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Magic is reality
By Amanda Nowinski

'SO, IN other words," says Doris in the lace muumuu and the big bad perm, "you want your hair kinda like mine?"

I'm stuck in a Fleetwood Mac sort of place for a last-minute haircut, and it's clear I'm going to be leaving in tears. There's not a hint of black-clad hiptitude anywhere, though at least the glorious color green abounds – leafy green plants spill over green velvet-covered shelves; puffy ferns hang from the ceiling. The carpet is green, the walls are green, and the cracked linoleum is a subtle shade of chartreuse. And of course, there's my sadistic spiritual guide Doris, who is also in green.

She's waving a pair of shiny metal scissors above my head, so I'm not about to be a total bitch. "No," I say, eyeing her weaponry. "I don't want a haircut exactly like yours, but all those layers are nice." I hold up an issue of Celebrity Hairstyles. "See, this is roughly what I want." I point to a picture of a woman with poker-straight hair.

"Look," Doris explains in a voice normally reserved for retards and pets. "Your hair's curly. Curly." She draws out the "u" – just in case I didn't get it – and gives me a hand mirror, so that I may at last discover the frizzy mess I was born with. "You're right," I say. "My hair is curly."

"Oh, yes, that it is," Doris says, lowering her chin to her massive breasts and zapping me with the deep-down evil eye. "So I can't just whip up your fantasy haircut. Impossible!"

Doris's cell rings, and she whips it out of a secret hiding place in her muumuu: "Just put it in the cabinet ... I said, keep it in the cabinet! What part of 'I said' didn't you understand?" As Doris continues, I try to keep my hopes up. I read a plaque adhered to the wall: "Rejoice! Give yourself up to the magical dance of life!" (Note: it feels absolutely fantastic to say that out loud.)

"That's right ... Don't bullshit me, kiddo!" Doris clicks off the phone and grabs Celebrity Hairstyles from my hand, flicking the side of my face with a decent helping of arm flab. Noticeably agitated by her shady phone conversation, she flips through the magazine and settles on a photo of some encephalitic freak with a heavily blow-dried Leif Garrett mistake. "This – this is about all I can manage with your hair. But it should work for you."

At this point I realize that if I don't give myself up to the magical dance of life immediately, Doris will lose her shit. "Fine. Just don't blow-dry it." We are silent as she begins to chop off my hair.

Fleetwood Mac's "Go Your Own Way" pumps loudly, and another stylist starts singing along. "So tell me," he says to his middle-aged female client in curlers. "Were you in love with Hall and Oates on Behind the Music or what?" The woman guffaws, and her metal curlers rattle. "I'm so with you on that one, Eduardo," she says.

After a few more intense moments of silence between Doris and I, the ice melts. I start to get into the Fleetwood vibe and decide that I really dig all the green velvet after all. We launch into a heated cat and New Age discussion, during which Doris reveals that, like me, her moon is in Cancer. We totally bond. I start to feel bad about the whole curly-hair drama, and I compliment her on her phenomenal green clogs. But despite all this friendly crap, Doris and I both know deep down that I won't be going anywhere except the Miz Brown's Feedbag 5 p.m. senior dinner until my magical dance of life grows out. Still waiting.

Send comments or tips to amanda@sfbg.com.