Mr. Curly Iron

24 Jul

There’s nothing like being accosted in the mall by a thickly accented man wielding a curling iron (that both curls and straightens hair). In fact, there are only a few things to which I can compare this experience – sitting next to a newborn on an airplane, snorkeling alongside Jaws, and feeding your pet chicken some McNuggets (sorry, animal cannibalism is a real issue and should be taken seriously) are probably the only experiences that even come close to causing the emotions I felt at the mall this weekend.

I was walking along in an attempt to kill time while my family bought my birthday presents (hehe), when one of those kiosk sales people approached me with a free sample. I love free stuff, am not good at being caught off guard, and have a tendency to engage in poor decisions without even knowing it; so, I somehow allowed this dude to drag me into the “demo” chair and start playing with my hair. This was a mistake.

I knew it was a mistake because the salesman kept referring to the “curling iron” as a “curly iron.” Which, with the added bonus of his accent, sounded more like “curleee eeerrooonn.” I tried really hard not to laugh in his face, all the while thinking, “Please, please prove to be a ridiculous human because I have a blog to maintain.”

I also knew I would regret this experience the minute he whipped out a bunch of little combs and clips from his pockets and started threading them through my hair. Umm okay, first of all, how do I know that isn’t just your personal comb you keep in your pocket to style your greasy hair, as your leather jacket-wearing groupies gather around you and sing Summer Lovin’? And those don’t even look like real hair clips! They look like the clips you use to fasten bags of chips! I could just picture the lice setting up camp in my hair as I sat there – a couple gathered around the fire, roasting marshmallows. A few more practicing archery nearby. Some going jet skiing on the lake… I was convinced my head itched for the rest of the day.

My concerns began to dissipate as Mr. Curly Iron ended the combing process and began to straighten my hair. (He had decided the “straight look” would bode well for me). It was kind of cool, actually. My hair was super-straight and shiny and I was feeling really fancy (dare I say, celebrity-like?) as I sat in the middle of the Burlington mall. I now see how dumb that must have looked. No wonder the woman on the bench across from me kept looking at me like, “Oh, poor thing. Her parents must have allowed her to eat processed foods and to wear pajamas to school as a child.” And she would be correct on at least one, but probably two, of those accounts…

So like I said, I was feeling great. But things were almost too perfect, you know? I knew it was only a matter of time before my hair would burn off or the Punk’d producers would come out or I’d be arrested for taking part in some kind of drug deal diversion or something.

And just like that, the perfect storm arrived:

“So, Sophie,” (yes, I had told him my name… BIG mistake) said Mr. Curly Iron, “do you have a boyfriend?”

Dun dun dun! Whoosh! Splurg! Durgle! (These are my “perfect storm” sound effects). Mr. Curly Iron had asked the dreaded question! The way I saw it, he was either going to a.) Hit on me; b.) Set me up with his cousin, Mr. Conair Crimper; or c.) Tell me that a boyfriend would come free with a purchase of $99.99 (before tax, of course).

But alas, not one of these options was correct. Which is really a shame, because $99.99 is a great price for an iron and a boyfriend…

No, Mr. Curly Iron was going to use this tidbit of information he had gleaned about my life to offend my self-esteem and to GUILT me into buying a curly iron (that also straightens hair).

“Nope, I don’t” I responded.

“Well, DEEES is why!” Mr. Curly Iron proclaimed, as he held up a chunk of my curly, mangled, dry hair. (I’d been going for a “beach waves” look that morning and had failed to follow through, leaving my hair looking like Medusa after a body surfing competition.)

“Do you know what country you’re in?” he continued. “Dees eez AMERICA! And in America, boys do not like DEEES kind of hair! They like the straight hair!”

To which I responded, “Well, I like my hair like this.”

To which he said, “Yes, but zee boys don’t. Do you want to know what I theenk? I theenk you are LAZY and dat eez why you don’t straighten your hair. And DAT eez why you don’t have a boyfriend.”

If my life were a movie – or a sitcom, or a day-time soap opera… or even the Wiggles, for that matter – my witty and bitingly sarcastic response would have gone a little something like this:

“Gee wiz, Mr. Curly Iron, thank you SO much for answering the curly-haired girl’s eternal question about why she can’t find love. Congratulations, sir, you are a genius! Might I recommend you sell your relationship advice instead of these hair tools? You could be the next Dr. Phil! Pretty soon, The Bachelor producers will be calling you to appear on the show – buh bye Chris Harrison; we’ve got the real deal right here! You could be a STAR. And then, once you’re famous, maybe you’ll have enough money to replace those HIDEOUSLY FAKE blue contacts you’re wearing with a pair of intellectual-looking frames. After all, everyone knows a genius isn’t complete without his/her spectacles! Thank you SO MUCH for everything, really. I mean, how would I have continued without you and your sage advice? Please, allow me to buy all of these irons as a way to express my gratitude to you and your wisdom.”

*Sophie picks up as many irons as she can carry and begins to throw them around the mall. She then knocks over the kiosk with her incomparable force and kicks Mr. Curly Iron in the shins over and over until she is escorted away from the scene by two tall, muscular, devastatingly handsome mall cops. The people who witnessed her bravery applaud as she is whisked away. Several curly/wavy-haired women who saw the scene unfold begin to spray Mr. Curly Iron with pepper spray and chase the villain away from the mall. Mr. Curly Iron is banned from the selling of hair tools and takes up a long and lonely life as a freelance telemarketer. * The end.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, for the sake of my own well-being) my life is 100% real… which is actually kind of hard to believe. So, when Mr. Curly Iron dared to ask me “how will you be paying for this today? Cash or check?” I replied with a simple, “I won’t be paying because I won’t be buying anything today,” and quickly walked away from the kiosk with half of my hair straight and the other half curly… like Medusa after a body surfing competition and a failed attempt to golf in a lightening storm.

Naturally, I walked into Brookstone (the land of all things holy) and sat myself down in the Zero Gravity chair. Before I could get a minute of peace and quiet, the store’s infant-of-a-manager said, “How old are you?? You have to be 18 to sit in the massage chairs!”

“I. AM. TWENTY.” I said. The poor, frightened kid looked at my disheveled mane and gave me my second pity look of the day, before deciding I was a lost cause and walking away.

Curly hair and a massage chair…

So this is the big 2-0.

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One Response to “Mr. Curly Iron”

  1. Leslie July 31, 2013 at 3:48 pm #

    “$99.99 is a great price for an iron and a boyfriend…” This is genius!

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