‘You cut your hair off,’ my neighbour announced to me this morning. I was standing on the sidewalk, watching Jed pee, and he was on his way to the streetcar.
‘Yes I did,’ I said. As usual, I was wearing my hat to cover my very short hairdo. I’ve been wigless for about a month, and fully expect people to be curious when they see me again for the fist time. I don’t enjoy these moments, and I brace myself for these the times when I run into someone who’s curiosity get the better of them. I actually like this guy, but he was a perfect specimen of the nosey acquaintance. He stopped in his tracks and stared. ‘Take your hat off.’ I said no. He persisted, ‘Come on. Take your hat off. I want to see your hair.’ I told him that I didn’t want to show him. ‘Come on!’ he laughed.
I had two thoughts. Firstly, I thought – how very f*cking rude. Secondly I thought that he would never be satisfied until I show him, and since I see him most days in the park, he wasn't going away. And I also know the routine. After the big reveal, the nosey acquaintance take a second to digest the hair, and then coughs up a fake compliment. So even though I don’t like exposing myself, revealing seemed to be the path of least resistance.
So I took off my hat. And his eyes roamed around my scalp, and he waited a second too long and told me it was cute. I put my hat back on, and watched Jed roll around the sidewalk. My neighbour smiled, wished me a good day, and headed down the street. I hated moments like this. What I can never figure out is if I have a thin skin, or if people are just stupid. And I think it’s probably a bit of both.
My neighbour was about three houses away when he called my name and said something I didn’t understand. It sounded like ‘ Janet. Same game in’.
‘What?!’ I yelled impatiently.
‘Gamine! Your hair! C’est trés gamine!’
Hmph. Well that was better, if only a little. I'm a sucker for anything French. But still, I kept my chapeau on for the rest of the day.