I don’t know about all of you but a Good Hair Day just puts a spring in my step. I am confident that I am the only person that even notices my Good Hair Day but it makes me feel like I can take on the world. What is it about hair that can make or break how you feel? It is hard for me to imagine men caring so much about their hair.
My natural hair is very curly as in Sarah Jessica Parker Season One of Sex in the City curly. I have always had to beat my hair into submission with round brushes and hot appliances. It’s all in the cut and length. The biggest complaint I have about my hair is it is never long when the style is to wear it long. I will spend a year growing my hair and by the time it is long enough, the style has switched to cutting it all off like Victoria Beckham did a few years ago when she had the short bob. Just as I got the bob going, she gets hair extensions and goes long again. I have to admit if I were a celebrity and a fashion icon I would go long too just as soon as a housewife in Tennessee got the same look.
My age and wisdom has taught a few truths about my hair and the rules I have to go by. Number One, I have learned that male stylists are not my friends. Just as soon as they find out that I am a mom of four kids they start thinking, “Mom of four, she needs a wash and wear, low maintenance ‘do.” My experience has taught me that the phrase “Mom of Four” ain’t sexy. It feels good emotionally because I love my kids but it does not inspire hair artists to give me a bombshell look. So I have had to cull the herd to female stylists.
Now that I have eliminated male stylists that leaves female stylists. I remember when I was 8 1/2 months pregnant with child Number 3, I tried a new stylist at a salon new to me. The stylist looked about 20 years old. I told her I needed a fresh style and good trim/shape. She stepped back, put her chin in her hand, and repeated the sound, Hmmm, repeatedly, while shifting her weight side to side. I was 34 years old but she made me feel like I was 84. I remember sitting in that chair while she pondered, what on Earth am I going to do to this woman’s hair to make her look better? I thought, OMG! Am I that far gone and have I aimed too high to think that it was possible for me to be attractive. She talked me into getting a short cut. It was 1994 and I left there with big bouffy hair on top and short layers tapered in the back. It was also cut short around my ears. I left that salon hating myself and her. I had gained about 45 pounds in this pregnancy and on a 5’3″ frame my body and my head were grossly out of proportion. Note to self, Never get your hair cut off while you are pregnant. You will hate yourself. Now all of you reading this have been warned by me that you will hate yourself, too. It is the hormones screwing up your brain and making you think a new style will make you look less pregnant/fat. You’re welcome. BTDubbs, I got my hair cut off short while pregnant with Number 2, so I apparently cannot be trusted to make Big Decisions about my hair while pregnant.
Which leads me to Pregnancy Number 4. I remembered my new hair rule about a drastic hair change while pregnant. So that was good. What I failed to realize was my brain doesn’t work well in the post-partum period either. Stupid hormones. I got the idea that I needed some blonde highlights when my new baby girl was 8 weeks old. She was set to have an Infant Baptism. The day before, on a Saturday, I woke up to the idea that I would call MawMaws’s Cut and Curl in our one traffic light town to get that done. Normally, I would drive to a larger town 30 minutes away for my Hair-capades. However, with a new nursing baby, I knew that I didn’t have time to do all of that driving, get my hair glammed up, and get home in time to nurse her. So off to MawMaw’s Cut and Curl I went. My first clue that this was a Bad Idea was when the stylist, and I use the term stylist loosely, brought out the frosting cap. I should have feigned an urgent and immediate illness and waddled out of there. I had been getting foiled highlights for the previous 10 years so this method was seriously outdated. In fairness, MawMaw was outdated, too. Oh my word. After one and a half painful, crochet hook, and straight-up bleach hours later, she shampooed me. We head back to the chair with a towel on my head. The Big Reveal showed the yellowest, driest, hair you have ever seen. She dried my hair and my hair could not have looked more like a scarecrow if I had purposely dressed up to be in the Wizard of Oz. Lesson Number 2 or 3, I can’t remember, Never let anyone three decades older than you cut, color, or comb your hair. I literally hated myself when I left there. I couldn’t even run a brush through that hay.
So what did I do? Well, a couple of weeks later, I let my hormones do the thinking again. I went to a man and let him cut my hair into a Pixie Cut! Well, curly hair cut into a Pixie Cut was not a good idea to say the least. I broke rules Number One, Two, and Three yet again. But my hair was so damaged from the bleach that cutting it to the scalp was pretty much the only option.
My last horrible lesson in Big Decisions regarding my hair was about 10 years ago. My hair was shoulder length. It was May in Tennessee. It was hot and humid. I had been out of town for the previous five days with one of my sons for a tennis tournament. After five days of sitting outside, humidity, sun, and exhaustion, my hair was on my nerves. I woke up the next day, called a salon that was considered to be upscale, and made an appointment. Once again, ignoring all common sense and discernment, I sat down in the chair of a 30 -something year old woman who looked as if her hair was shaved off. It was a bit of a shock but instead of thinking this was weird, I thought, well, maybe she has been getting treatment for cancer and her hair is growing back. I asked her for ideas regarding my hair. I said, “You just do whatever you think will look good.” Lesson Number Four. Do not, for any reason whatsoever, say this to a woman who has, as it turns out, purposely shaved her own hair off solely because she is unstable or on drugs or both. I also should have picked up on her instability when she told me that I had a violet aura. Sigh. When will I ever learn? I went in there with shoulder length hair and I left there with a hair shape that can only be described as I looked as if I had swallowed a football. My chin was one tapered end of the pointy football and my crown was the other end. I left there, got in my car, and cried all the way home. The next day, I was in Marshall’s. I ran into the esthetician who works at that salon. She literally did a cartoon-like double take and said my name with a question mark. She said that she did not even recognize me. I told her that I had let Tonia cut my hair and she said, “Oh, she’s crazy. Never, ever let her cut your hair.” It was official. I looked THAT bad. I made an appointment for the next day with the stylist who cuts my kids’ hair and asked her to do something. She did what she could. Kinda like you would do if your preschooler got ahold of the sewing scissors. I have been going to her for the past 10 years now with the exception of perhaps five haircuts where I directed a substitute stylist with exactly what I wanted. I look fine and have the occasional Good Hair Day.
I guess the deal with a woman and her hair is perhaps she feels a little bit in a rut. Maybe she feels like she needs a little excitement in her life. That’s when she gets the idea that she needs a change and getting a haircut is easier, faster gratification than losing weight or some other thing that needs changing in her life. Oh, I KNOW the anticipation and excitement you feel when you take in a picture from a magazine and show it to your stylist. Give me the Jennifer Lawrence haircut. Or the Kelly Ripa cut would be great too. I leave wondering why there was a communication gap and then realize oh, yeah, I am not Jennifer or Kelly.
If I can share one take-a-way with you it is do not get your hair cut or colored or permed or whatever else you dream up when you are hormonal or emotionally unstable. There is a reason they do not let insane people have sharp objects in the asylum. Go eat some carbs instead and even-out your crazy. Remember that I have warned you here.
Ta Ta. Kiss. Kiss.
She writes about life, death, grief, and recovery.