ago I decided to cover that grey with blonde highlights in summer, and red ones in winter. A mixture in spring and fall. And I chose Salon 74, the hippest salon in town, to hide those pesky “self-highlighting” (i.e. grey) hairs. The prices: equally hip (translation: not cheap). While I was employed, it was mere pocket change. A small price to pay for a “good hair day,” I told myself.
The new on-the-dole reality: I don’t have that kind of money for a haircut anymore. My hair has not been cut—or  colored—in eight months. I can’t remember the last time it was this long—some time in my twenties, I think. 
Perhaps I should contact Locks of Love, a nonprofit organization that uses donated hair to make hair pieces for financially disadvantaged children who have long-term medical hair loss. Someone should benefit from my situation. But, they do not accept highlighted hair.
Over the years, Mom has frequently expressed her opinion on those expensive hair cuts at Salon 74. Too much to pay says my practical parent. She goes to one of those no-nonsense, no-appointment-necessary shops that charges $12 for a cut.

I could get my hair cut at her place, she tells me.
I don’t.
See, while I don’t have big bucks for a haircut—well, I don’t have $12 either.
Besides, ultimately her place would cost more because they charge $5 for a bangs trim. At my place, it’s complimentary. And those free trims extend the life of an expensive haircut for a long, long time. Just how long, I’m not sure. Ask me in another six months.
But, with a reunion coming up, Mom is suddenly stepping in as the style police, threatening to frog-march me to the pricey salon for a cut-and-color job at her expense.
“Unless you are leaning toward a career in country music, you need a haircut,” Mom  jokes. “Besides, your grey hair reflects poorly on me. You make me look old. How can I look young with a grey-haired daughter standing beside me?”
OK, maybe she has a point, but, as I walk away from my latest look in the mirror I am unfazed. What’s wrong with really, really long hair? It worked for Cousin Itt, didn’t it?
I begin to hum a nifty little ditty: “They’re creepy and they’re kooky . . .”
# # #
Just For Fun: Watch "Cousin Itt and the Vocational Counselor".
And for More Fun:

Cousin Itt photo courtesy of
Oshima Island Girl photo courtesy of


Amanda said...

Hi, found you through Fed Up With Lunch. I'm also collecting unemployment right now, though under much different circumstances than you. It's interesting to see another perspective.

This is a neat coincedence, because I just had my boyfriend cut my hair for me this past weekend. This is to fool myself into thinking it's somehow likely I will get a job interview soon so I'd better look well-groomed, ha!

I've NEVER paid for a haircut in my life. My mom was always "frugal" and thought paying for a haircut was a waste of money. I've always had her do it, or my sister, and now my boyfriend. Now, even when I've been able to afford it, paying to get my hair cut seems weird for me. I guess it's kind of scary now since I've never been to a salon and would have no idea what to say or do.

I was a little worried about my boyfriend doing it. He volunteered, since he always cuts his own hair too, but guy hair is easier, you know? Bzzt, and it's done! Turns out he did a pretty good job on me, though. Next time my sister is in town I might get her to trim it up a bit, but it doesn't look too bad as it is. :-)

My mom is so nuts that she cuts her OWN hair! I tried that once and it was a disaster. I have no idea how she does it, but she does. My sister cuts her own hair too. I guess I'm just too much of a tomboy for that.

Though, there's nothing wrong with Cousin Itt! When I was in high school I had hair down to my waist, and when I was in college I dyed it purple. I just think that now I should have short, "professional" looking hair in case of job interview (yeah right).

Anonymous said...

I love this blog entry. Very imaginative and fun! If you have a beauty school near you, they cut, color and curl for much less than salons do because they need people to practice on. The beauty school instructors would be observing and lending a helpful hand when needed.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget long hair equals stop up drain. Hey! will someone please call the super?

Deanna said...

I buy the $6 Natural Instincts hair color and do it myself!

Post a Comment