Monday, July 8, 2013

Sometimes It’s the Little Things—the Shallow, Ridiculous, Little Things

Can we talk about my hair for a minute? Because I really need to talk about my hair.

Growing up, I had very straight hair. My hair was SO straight, in fact, that when I tried to perm it (as every dumb young teen born in the ’70s did), it never held the curl very well. My hair had a hard time holding braids or curl from curling irons. My hair wouldn’t cooperate with teasing to make my bangs stick up (as every dumb young teen born in the ’70s did) nor would they “train” to sweep to one side or the other.

My hair was straight. Straight, straight, straight.

Then I had kids.

With every child—or maybe it was just every year—my hair seemed to get curlier.

See? Curly.
It’s hard to tell in these not-so-flattering-or-high-quality photographs, but very few people actually take photos of me, so they’re the best I could do. If someone had a photo of the back of my head, you would agree that my hair fell somewhere between very wavy and lightly curly.

I was mad as hell about it too. I had finally seen the joy of straight hair and I was distraught that it had been taken from me. It is the single thing that I am angriest at my kids about. And they’ve broken a lot of my stuff, so that’s saying something.

I inquired at hair salons over the years about various straightening techniques, but no one seemed to think it would work on my hair or the techniques cost $500 and lasted for three months, which was a higher percentage of my family’s yearly income than I was willing to spend on my hair.

I tried to embrace the curls.

Embracing said curls would have been easier had I had better curls. A mix between very wavy and lightly curly isn’t awesome, especially when the hair at the very front of my head, which would probably be my bangs if I had them, was actually mostly straight. (Which is similar to “mostly dead,” but worse.)

I got to thinking about hair straightening again last fall when a friend of mine was posting on Facebook whilst getting a Japanese hair straightening treatment. This is something that she regularly has done. I have seen her hair and it is really pretty. Naturally, I was intrigued.

In addition to re-piquing my interest, she had a guy. This guy would do the straightening for $300 and claimed that it lasted six months.

I did some quick calculations in my head and determined that if I eliminated things like the vegetables I put in front of my kids and then threw away, I would feel comfortable spending $600 annually so that I could feel content about the state of my head again.

I had to drive to Virginia the day after the last presidential election (I remember, because most of the people who wandered through that shop—which was basically a strip mall barber shop but for the amazing guy working on me —were NOT pleased with the election results), but it was worth it. My hair was soft. My hair was beautiful. My hair was straight.

I spent the next several days executing dramatic hair flips whenever possible.

I also spent the next several days not washing my hair or putting it in a ponytail, which made the hair flips less pleasant than they could have been, but MY HAIR WAS STRAIGHT SO WHO CARES?
The first time I washed it, I was afraid that the curls would spring back. The first time I put it in a ponytail, I worried that I would be left with a permanent ponytail elastic bump. After three months, I started to look for signs of returning waves.

Every time, my hair stayed straight.

Eventually six months passed and my hair was still straight. I thought about making an appointment for a touch-up, but that seemed absurd, considering that MY HAIR WAS STRAIGHT.

Through all of this, my hair was getting longer and longer. When I got it cut a couple of weeks ago, I was worried that the removal of the weight of all the hair that I left at the salon would allow latent curls to spring back up.

(I was also worried that the change in my hair would alert my stylist to the fact that I’d cheated on her, but when you only show up every 9-12 months, evidently stylists don’t remember your hair texture.)

You guys. It has been eight months—NovemberDecemberJanuaryFebruary MarchAprilMayJune—eight solid months.

This was my hair this afternoon after I washed it, wet-combed it, and let it air dry:

Ironically, all the worry about my hair has given me gray hair.*
People. My hair has been scared straight.

I have no idea what kind of voodoo that guy in Virginia did to my hair follicles, but they produce straight hair now. For all I know, there is a painting of me hanging in an attic over that hair salon and its hair curls more every day. I don’t care.

I know that one day I will wake up and some terrible hair tragedy will have befallen me (Perma-frizz? Curly roots? A comb-over? Bangs?) but that’s cool. Because it will have been worth it.

Also, I completely accept my shallowness (shallowosity?) in re: the hair issue. That’s okay. Sometimes it’s okay to be shallow.

* That is a lie. I have had that streak of gray hair since 1997. Lucky me.

Edited to add: This is the guy: His name is Jian. He is my favorite person.

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