“I’ll take your laundry down,” Yasmine offered.
“No.” Laken shook her head.
“Okay, I’ll take your laundry down for a week,” Yasmine pleaded. Laken appeared to be mulling this over.
Days before the haircut, the bargaining would begin. Laken knew that for reasons unbeknownst to everyone but Yasmine, that Yasmine couldn’t stand it if they didn’t have the same haircut—and Laken happened to be born with superior skills in negotiation. Often savvy enough to choose the opposite explicitly to achieve her own objective. If Yasmine wanted her hair shorter, Laken said longer, if Yasmine said longer…
“People won’t know we’re twins.” Yasmine would plea.
Because I’m sure a few inches of hair would disguise the fact that they looked pretty much alike in every other way. Though adorable, I’d never been able to fathom their fixation with the matching hairdo, since they’d resisted dressing alike since they were about a year old. The only exception for identical attire was April Fools Day; and any other time they chose to use their mirror images to deceive some unsuspecting person— Although their barely contained mirth at the private hilarity of their ploy generally altered the victim to their deceptive scheme.
“I want to let it grow.” Laken ran her fingers through her hair. “Unless…”
Yasmine perked up. “What?”
“You give me all the gum you have, as well do my laundry hamper for a week…”
“Okay, who’s first?” The hairdresser asked.
“Yasmine said she’d go first.” Laken blurted.
This was news. Laken always went first. Yasmine appeared uncomfortable in this sudden change in her accustomed role. Although one narrowed glance from Laken confirmed if she didn’t go first, it was a deal breaker. Yasmine reluctantly went only to view her sister emerging second with a smirk and an intentionally shorter haircut—after already enjoying the fruits of her negotiation prior to the promised ‘identical-doo’.
The hairdresser shrugged at my look of dismay, but I knew full well the wailing and warfare I’d be forced to endure over a mere two inches of hair. Trying to explain what seemed such a trivial matter, but I’d found years of refereeing and choosing the path of least resistance was essential to maintaining any peace of mind.
Although soon enough I determined the rationale for the role reversal…
“I want to see how it’s going to look first, before I get mine done!” Laken insisted.
For a singleton, I’d been thrilled with a computer program designed to give me an idea of what a future haircut or color would look like. Hours of labor in the quest to avoid a potentially horrific hairdo that could take months to years to grow out by uploading personal photos, searching hundreds of featured styles and determining which facial shape goes best with which cut. All eventually producing a poorly scanned photo of me supposedly resembling how I would look if choosing this style.
That is, if I was a playschool person and had hair resembling play dough in texture and color directly out of a crayon box.
So although frustrated at the deception Laken had employed using her sister as the means to an end, I had to admire her brilliance. I could only envision how different my life may have turned out if I’d had my own ‘hairdo guinea pig’ to assist me in avoiding the horrific haircut I’d endured in sixth grade by an elderly stylist who either couldn’t understand what the new-fangled concept of ‘layers’ was in the 1980’s or felt I was better suited to a mullet— that made me discover just how uncomfortable I was with my ears and forced me to sport turtlenecks or a turned up collar for months…