Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bad Hair Day - Everyday

I’m letting my hair down today. I ignored the curling iron so my bangs are not straight, but are curly cues with some strands sticking straight up in the air. So in addition to the curling iron, I avoid mirrors today. I have great hair but I have one, never learned how to work with it, and two, have never learned how to appreciate its naturalness.

I grew up in the Marcia Brady era; long, straight blonde hair was the ideal and I certainly didn’t qualify. With coarse, curly hair and hot, humid New York weather, I was prone to a mass of unruly hair that was, as a teenager, the bane of my existence. Curling irons and hot rollers were not part of my beauty arsenal so I used orange juice cans. With a rubber band I secured my hair atop my head, then rolled chunks of it around the can securing it with bobby pins. Sleeping was a challenge. In the morning after releasing my hair I winced in pain as my roots once again returned to their natural position. For a short time I enjoyed straight hair but as the day wore on the inevitable frizziness won out and I once again contended with hair that had a mind of its own.

High school graduation picture.  See how well the cans work?

In my twenties I discovered that permanent waves worked. You would think the perm would only make matters worse, but it actually tamed my hair.

I thought the perm was a good idea!

I don’t perm my hair anymore. It’s bad enough that I have to make regular appointments to cut and color.  I am not a maintenance person and I certainly don’t like what hair care costs these days. No, my routine is minimal; usually consisting of a scrunchy or clip. I’ll comb it out, use an iron to smooth the frizz and be done with it.

I wish I could be as talented as my daughter, Adrian, whose hair is much curlier than mine. She is an artist when it comes to hairstyles; she can shove bobby pins in her hair and it comes out looking spectacular. She also wears hats really well, a trend I'm trying on for size. 

My hair may drive me crazy but the truth is, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. The best thing I am finding about getting older is in learning to embrace the “real” me.

So today is a let-my-hair-be day. I just got back from Los Angeles. In the airport and on the plane I was getting all sorts of looks, all of which I interpreted as appreciative. Then I got home and checked myself in the mirror. Sure enough I looked like Cameron Diaz’s character in the film, What About Mary?”

My husband just asked if I'd like to go out for a while.  I guess in the interest of personal dignity I'll go plug in the curling iron. 


gaelikaa said...

I had a perm just like that!

Alix said...

I forgot we both had daughters named Adrian!

Now listen you... embrace that beautiful hair of yours and by all means, let the real you shine.

My best friend in high school had hair that rivaled a Brillo pad. She wore it almost shoulder lenghth (which was a huge mistake, but it was high school and the same Marcia Brady era, so...) and it was a frizzy pile of madness. If she had cut it short and let it do its thing, it would have been gorgeous, but since she wanted long straight hair, she would go through this routine at bedtime that both intrigued and terrified me. She would take a section of hair, brush it, and wrap it around her skull, bobbie-pinning as she went. Then she would repeat until all her hair was wrapped and pinned. She looked like a beehive on legs. Trust me. This ritual took hours. In the morning, she would unwrap and her hair would be semi-smooth for about five minutes and then nature would take over. My son is the same way. Has wavy hair, wants straight. Me? I just want hair, period. You may recall I started losing mine this year when I lost weight rapidly. The hair loss has stabilized and new hair is trying to grow in, but unfortunately it's rather puny, thin, and uninspired. I've decided to give up coloring and I'm going to cut it super pixie short and let the white come in and be done with it. From long dark to short white. Think anyone will recognize me? I've got my wig wardrobe just in case...

Sorry for babbling, but I loved this post and it brought out the hair memories.

Lisa Gioia-Acres said...

There's a part of my that wants to stop coloring, just to see what it would look like. But I still like my dark brown hair. Someday I know I'll give up to nature. Sometimes when I blow dry my hair I have the most incredible bush that rivals any member of the Black Panthers!

dle said...

We all wish what we were not born with...I have stick straight hair ala Marcia Brady...and yes I perm,curling iron everything to get a wave ...lasts about Florida the humidity is bad, but would it give my hair life...NO

Alan Burnett said...

Lovely post. My hair has a mind of its own and any attempt to tidy it or train it ends in disaster. I have learned to just let it follow its own path.

Christine Forest, M.D. said...

When I first went to my hair dresser, he told me that my haie should look good at any length and that we will find what works for my unruly locks. He did. I have stayed with him for over ten years and pray for his good health not moving out of LA. All I have to do is make regular appointment. But I often wait too long in between. I completely understand your struggle. Don't we all want something different than what we've goy when it comes to hair?

Vegas Linda Lou said...

Oh, sister, I will trade hair with you ANY day. I can relate to actress/comedian Molly Shannon, who said, "I was born with three hairs on my head and I've spent my entire life trying to make them look like five." Your hair is gorgeous.

Vegas Linda Lou said...

P.S. I rest my case on why the 80s was the most God-awful decade ever. I'll take the Marcia Brady look any day.