Sunday, August 5, 2007

Goodbye to Tennessee

Her name is Lee, but I call her Tennessee, after her birthplace. She’s a tattooed soft butch with dyed black hair with just enough grease for a little poof to stand up in the front. Her voice has just a touch a soft Southern twang.

She’s my hairdresser and I’m still not over the fact that she’s leaving me. I remember the day that I met her. I brought my nephew into her shop for a cut. As soon as I saw her, I knew she was the one for me. I sat my nephew with the cute straight girl and landed right in Lee’s chair.

She was nothing like the last phoofy dyke who cut my hair. No hair washing. No hand massage. Just a towel around my neck, a bib and a sweet southern smile. She worked at a barbershop, but unlike some, she didn’t just pull out the clippers and ask, “Two or four?” No, Lee’s an artist. She snips and shapes by hand, suggesting and stopping every so often to admire her work.

“I want to look like a dyke,” I said, “But not be called sir.” She laughed, but she knew exactly what I meant. And she gave it to me. Every month for a year. Whenever I would show up at her place, there’d be a line. While the other chairs sat empty, stylists manicuring their own hands, people lined up for Lee’s special touch. I made it a point to always bring something to keep me busy during the wait. No matter how long, it was always worth it. Under Lee’s precise hands, I haven’t had a bad hair day in a year.

But now she’s gone. She’s heading back to the South to open her own shop. So, if you’re ever in Chapel Hill, NC, head over to the university section and look for a shop called Jackson’s. Ask for Lee. Tell her Dipstick sent you and that she is missed.

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