I have very curly hair. Ever since I was a little kid, I've had people comment about my hair. When I was young, these people would mostly be the old ladies at church. You would think after they'd made a comment once, they could let it go, and let me retain some form of dignity. But no- many of them would make comments weekly. Probably because I was standing with a different adult at the time we 'bumped into them', and they felt their comments were good enough to repeat for the other adults to hear.
Let me give you an example:
[Me walking quickly down the stairs and dragging my Nan behind me.]
Nan: Slow down! It's not a race, girl.
[stopping abruptly because we've run into Marie Hoffman, the Bouffant Queen. Again.]
Marie: Hi, Mildred. [turning to look at me] Oh! Look at that hair. [coming closer to run her fingers through it and fluff it up terribly] I just love all those curls! [bending down to look in my eyes] Do you have any idea how much money I pay to get my hair to do what yours does, Honey? [cupping my chin in her hands] Oh, that's just sweet. [reverts to fluffing and fluffing and fluffing my hair]
Me: [thinking to myself that any money she spent to make her hair do 'that' is too much.] Yes, Ma'am. [turning to my Nan] Can we go to my class now? [stepping back and patting hair down as much as possible]
Imagine that scenario repeated at least five times a Sunday. And more during the week whenever I happen to be out with my Nan. It was a kid's worst nightmare, I can assure you.
As I grew up, I had a love/hate relationship with my hair. There were times when it would lay in ringlets, and make me look adorable. [See photo below]
And other times when it was, um, not so attractive.
It wasn't until I moved to upstate NY after college that I found out about mousse. I was watching my friend Stacy do her hair, and I wondered if that nifty white stuff she was using could work for me.
It was indeed a miraculous discovery.
And it has changed the way I've dealt with my hair ever since.
I don't think there's a day that goes by after a shower that I don't put either a mousse in my hair, or some sort of 'Curl Management' product. It's a must. Unless I want to be ridiculed behind my back for trying to bring back the 'fro. (My Uncle used to call me Nurse Burr-head.)
Anyhoona, I have not really ever been a long hair kind of girl, since my hair usually just grows 'out'. As in wider, not longer. I think when my Mom died and people commented about my hair (as in the above example from church) I rebelled against the compliments and literally chopped it all off. Myself. In our bathroom. Without seeing the back.
Not my finest 'do, I can assure you.
But I have kept a somewhat short hair style since. I would let it grow out a little, then retreat to the safety of close cropped curls. One day, when I went to get an actual haircut in a salon, the lady (who did a beautiful cut, like this one) asked if she could straighten it for me.
I told her I didn't think it would work because my hair was so curly. She just looked at me like she was accepting that challenge, and she would make it work no matter what the results. I knew I could always refuse to pay her until washed and restyled it if I ended up looking like this girl I knew in school.
[muddles over whether sharing more details is necessary. decides a story is in order.]
Okay, my sister had this friend when we were in school that we'll just call 'Kim'. She had (I'm assuming) naturally curly hair that was curlier than any I'd ever seen before. Either that or it was a really bad perm. It was wiry, and coarse. And she was white.
Well, she came to our house one day with it 'straightened'. I put that in ' ' because it wasn't exactly straight. It was more like she had crimped it, so the 'waves' were longer, but it was stiff as a board. Like she had put on a triangular shaped hair helmet. When she looked down at the ground, the whole of her hair stuck up off the back of her head, instead of falling in loose strands around her face. It was indeed an oddity. And I swore I would NEVER let anyone do that to me.
[end of story]
So I let this stylist do it, thinking I would hate it and be embarrassed until it was back to its natural curly-ness. But I was wrong. Dead wrong. Turns out my hair straightens beautifully. It keeps until the next wash too, with minimal touch-ups. Who knew?
Of course this put me on a quest for a more permanent solution.
One day Aunt Bossy and I decided to try a straightening kit on my hair. Now, I must tell you that the box had pictures of black women all over it, and clearly labeled that it was for specifically for their hair.
But I just knew it would work in mine.
After washing my hair, putting in the first step, and almost drowning me with the second bottle as she let me smell it, Aunt Bossy announced that it just wasn't working. So we rinsed it out and gave up.
I have since straightened my hair (with a regular Revlon curling iron, medium barrel) when I've felt like it. It requires some pretty finicky conditions though, which are: 1. Zero humidity 2. A good wash the day before. 3. Time to actually do it without being interrupted.
Which happens next to never. Hence the curly look that so dominates my 'style'.
Note the obvious difference between 'Curly JulieMom' and 'Straight JulieMom'.
(and dare I say thinner) version of my real self. Dontcha think?
Any tales of hair woe you'd like to share with everyone? Or opinions on my hair? Or on any aspect of this post? I am really into sharing ideas. And I have been missing the banter that comes with people actually commenting.
So feel free.