In the 71.4% of my life that I've spend outside of the U.S. (where my only passport is from), I have had a lot of haircuts. There was the hairdresser in New Delhi who made is possible for me to be mistaken for a boy for almost a year. There was the hairdresser in Egypt who cut my chin-length bob so asymmetrically that my mother allowed me to skip school while she called a retired hairdresser friend. There was the hairdresser in Arusha who almost gave me a mullet as I was talking on my cellphone.
Given that historically I've lived in countries where "straight" or "white" hair is an anomaly, I have to be prepared for situations like these and handle myself appropriately--ideally, even maturely. Instead, I don't let anyone cut my hair. I have been in Liberia eight months, my hair growing to the length of a Victorian spinster, sticking faithfully to this rule.
Finally, I became too hot, my hair became too straggly to do anything but ponytail (see recent photos for proof), and I began to cave. Enter Adi, a Thai man who cooks, massages and cuts hair in Liberia. Adi came over on time without getting lost, pulled a plastic chair onto the balcony, and after agreeing that my hair had suffered from so much sun and sea, began clipping.
Adi began clipping very, very fast while talking to me about cooking Thai food and getting me to teach yoga at UNMIL. I no longer felt hair on my back or neck and told myself, "This is either going to be really bad or really good." Which ones of those was, at that point, out of my control.
I lucked out. Now I have wispy, wavy locks liberated from weightiness. I keep turning my head back and forth. I will not tempt fate by letting anyone else cut my hair here, but I'm glad I took the chance.