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Um, yeah . . . that hairdo packs a mighty jolt for the uninitiated, I guess. And it is certainly not at all what Oliver Oates expected as he popped up from the barber chair and spied himself in the wall-hung mirror framed in sequined unicorns.
I suppose he should have been a tad circumspect upon entering The Frosted Pony and seeing all the salon stewards and stewardesses identically clad as Manga heroines (with their oversized gleaming blue-black doe eyes uniformly directed on him, as the closing entry door bell tinkled thinly above his left shoulder).
His trepidation should have become somewhat elevated once he was handed the services menu, penned as it was in multi-colored glittering metallic calligraphy across the flip side of what appeared to be an oversized Tarot card having a macramé fringe of neon yarn.
The European techno-beat thumping and scrawking from the pink and chartreuse boom box near his feet certainly didn’t help to ease the sudden rapid pitty-patting of his pulse, either.
But, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” silently quoted the encyclopedic aphorism glossary lodged somewhat near the back of Oliver’s well-read cortex. So, he dutifully stepped forward — into this intentionally new phase of his life — and, clearing his arid throat, haltingly murmuring, “Um, I’m here for a hair styling?” The rising inquisitive note at the end of that brief statement made it abundantly clear to both Oliver and his entire audience that he was not at all sure of what he was about to endure.
Our dear Oliver, you see, had been for his entire drab existence what one might euphemistically call a homebody. As near as he could tell, virtually the entire span of the last thirty years had trudged tickingly past him as he sat in his favorite tufted red plush batwing easy chair with matching frilled ottoman, under a pull-chain floor lamp that peeped over his right shoulder just enough to illumine a significant portion of the crossword puzzle lying atop his lap cushion/tablet. Yea, though Vanna White and Pat Sajak might quip and caw, and the playing-card-in-the-bicycle-wheel flat-flat-flatting of that infernal Wheel might drone on, Oliver was content, as long as a few unfilled white squares lay in gridlock awaiting his liberating blue ballpoint. Give him the occasional bowl of warmed cream of tomato soup and the odd saltine, and he was indeed a very happy man.
But then, he met a woman. (Don’t ask me how, but it must have been on one of his increasingly seldom and sporadic ventures to the local food emporium for yet one more case of tomato soup tins and another sack of saltine boxes.) And, of even greater significance, the woman Oliver met that fateful day was not just A woman, she was THE woman. For she too was attired in an outfit that incorporated at least one crossword-puzzle-adorned item of attire — though, in her case, it happened to be a micro-mini that blatantly directed one’s eyes to the solution of the puzzle! While his new feminine acquaintance (the sole of his life) also indulged a great fondness for saltines and cream-of-tomato soup, judging by her shopping cart contents that very first day, she also favored piercings in unusual and unheard of places, club music of Central America, bungee-jumping, and weekends-long binges of flavored herbal teas with multi-color sandwich cookies.
Oliver was immediately and unrelievedly smitten by the gargantuan ping-pong paddle of love, and would never again be the same.
Especially after this hairdo.
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