Monday, December 6, 2010

Mane Issue

One hundred years ago, when I was in my twenties, I used to look at old women (you know, those in their 40's and 50's) and feel pity for them, for just one reason.  So many of them seemed to have followed along with the hair trends of the times for awhile, keeping up with the popular hairstyles.  Then, they hit an era and just stopped trying.   They just appeared to quit, from my young perspective.

They kept up with the beehives of the sixties and the hippie, straight, middle-parts of the seventies.  But when the big, full, teased-bang look of the the eighties hit, they gave up.  Back they went to their set-and-bonnet-dryer look, comfortable once again, uncaring that they were committing the most egregious of fashion faux pas. I'd gaze upon these poor, clueless women, shaking my big haired, Madonna-bowed head in quiet disdain.

But I've been thinking a lot about those comfortable "old" ladies recently.  They'd really get a kick out of me now, I'm sure.  Because I'm there.  I realized this a few days ago.  Here's what happened:

Unlike my older counterparts, I've done pretty well with keeping up, if I do say so myself.  My hair is thick and naturally curly, and although the Dorothy Hamill short bob of the early seventies was a complete disaster, the Farrah Fawcett "feathered" look was quite achievable. I bought a set of hot rollers that became my new best friends.  I got ridiculously fast at rolling my hair every morning, and it was definitely worth the effort, in my sixteen year old mind.  I thought I looked AWESOME!
Then came the glorious 80's.  I was in college when the "Big Hair" fashion hit.  People, my hair was BORN for this style!  Getting ready in the morning took about seven seconds.  I'd simply turn my head upside down, crank the blow dryer to "high," and blast my hair until it was one big, majestic "poof."  Then, I'd flip it back, throw on a headband (large Madonna bow attached), sweep my bangs off to the side, and, TA-DA... DONE!  I REALLY loved the 80's!

So, there I was, having a grand old time in the era of big hair, when THIS happened:

Jennifer FREAKING Aniston!!  Curse her and her thin, straight, straight hair!!  I tried, folks, I really tried!  I bought a flat iron, applied straightening shampoo and conditioner, and read article after article on "How to obtain Jen's sexy, sleek look!"  Usually, it was a disaster! Occasionally, I'd find the right combination of product and styling tool, and achieve the flat look.  But soon the humidity would take over, and my curls would begin to form, refusing to be silenced!!

It was a hard time for me, let me tell you!  Even my former spiralled comrades were jumping ship and sporting the new flat style.  Gloria Estefan and Nicole Kidman, once big, curly-haired goddesses, now looked like THIS:


Et tu, ladies?  It became abundantly clear, I was standing on a sinking ship!  So I smoothed my hair as best I could, and managed to make it through that dark time, or as I refer to it: "The Sleek Years."

Then, one GLORIOUS day, the curls began to emerge again!  Celebrities were showing up at awards ceremonies with cascading, twirly locks.  I was elated!   Recently, I'd go to my hairdresser and simply say, "I'd like a good, layered cut to accentuate my curls," and watch as they snipped and shaped my mane.  The result was always a little disappointing, though, I must say. They'd style my hair kinda messy, and the curls would always be dangling over my face and eyes.  "Weird that I can't get a good cut these days," I said to myself.

So, I arrived a few days ago at my color/cut appointment determined to leave looking like a curly goddess.  I spent SEVERAL minutes describing EXACTLY what I wanted to my stylist, and she smiled and said we could DEFINITELY achieve the look I was requesting.  She left to mix my color, and I sat back, content that my message had FINALLY been received!

She colored, cut, then began the styling process.  She attached a diffuser to her blow dryer, then, turned me around away from the mirror.  She tugged and pinched at my locks, happily humming away.  Soon, the other stylists were walking by, exclaiming things like, "Wow, that looks GREAT!" and "You have beautiful hair!" and "That's EXACTLY how I'd want my hair to look if it was curly!"

WOW!!  I began making plans to call Alan, he was going to need to take me out on the town to show off my amazing new style!  I couldn't WAIT for her to turn me around to view this piece of artwork for myself.  Then, she did.  And, there, staring back in the mirror at me, was THIS:


So, dear old ladies of my twenties, I owe you an enormous apology.  Because I am now YOU.  I left that hair salon, went home, washed my hair, applied mousse and styling gel, threw my head upside down, blew it dry, inserted the largest Madonna-bowed head band I could find, cranked-up some Wham! on my stereo, and danced around my living room in wild abandon.  Because as far as me and my hair are concerned, it's 1984, Baby!!

Thanks for Reading!!


Kathy B said...

What fun to read! But please tell me your hair cut wasn't THAT much of a disaster. It would be really hard to make you look bad anyway!

Charlene said...

I have straight hair. I used to get three perms a year to get the big hair in the '80's. I had a collection of hair combs and wore one set every day to coordinate with my clothing. It's been 30+ years and I've had the same well kept cut for twenty five years. I won't be paying for any more hair frying unless the styles change.

Jessica said...

I have thick, curly hair, too. Thankfully, mine seems to respond well to flat irons and rollers when I need some containment.

Hope all grows back well.

Hearts Turned said...

Oh, I LOVED this! My hair loved the 80's, too! I was also in college at the time. Loved it. I've come to grips with life, however...but I've absolutely refused to use a straightener!

While my hair's not curly, (I wish!--SO much time & money spent on perms in my life!), it's not straight, either. I go with a HUGE, fat, round brush and my hairdryer for styling. Smooths it out, but still gives me some loft, if you know what I mean!

My daughters don't get it. That's okay. I'm pretty happy with the way things are, finally! (I even let my silver hairs shine through--heaven forbid!)

Have a most wonderful day!


Shady Del Knight said...

Don't fret, Joanie. With all things vintage making a huge comeback these days you are free to pick a decade and dress accordingly. Go with the hair that works best for you and ignore the passing trends. That Rachel is sooo over!

jel said...

I had long hair for a long time, but now DH like me in short hair, and to if I let my hair grow to long these days i get headachs. :?

when i was a kid I thought 30 was old, now here I'm alot most 50!

Unknown said...

Love it! At 66, I now where my hair very short and quickly blow it dry. easy, peasy!

PinkPatentMaryJanes said...

Oh, hairdressers just don't get curly hair do they? I haven't been to a hairdresser in 7 years - I just grab random curls and hack an inch or so off them every so often. Years ago I had a hairdresser who also had naturally curly hair and oh, it was bliss...

Looking for Blue Sky said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Liz Mays said...

That was hilarious!!!

Funny you talked about the set bonnet hairstyles because I asked some stylists recently if that trend was kinda dying off with the...well, you know...dying. And sure enough, it is.

Looking for Blue Sky said...

I loved this post as well :) I have had a love/hate (mainly hate) relationship with my hair all my life. Hair straighteners changed everything for me ... Finally in my 40s I have the long straight hair I always wanted :)

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

Oh this is such a fun post.
I have Jennifer Aniston hair naturally and have spent my life trying to change it. I'm old so in the 70's we all wore than style. I have a theory....if you wore it the 1st time you are too old the 2nd time it comes around. i try to stick with that. I permed my hair to a dry mess in the 80's to get that look you say you have naturally.
We all wish we had what we don't know like I wish to be tall thin and rich.


Being Me said...

Is there a hairdresser ANYWHERE in the world who not only listens but can actually deliver what you want? I would think a "hair cut to accentuate my curls" would be pretty straightforward (but maybe not??). I sympathise, esp on the frizz-look. Had to giggle at the Madonna-bowed shaking head of disdain! Another fab read, Joan xo

Rachel said...

We must be hair twins! (Much less entertaining than being Hand Twins from Friends, right?)

I feel your pain... my hairdresser doesn't know what to do with mine either!

Moooooog35 said...

You really need to put a disclaimer on posts that include pics of Sarah Jessica Parker.

On a related note, do you know how to get vomit off a keyboard?

Linda Myers said...

My hair is thin and curly - and now gray. I tried every style through the years, but the only thing that works for me is short. You know, wash and run a comb through and shake my head and that's it.

I've always wished for something different and don't like AT ALL the hairdressers who say, "You have such beautiful curls!"

lifeshighway said...

I love your hair traveling through time. It was sort like When Harry met Sally. I have down it all, I have thick thick wavy hair. I am sticking with the semi-sleek at this point because the stylish waves defeat me.

my towel is thrown

Sandra said...

Frighteningly enough, I have hair just like the chick in the 80s pic.
And yes, isn't it funny how at 20 we thought 40 was old. I'm not 42 and I think 100 is old...'cause I know I'll be there sooner than I think..

Shan said...

Oh yeah! We have the same hair! I was 11 when my dad convinced the hair cutter (forget stylist... as if!) that I should get the Dorothy Hamill. It was awful, and the worst thing was that she kept trying to *fix* it by cutting off more hair.

Fast forward two weeks and I'd already been through the horror of school photos. What could be worse? How about a school trip to Knott's Scary Farm (the amusement park, Knott's Berry Farm's Halloween incarnation). Riding the train through the park... the "bad guys" come aboard to rob us. One guy sits next to me and starts to do his bit, but then thinks he's somehow chosen a boy with breast nubs. Jumps out and starts over with a girl who has *hair*. I should be in therapy and my dad should pay, I say, lol.

Two months ago I finally got a bunch of hair lopped off. I have bangs. Bangs that start at a somewhat short length on the right and swoop down to the length I would prefer by the time they get to the right. That was a whim I won't be repeating.

Thanks for the laughs!

ReformingGeek said...

What a fun post! I truly hope that your hair isn't that bad.

I've have a natural "wave" that takes a lot of work to make it curl or to make it straight. Something has to be done or it's just frizz.

When I was in 7th grade, Mom took me to a lady who did hair at her house and she gave me a horrible cut, just in time for school photos. I don't think I ever got over that.

Cheeseboy said...

I am still trying to master my Jennifer Anniston look. I need to buy another flat iron.

Mia said...

I'm looking forward to the day when I can put on the white powder wig and purple shawl outdoors.

For now I'll just have to do it in secret.

Anonymous said...

Hi Joan,
We knew each other vaguely in college about a hundred years ago as you said...I also have curly thick hair and about a year ago discovered a salon that deals only with curly hair called "Devachan". It's remarkable to walk in and have all the stylists and all the clients displaying the great panoply of curly hair! Their deal is: Curls Rock! You just have to know how to take care of them! I've not even thought of blowing out my hair since I started going there...not to sound like an awful commercial, but check out the website and consider ordering some of the products, totally different from anything you've ever used...and if you are in NYC, treat yourself to a visit to the salon! Hope you've had a wonderful Christmas! Andrea Shane

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