Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Why Are You Sad, William Franken, Even On This, The Holiest Of Days?

Well, I'm in San Francisco to do some shows, but I came in early to do another show last night. So my hotel isn't ready until Thursday. But this nice family, a friend of a friend, is putting me up until then. So when I got here from the airport, I was all jet-lagged and sad. Then I go to this really nice house and there's a husband and a wife and a son and a beautiful greyhound dog and they were all so nice and look so happy and content with their lives that sometimes I wonder about the choices I've made in this life. Maybe things could have gone differently, I suppose. Maybe I could have had a nice family and a nice house and a nice dog if I had just followed some other path.

This was my state of mind a few hours after arriving.

Also, I tend to get very horny up in the air. Especially when I'm sitting next to a cute chick. If she's curled up in a blanket and sleeping and turns off the light above, I fantasize that we're in bed together and she's going to sleep and I'm staying up to read.

When she wakes up, usually around landing time, I have to resist the urge to say, "good morning, honey!". So on Sunday, this girl next to me on the plane wakes up as we begin our initial descent--she had been sleeping throughout the entire flight. She even had on one of those fancy eye covering things. (What are those things called, by the way?)

As soon as the plane heads in for final approach, she scrambles through her purse and starts furiously putting on makeup. I swear, it was like she was two different people! For five hours, she was snuggling under a blanket while I watched some shitty pre-selected Richard Gere movie and wondered what her name was and if she was dreaming about how cute I am. Then the moment we touch down, she's ready to hit the town with somebody else! The nerve!

By the time I made it out of the terminal to grab a cigarette, I had forgotten all about her. And then--wham!--she walks right past me and embraces this gelled blonde guy and they drive off together in his Porsche.

So I get the snoozing girl in the Continental Airlines blanket and he gets the rouged Renoir. Didn't she know we had a relationship in my head?

Also, I got a haircut Saturday in Jersey City. It was at one of those annoyingly trendy places called Balance. A sign outside read:


So I went in and talked to a group of very beautiful girls and asked them how valid the offer was and if they could absolutely guarantee that I was going to get laid via one of their haircuts.

"Oh, yes!" they said with girlish glee.

"Should I cut it all off? Will that get me laid? I ask, because the last time I remember getting laid with any frequency, my hair was a bit shorter."

"Hmm," said Christina, the girl at the appointments desk, "I don't think you should cut it short."

"No," said Sasha, one of the stylists, "definitely keep the length. You just need to give it some shape."

"Yeah? And you think if you girls give it some shape, that'll get me laid?"

"Oh, definitely," said Sasha. "Long hair is sexy. You just need to give it shape. Right now you've just got a big triangle."

"Well, a triangle's a shape, isn't it?" I asked.

"It is, but it's not a good one."

"How much is it for a haircut?"

"45 dollars," said Sasha

Jesus Christ, I thought as I took the Lord's name in vain. "And I'll really get laid if I do this?"

"Definitely!" they all squealed in unison.

I asked for some time to think it over. The price was steep, but the idea was stimulating. I could pay a girl forty-five dollars to play with my hair while I talked to her about wanting sex. Cheaper than a prostitute and virtually no risk of disease. Two minutes after leaving, I pulled out my cell phone and called the number on the card they had given me.

"Hi, this is Will. We met about two minutes ago. I don't know if you remember me or not. I was the guy that wanted to get laid."

"Yes, I remember," said Christina.

"Well, I think I want to do this. Can I have a five o' clock appointment?"


"And, uh. . ." I cleared my throat and said in a hushed tone, "will Sasha be the one cutting my hair?"

"Yes," said Christina.

"Good. . .I like Sasha. And. . .uh. . .how does it work? I just bring the money when I come in?"

"Yes, that'll be fine."

I had three hours to kill before my date with Sasha, so I went home and did the laundry, had a nice shower and a shave, put on some deodorant and some nice clean clothes. I wanted to look good for my haircut.

When I arrived at five o' clock on the dot, I was really nervous. That's how I always am with women. When I first meet them, I'm okay. I can tell jokes, flirt, be confident, the whole ball of wax. It's just when I have to see them a second time that things get all fucked up.

That's when I start to worry about whether or not I'm repeating jokes or if she's had enough time to think about what a repulsive human being I am.

So I was much more subdued when I saw Sasha the second time. I stood sheepishly at the counter, waiting for her to appear.

"Hey!" she said, springing up behind me on those bouncy girl's feet.

"Oh, hi Sasha. . .(gulp!). . .h-h-how are you?"

"Are you ready for your shampoo?"

"You bet!" I said, my pulse starting to quicken, my throat starting to dry, "let's do it. W-W-Where should we go? How does this work?"

"Jason's going to take care of you right over here."

I furrowed my brow. "Jason? What do you mean, Jason?"

She led me to a chair that was being manned by a slender mulatto man with a very large afro and a purple keffiyah. "Hi, I'm Jason!" he said in a well-honed camp.

I turned to Sasha with a fierce whisper, "What's all this about?"

"Jason's going to do your shampoo."

"But you're cutting it, right?"

There was a look of fear in her eyes. "Yes. . .I am."

"I mean, that was the deal, right? I give you the money and you cut my hair?"

"Yes, I'll cut your hair. Don't worry. . .I'll cut your hair."

"Cause I don't want a haircut that's going to get me laid by men. That wasn't the arrangement. I want women, you understand? Lots of 'em. Young, supple. Lithe. . .slippery. . .drippy. . .bendable. . ."

She started to slowly back away. "Yes. . .I'm. . .j-j-just going to get my station ready. . ."

"Keep the chair warm."

Jason took forever shampooing my hair. Honestly, it seemed it would never end. I started to think he was taking delight in torturing me--in keeping me away from Sasha as long as he could. I've washed my hair before and it's never taken that fucking long. It was almost like he was shampooing each hair individually.

When Jason finally released me and sent me over to Sasha, I felt completely emasculated. Here I was, approaching this extremely attractive woman whilst wearing a long plastic miu-miu with a towel for a scarf and a head of wet hair on a scalp that had just been recently massaged by a flaming mulatto Palestinian sympathizer.

I'm sure that was all part of the Sasha's little plan. Take a big strong man like me and try to humiliate him with a queer shampooing. She's probably a goddamn dominatrix in her off-hours. Cooze.

Yeah, I had a grudge, all right. So much so that when I finally sat down at Sasha's chair, I didn't even know where to begin with the small talk. I was downright fuming. So I just picked up from where I had left off earlier.

"So you really think you can get me laid with this haircut?"

"Definitely," said Sasha. Snip. Snip.

"And that's all it will take? Just a haircut? I won't need to change my personality or make tons of money or listen to horrible music in some fuckin' dance club?"

"Definitely," said Sasha. Snip. Snip.

"I'll just. . .get laid? Just like that, huh? Pretty nifty. So about how long do you think it'll take?"

"For the haircut?"asked Sasha. Snip. Snip.

"No, to get laid."

"I don't know. I guess it all depends," said Sasha. Snip. Snip.

I could tell she was losing interest in talking about me getting laid. So I tried to liven up the conversation by sermonizing on the death of romance and culture amidst the ideological wreckage of postmodernism. Snip. Snip.

I discussed C.S. Lewis' notion of the preexistence of a moral code to the universe and how that correlated to Immanuel Kant's conception of an innate morality existing within each individual human. Snip. Snip.

I touched briefly on Baruch Spinoza's model of the universe as an infinite and undefined substance from which particulars emerge in recognizable empirical paradigms. Snip. Snip.

Then I looked in the mirror to see what she was doing to my hair.

"This is going to get me laid?"I gasped.

"Yeah. You look like Eddie Vedder!"Snip. Snip.

"I think I look like Princess Leia!"

"Trust me. It looks good."Snip. Snip.

"It's all bouncy on the sides!"

"That's cause you've got curly hair."Snip. Snip.

"I thought I had wavy hair."

"No. You've got curly hair. This brings out the curls." Snip. Snip.

"I didn't have any curls!"

"Yeah you did."Snip. Snip.

"Nuh-uh. I had waves."

"Those were curls."Brush. Brush.

"I beg to differ. They were waves. Like short, choppy waves. After a jet ski goes by."

"That's what curls are."Spray. Spray.

"Excuse me, but whose fucking hair is this anyway? They were waves!"

"I have a degree in cosmetology and you have curls!"Blowdry. Blowdry.



We argued for a little bit longer about the difference between waves and curls. Then, despite the fact that I didn't even orgasm, I paid her the money and felt ashamed for being one of those creepy guys that has to actually pay for a haircut.

I called a friend later and told him what I had done and how I had been seduced by the sirens at Balance hair studio.

"You surprise me sometimes," said my friend, "you're such a sucker to commercial culture."

"Look, man," I said, "I've done the artist thing. Now it's time to grow up and face the facts. We live in a shallow world and I just want to get in on the ground floor."

So that's probably why I'm sad right now. Sometimes I want to get in on the ground floor and I get mad at myself--

--cause I know I never will.