Monday, December 6, 2010

Bad Hair Daze

Here's a topic most women (and a few of you guys, I suspect) can relate to: hair issues.

To say I have problem hair is like saying Osama bin Laden is a little nuts. Both fall under the heading of "understatement of the century."

My hair is baby fine and straight. It does not respond to perming, mousse, gels or sprays. I suspect nothing short of Crazy Glue would keep it in place for more than a few minutes. When I was a kid, Mom insisted upon having it permed. I suspect she wanted me to look like Shirley Temple, which was a waste of time in spite of Mom's best efforts. Now, if her objective had been Cousin Itt from The Addams Family, she might have had a shot....

Come to think of it, Itt's hair was thicker than mine. Sorry, Mom. 

For a while, as a teen, I embraced my hair's unwillingness to bend. I bleached it to a strawberry blonde (too many auburn highlights for platinum, my real peroxide dream) and wore it very long with a fringe of bangs. It nearly reached my waist and resembled overcooked spaghetti. No, scratch that. Even overcooked spaghetti has some bend to it.

It looked like a mop. A cheap mop.

By the time I went off to college and dorm life, I'd tired of being a blonde and dyed it back to its natural dark brown color. A few years out of college, I dyed it red. I was a published novelist by that time and matters of image were being pounded into my head. Red worked for me on so many levels. I was told--more than once--that I had a "redhead personality." Whatever that means.

Coloring was not a problem. Styling it, however, remained a constant source of irritation. Perms never turned out well. Either the hair went limp again or it looked fried. Once, it actually was fried. I had to wear a wig until it grew out enough so that I could have all the damaged hair cut off. 

I did manage a Farrah Fawcett-like mane for a while, but I had to get up an hour earlier just to do my hair. When Collin was born, that was no longer an option. I was still getting up early, but hair was low on my priority list then.

I have finally accepted the reality that in the ongoing war between me and my hair, the hair is winning. I stopped coloring it four years ago. I gave up on perms. I'm not handy with styling tools--the only thing I do well with a curling iron is burn myself. And I hate the feel of mousse, gel or hairspray. What I needed was a simple cut that needed little or no work. Wash and wear. Easy, right?

Nope. I went through over a year of bad cuts done by stylists who, for whatever reason, couldn't even understand what "short in the back, longer in the front" means, before finally getting the cut I wanted last week: cut close to the nape in back, a couple of inches longer in front (no, it's not a reverse mullet!), with a slight curve on the ends. 

The war is over! 

I'm not going to be asked to do shampoo ads, but I'm happy. The demon and I have finally achieved a truce. And fortunately for me, I love hats....


  1. The ongoing war between you and your hair? Well, if you're calling it a demon....

    Great blog!

  2. I've always called it demon hair. You should see the reaction I get from stylists when I tell them that.

  3. Ah Norma this is so cute. I haven't seen Tangled yet, but it sounds like you and Disney should talk.

  4. Stylists wash my demon hair in holy water.

  5. I can relate to your pain - both the dead straight hair and the "short in the back, longer in the front" dilemma. What is it about that statement that makes stylists unable to understand you? Anyway, grey hair solved my problems. Since my hair is now completely grey, it's thick and wavy and curls when it's humid. Crazy. The only problem now is that it's grey!

  6. I've always had stick-straight hair. I'd roll my eyes when women complained about their curly hair frizzing in the rain. I've had so many stylists tell me that with the right cut it would "move." No dice. Now I have the same haircut as you, and it moves somewhat. I'll take it!

  7. I'm glad I'm a guy. I just tie mine back.

  8. Mine's shaved off, so no problem at all.

    Except when I cut myself shaving.

  9. Bone straight here will curl, but I need a lot of product in my hair...

    My hair has only ever looked good once, and that was for the Glamour shots I had done many many years hasn't looked good since...


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