Washington mornings on the Metro. Every day, the same. Company Men and Women in anonymous suits and sensible shoes. Maybe a particularly daring twentysomething guy will have floppy yet noncontroversial hair, a la Jim Halpert. The tired souls coming off a night shift might sprawl across two seats as they rest greasy heads against smudged windows, trying to catch a nap as they barrel out to the suburbs while dropping off commuters downtown.
Everyone stares vacantly and intently at nothing. IPod buds jam into the younger ears, while several middle-aged black women bend over worn copies of the New Testament, diligently taking notes in the margins. A girl in too-tight pegged jeans with purple beads clacking at the ends of her braids picks up a discarded copy of the paper from under her sneakered foot, scans the headlines and tosses it back to the floor.
Every day, the same.
Portly white gentleman outside Union Station who looks exactly like family friend Harry? Check.
WaPo Express barker, full of smiles even though it's a rainy Monday morning and his job is to hand papers to an endless stream of grumpy, scowling people? Check.
FeMullet Lady? Um, hello. That's new!
She has the most spectacular example of a femullet I've ever seen outside of the Midwest, and without the typical accompanying overalls, gaping maw full of Skoal and four rugrats clinging to her. Her blondish hair flows halfway down her back, but as the viewer's eyes travel up her mane they are abruptly assaulted by the sudden crop into a spiky two-inch buzz cut that begins at her crown. From this back view, it looks like Senator-elect Tester started playing with Jessica Simpson's line of hair extensions but got bored after the first round of gluing and went outside to butcher a cow.
She looks like any other middle-aged, white, petite, somewhat meek downtown Washington worker. Maybe a bank teller or a paralegal. Except for that glorious hair.
I'm overjoyed when she sits down beside me at Metro Center and I can get a closer look. She appears to be wearing slightly smudged brown eye shadow and has painted her fingernails a tasteful (if slightly dated) shade of dusty pink. She's wearing white sneakers with her black pantsuit, but in Washington that is less a crime against fashion than a sadly expected norm. She's also sporting a gold circle on her left ring finger.
In other words, FeMullet appears to pay attention to her appearance and take pains to make herself look good. She apparently has a partner (I'm guessing a husband, though the hair could be throwing off my Gaydar) that she wants to impress. She works in downtown DC, not downtown Duluth.
So.. how?? How did this hair happen? What inspired this woman to wake up one day and say "Mullets. That's where the future lies." Did she lose a bet? Is it a medical condition? Why does the rest of her look so normal while from the neck up she looks like she wandered out of an Evangelical Hoedown for Christ Weekend Retreat?
Before I can think of more questions, we lurch to a halt at our mutual station and she stands up to gather her purse and umbrella. As she turns to the door, her underlayers flap ever so gently in the ensuing breeze.
And I have to bite my lip from telling her "thank you for not being like everyone else in this town."