Saturday, August 21, 2010

Hair, Part One

When I was a little girl my mother was in charge of my hair. I couldn't care less what my hair looked like as long as it stayed out of my way when I was playing ball and climbing trees with my big brother and the other boys on the block.

I liked the pixie style best as it required only a little trim now and then, which was all I wanted to sit still for anyway. My hair was very thin back then and so blonde it was almost white. A friend of mine once said I had only 10 white hairs on my head and that wasn't much of an exaggeration. It was also very straight.

As I got a little older Mom let my hair grow. Apparently, all straight hair was supposed to be curly and a great deal of time and effort went toward that end. Pincurls gave way to brush rollers and a hair dryer that fit over my hair like a shower cap and inflated to at least three times the size of my head. That style of hair dryer afforded some freedom of movement as long as I didn't wander beyond the reach of the hose attached to the base unit. Later we got one with a fixed hood that you had to sit under like the hair dryers in salons.

My most vivid memories of hair styling in those days are of Toni home perms and hairspray. I learned that beauty must be accompanied by some degree of discomfort. The stench of the solutions that came with the Toni home perms are seared into my brain. I'm sure there must be some corellation between the use of hairsprays and the development of asthma and/or allergies later in life.

After standing still for what seemed like hours to an 8 year old, I would emerge from a cloud of hairspray... a vision of beauty... gulp in deep breaths of fresh air and go running outside with the echos of my mother's warning to not mess up my hair ringing in my ears.

When I was a teenager I let my hair grow out and it became thicker and began to turn darker blonde. My mom still did her best to keep it curled. But I often pulled it back in a pony tail to keep it out of my way, especially when playing softball for the girl's church league fast-pitch team. (Shortshop, if you were wondering....) I could satisfy my mother and the world of fashion by tying a ribbon around it or the thick, colorful yarn that was trendy at the time. Much better than a home perm or sleeping on sponge rollers. I would curl it now and then with hot rollers or a curling iron but my hair was so thick the weight of it would straighten out the curls pretty soon so why bother?

When I was in college I worked summers at a Baptist camp south of Dallas. I worked there five years in a row and looking back at the pictures taken then, you can see my hair getting a little shorter every year. It was just too hot and there were so many other things to do at camp than stand at a mirror with a blow dryer for as long as it took me to dry my thick hair. Shorter and layered was better. I started growing my hair out a couple of times after I got married, but always grew impatient with it and cut it again.

The problem was that during my second pregnancy my hair had developed some odd cowlicks and gotten a little wavy in places. I'd have it cut in a salon and it looked fine at first, but later I could see that it was cut unevenly because the stylist didn't know the way these odd cowlicks behaved. Once when my hair was in need of a trim I got really impatient and decided I could cut that long part myself, so I did. I discovered that it was much easier to keep it trimmed myself than to keep running back to the salon.

As I've gotten older I've simplified everything... hair, make-up, clothing. I find that the more time I spend looking at myself in a mirror in the morning, the more self-conscious I am about my appearance the rest of the day. I also don't want to end up like Aunt Gawdy, a little old lady with way too much make-up and hair dye. (That wasn't her real name, we just called her that because she was.)

So now I give you my two main philosophies of hair care:

1. Find out what your hair wants to do and get out of the way.

2. Never get between your daughter and her hair. (More about this next time!)

I know I won't be the most fashionable woman on the block. I just hope I grow old gracefully.

1 comment:

  1. Donna - I kept laughing out loud several times as I read your recent blog entry. I know the familiar smell of those home perms!

    Great pics! (and advice too!)