“Shear Genius” mini-cap: cutting and crying


It’s a new dawn in the Shear Genius kitchen, and Nicole is up and at ‘em first, meaning she is privy to the morning’s Tyra Mail before everyone else. It is a bowl of numbered flip-flops, from which she plucks the pair labeled “3” and giggles inexplicably that she’ll pick first and not tell anyone. It’s a weird strategy. I mean, if you found a sack of lottery tickets intended for you and your friends, and you picked first from the pile, it might be nice, but it’s not necessarily what I’d call an advantage.

The flip-flops lead the stylists to the beach where Jaclyn welcomes them with a half-hearted, “Surf’s up, everyone!” And Paulo awesomely responds, “Cowabunga!”

She singles out Charlie, asking him how it felt to be in the bottom three last week. He smiles.

“It’s always nice to see how the other half lives,” he says, and Jaclyn full-on belly laughs.

Today’s shortcut challenge is to cut and style hair without the benefit of washing, so up from ocean come some surfer boys in wetsuits. While the straight women and gay men “ooh” and “aah,” Dee takes a moment to let us in on her strategy for the day: “My strategy going into this challenge is to kick some motherf—–g ass,” she says. OK, then!

In his interview, Daniel snipes that Nicole is going to struggle with the challenge because she’s a little green. (Meaning “rookie” in this context, I’m assuming, not “earth-friendly.”)

Nicole interviews: “I heard Daniel and Glenn talking s–t about me. I wish they’d just leave me the f–k alone.”

Paulo, however, shows little discretion in his choice of rivalries. “I hope the others f–k it all up,” he interviews.

I should mention that it’s not a very pretty day at the beach. It’s overcast and windy, and everyone is bundled up. Each stylist interviews that he or she has the edge because he or she is awesome and also because his or her individual surfer is hot. There is no end to the befuddling nature of reality television logic. Jaclyn calls time, and the stylists line up with their contestants. Jaclyn’s hair, by the way, looks lovely. In this particular weather condition, mine would look like Monica’s in Barbados.

Dee’s and Glenn’s models are identical twins, and Dee’s model’s hair looks way better. The judge says Glenn’s model looks too feminine, but Glenn interviews: “[The judge] thought he looked like a girl, which is funny. He has four inch eyebrows and a beard. None of my girlfriends look like that.” Touché, Glenn! You are growing on me.

Daniel’s model has longish hair, but when Daniel cuts it back — whoa, boy! — that fella has some ears. The guest judge says it much more diplomatically than I: “The proportion of the face doesn’t work for the texture of the hair.” You can say that again.

Nicole and Dee are the top two for the shortcut challenge. Nicole wins, and when Jaclyn tells her she’ll have an advantage in the next challenge, Nicole turns to the other stylists and says, “What are y’all gonna buy me, huh?”

Um, I am going to buy you a smack-talking manual, honey, because that was very lame.

The next morning at the Shear Genius salon Rene “hi-hi”s everyone, and asks them if they are ready to meet some people who can really use their help. The models walk out and each of them pulls off a wig to reveal a perfectly bald head.

I was thinking chemotherapy patients, but these women have alopecia, which one of them explains is an auto-immune disorder that keeps their hair from growing. There is no known cause or treatment, so the stylists are going to be cutting wigs for these ladies.

While everyone gets to work selecting and cutting wigs, Charlie trashes Nicole in an interview. Paulo and I are too busy crying crocodile tears to notice, however. “Middle school is hard,” his client says, as he fits a reddish wig onto her perfect, perfect head.

“Paulo, why are you crying?” Rene asks.

“These women,” he says.” They’re brave, they’re strong, they’re courageous. They’re pretty f—–g amazing.”

Nicole’s client hasn’t worn hair in 12 years, and when Nicole realizes that the wig isn’t turning out well, she panics. Her client starts to cry and when Nicole asks why, the beautiful woman says: “I just — I know this is an important experience for you.”

And that’s when I start sobbing in earnest.

Nicole does, too. “I don’t care,” she says honestly, about the competition or her cry-face or any of the bullshit in life that isn’t giving this woman a style she will love. “There are more important things than this competition.”

Rene comes over to offer advice, and then he gives Nicole a big ol’ hug.

At the hair show, Paulo’s model and Nicole’s model, especially, are flat-out rocking their new styles. They look confident and stunning, and when Kim Vo asks Nicole’s client to let them know if it’s true that blondes have more fun, she says, “I know Alana’s gonna have more fun!” My heart just grew three sizes just looking at Alana’s smile.

Paulo and Nicole are, unsurprisingly, the top two, with Paulo taking home Shear Genius honors for the day. And just when I am starting to feel completely overwhelmed by the grace of humanity, Paulo starts that Ace Ventura air humping thing, like “How—do—you—like—me—now!” (Not very much.)

Gail has made her final cut. She tearfully thanks the judges for the opportunity, saying, “It has been a dream come true. It’s been an honor to be here, and I’m full of such joy.”

I love graceful people. Gail, call me. Paulo, learn some manners. You’re a funny guy, but that made you look like a fool.

Next week: More styling! More tears! More Nexxus product placement! Oh, how I hope the Direct TV people have fixed my lightning-blitzed television by then!

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