Deciding it was fate when a free haircut coupon to a new high-end salon came in the mail at my mom's house, I made a dual appointment for me and Jerry because both of us were in desperate need of some professional attention.
My mom and I had gotten pedicures at their original location earlier in the week, so I knew it was the type of place that uses upscale products and the stylists offer to get you coffee or tea. A place where you can bask in VIP treatment -- even if just for a moment.
But Jerry wasn't so sure.
Especially when the appointment confirmation call came and I made the rookie mistake of playing the voicemail message on speaker.
"Good afternoon, Kelly. This is Stephanie from the salon calling to remind you of your 10:45 appointment tomorrow morning with Jordan. ... Oh, and I see here Jerry is listed under the same phone number, so I'll confirm her appointment with ... "
The rest of the message barely even mattered.
"HER?!" Jerry sputtered, his arm frozen in midair holding a heaping spoonful of pureed pears on the way to Allison's mouth. Her verbal protest snapped him back to reality.
But he was still shaken.
"HER? Seriously? ... WHAT KIND OF PLACE ARE YOU TAKING ME TO?"
"It's a salon."
"I'M NOT GOING."
And stupidly, I continued playing the rest of the message instead of pressing "7" for delete.
"And just a reminder, after your cut, we have technicians available for waxing or makeup touch ups."
"OH, GREAT!" Jer said. "I CAN GET MY MAKEUP APPLIED FOR THE DAY. PERFECT."
Before I could stop laughing and explain that it's not just for women, he continued.
"No, wait, I'll sign up for a wax job. They'll LOVE me. ... WAX MY HAIRY BALLSACK PLEASE!"
I didn't hear the end of it for the rest of the day. In fact, it continued right up until we sat down next to each other in the ultra modern glass and chrome waiting area chairs and he started flipping through a Bumble & Bumble product catalogue, scoffing at the effeminate-looking men wearing lipstick and skintight pants.
"If they make my hair look like that, I'm going to kill myself."
Relief came when Jordan introduced herself and invited me to follow her back to her cutting station.
I pursed my lips in a kiss to Jer and wished him luck.
A little over an hour later, Jerry found his way over to where I was still getting my hair blown out. His cut looked amazing and he had no wiggle room for complaint.
But seeing my drastic change apparently made putting up with being called a woman and the androgynous waiting area fashion magazines a nonissue.
Jordan razored about 10 inches off my formerly mangy overgrown look into a chic little bob.
Jerry's eyes bulged out of his head and he said he'd meet me in the car.
So, thankfully, he wasn't around to hear my conversation with the owner of the salon when I checked out.
"Wow! What a huge change," she said. "It looks great."
"Love is not the word," I said, running my fingers through what little is left on top of my head.
Noting that we were new customers, albeit from out of state, she still pressed for some return business.
"Well, your brother loved his cut, too. So maybe you'll come back?"
I just chuckled.
"He's my husband," I said.
And resisted the urge to add: "And since he didn't hear that, maybe."