February 2, 2011

Running With Scissors

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Over the past four years, my Cornell experience has far exceeded the Big Red hype, living past any expectations that I could have possibly established as an uninformed pre-frosh. In my totally excellent adventure from sexy-but-wee freshman to sexier-than-thou senior, I have laughed, loved, learned and repeatedly lost my dignity with the greatest (and sexiest) cast of characters a Losh could ask for. Allowing me to establish a life of excitement and helping me unleash my full Loshean potential, Cornell has become my home and kingdom. However, as my final semester in this glorious frozen tundra gets off to a start, I find myself in a quarter-life crisis, falling apart at the seams, as the thought of leaving this place quickly becomes a reality.

Similar to a mid-life crisis but lacking the appropriate funding, a quarter-life crisis tends to strike unemployed second semester seniors who realize that the glory of their college years is fading fast. Unsure of their futures and incapable of purchasing a new Porsche or of filing for divorce, these destitute souls are left scrambling, as they race to cross items off their college bucket lists in hopes of prolonging their undergraduate experience. Making as many poor decisions as I possibly can before the real world eats my dreams, I have become a thoroughbred quarter-lifer, desperately holding onto each fleeting moment and using Ithaca to its fullest potential. Unfortun­ately, this pro­cess does not always produce sexy results. As evidence, I present to you the tale of my Ithaca haircut.

Since coming to Cornell, I have never once had the need to get my weave shorn in Ithaca. Rocking my locks of love for about four to six months between haircuts, I have always taken advantage of our various breaks to go for a new style, entrusting my modelesque mop to my tried and true hometown barber. This year however, I somehow failed to chop my curls during Fall Break, Thanks­giving, or Winter Break, leaving me with an untamed mane of superhuman volume. Set on a shearing but unfamiliar with local grooming options, I took a well-meaning but ultimately plebeian-haired friend’s advice, and ventured to the mall for some fancy scissor-work. My downfall loomed near.

Upon entering this so called “salon,” the rotund stylist sat me down in front of a mirror and immediately asked, “So are we scissoring today?” Considering that I make it a rule to never scissor on the first date, especially not without some preliminary wining and dining, I had to break my beauty school dropout’s heart, rejecting her advances. “Just a haircut please.” Our relationship was off to a good start. After this initial hurdle of intentions, my scissor sister began to hack away at my tresses, approaching each strand like a lioness would a lone baby gazelle — bloodthirsty and silent.

Throughout the haircut, my stylista’s co-workers continuously came over to her workstation, swiping Mallomars and Rolo caramels from an open drawer. “They are always stealing my children,” she moaned. “They never leave my kids alone.” Apparently capable of birthing delicious sweets, Scissor Mama seemingly had to make a Sophie’s choice on the daily, sending her chocolaty children to a bitter end at the clutches of her fellow weave whackers. Things were clearly moving fast between us — I had already met the family and attended a funeral. I couldn’t help feeling like we were rushing our relationship.

Once focus shifted back to the task at hand — shaving my shag — it became clear that my hair temptress lacked experience. Seeking my approval after every chop rather than just letting loose and doing her thang, the mop pseudo-master constantly cited the godlike thickness of my hair as the cause of her hesitation. “Do you like it?” she would ask, popping a Mallomar into her mouth. “Yes?” I would respond, unsure as to whether or not she considered the job done. “It’s just so thick,” she would say, almost apologetically.

In order to distract myself from the natural disaster occurring inches above my eyes, I focused my attention on my salon chair neighbor. To my right sat a woman of indeterminate age and width, wearing a floor-length platinum blonde wig. Obviously unsatisfied with her level of flashiness, this blonde bomb was having purple highlights glued to her scalp. Horrified yet enthralled, I couldn’t look away from this hot mess until my very own Eduarda Scissorhands informed me that the worst was finally over. Staring at my reflection, I was pleasantly surprised at what I saw. Finely coiffed, I resembled my human self, rather than the Serbian werewolf who had first walked in.

Ultimately overpriced and overly traumatic, my local haircut is indicative of the quarter-life crisis. Too eager to seize the day and cherish every Cornell moment, I can only hope that the series of mistakes I will inevitably make will turn out for the sexiest. What other adventures will my quarter-life madness bring? Only time will tell.

Milos Balac is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. He may be reached at mbalac@cornellsun.com. The Quarterlife Crisis appears alternate Thursdays this semester.

Original Author: Milos Balac