August 15, 2004

Locks of Love

Enrique, my stylist, has a severe cocaine problem. I know because he constantly tweaks and rubs his nose. Also, he disappears to the bathroom every five seconds, leaving me there exposed in his torture chair with (God-forbid) my mid-coif melon exposed to the world.

I honestly do not know why I spend thousands of dollars on hair styling, scalp massage, eyebrow waxing, coloring and organic avocuava facials only so this little Puerto Rican princess can snort my cash up his goddamned nose!

You’re asking what’s avocuava, aren’t you? Well, one afternoon, little Enrique comes flitting back to the chair as chatty as a chihuahua, “Oh Meester Gayest Neil. In my island country of Puerto Rico my grand mami-Gorda teach me a wahnderful facial scrup made from exotic guava and wahnderful avocado. You like to try, si?”

“Stop snorting and start scrubbing!” I declared. That little Mexican mixed an amazing facial scrub. What? Puerto Rico? Oh, for fuck’s sake. Brown is Black is White is Red. Puerto Rico? Mexico? Canada? Holland? China? We’re all global citizens. We’re the world’s children. Back to my story, I asked Enrique what he calls his facial scrub and he replied, “This is my Mami Gorda’s Guava and Avocado Facial Scrub.”


“You’ll never sell it with a name that long, my dear. You need something catchy. You need something fresh. Let’s see. I GOT IT! Avocuava. Call it Avocuava Facial Scrub.”

“But Meester Gayest Neil? What of me grand-Mami Gorda?”

“You love her but drop her, Enrique. Your scrub needs something nouveau, something the hipsters will snag right up. And slap ‘organic’ on that name! Organic sells.”

And right there, Enrique’s Organic Avocuava Facial Scrub was born. Bless little Enrique’s heart. The little fucker cannot say the word avocuava, but he sells the shit out of it.

Enough discussion of Enrique’s business acumen. This morning he still hadn’t returned from the bathroom.

“Enrique!” I screamed once, twice, three times and finally he comes spinning into the room. And he’s been crying.

“Oh Meester Gayest Neil. I do not know English to say theese.” He begins crying again. “But my dear seester and my in-law brother and my bambino nephew Enrique Junior were in a cahr crash and have died!!” At this point Enrique collapsed into a heap on the floor.

I didn’t know what to do. My haircut wasn’t finished. Should I get up? Should I say something? Well, he continued to wail on the floor and after what must have been ten minutes of this awkwardness, I finally left the chair, took the plastic sheet off and moved towards poor, sobbing Enrique.

His face was contorted in an expression of grief, anger and bewilderment. I carefully reached out to him. His shaking hand stretched towards mine.

“Enrique, you didn’t finish my hair, but I’ll pay you anyways. And here’s an extra something.” I slipped him cash for my haircut and stood. He dropped the money and convulsed, wailing louder than before.

“Now don’t you get used to those big tips!” I joked, but he only cried more profusely. I quietly showed myself out and, a newspaper over my head, made my way to the nearest Great Clips where a barbarian maiden with the nametag “Jackie” mangled my head and nearly cut my ear off. The entire time, I couldn’t get Enrique out of my mind.

On the walk home, I held my head high. I imagined Enrique’s pain. I related on some level as my shorn locks were much like Enrique’s dead family. I too had experienced loss. What if his sister had spent a little more time pounding homemade tortillas or little Enrique Junior had spent a little more time writing back to his Christian Children’s Fund sponsor here in America? Fate too crippled my stylist, which in turn sent me to Great Clips. Who knows what happened to “Jackie”.

It’s the butterfly effect. Ah…maybe butterflect? Fectutter?

Regardless, Enrique Santiago Martinez is in my thoughts tonight. This afternoon, when I returned to my 2800-square foot loft in Chelsea, I opened the salon window. It was magic hour; the golden sunlight was shining in a beautiful shaft cutting through a cloud.

I drew my hand back through my shorn scalp, brought it in front of me and blew towards the sunshine. A shimmering cloud of miniscule shaved hairs sparkled like pixies, floated and danced to the street below. I squinted into the light. I saw Enrique’s family.

And they were safe.

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