There are times when I’m convinced I missed Girl Orientation Day back when I was a baby. Like maybe when I was born all the other female infants in the hospital were taken to a special room where they received training on how to dress themselves, match accessories and comport themselves with female dignity while I was somewhere down the hall trying to use my little baby hands to pluck a free Twinkie out of the vending machine and ended up missing the whole thing.
I feel this way in particular when it comes time to get my hair cut.
Nearly every other woman I know has lovely hair, the kind that falls into place just so and swings in a silky and elegant manner with a simple coquettish toss of the head. Me? I can’t help but think small animals are crawling onto my head in the middle of the night, committing murder and leaving their hirsute victims for me to shampoo and condition each morning. It is the only viable explanation for what has been happening to the top of my head for the last 30 years or so.
Weeks before a scheduled hair appointment, I begin to fret. Should I try a new style or just accept – much the way a circus freak accepts their own delicate tail – that no matter what I do, it’s not going to get better?
Once I did try something new. I let a new stylist curl my naturally straight hair. I ended up looking like an old brunette Little Orphan Annie. And I even had those creepy wide open eyes of hers because that’s what I look like when I’m horrified. I tipped the stylist excessively – because who doesn’t reward one’s perpetrator in a situation like that? -- and fled the scene. Oddly enough, a bald rich man and an adorable mutt followed me out....
There is usually one golden moment in the whole hair cutting process. It’s those first few hours after a good new haircut, after the stylist has just spent 30 minutes coating your hair with magical ointments and creams and delicately blow dried each and every layer of your hair with a precision and grace normally associated with the creation of a Faberge egg. Everything looks wonderful in those first few minutes. I look good. I am one of those women with the silky flowing hair and I feel glamorous, like a small-chested movie star.
It’s the next day when it all goes to hell. After the first shampoo, in my clumsy ham-fisted mitts, my follicles return to old form. Whereas the stylist could actually see the back of my head, I have no idea what the hell’s going on back there. There could be Lilliputians building condos. I have no clue. And because I don’t have three hands or a $1,000 blow dryer or three years of professional schooling or the ability to distinguish layers of hair let alone pay individual attention to them, I become resigned once more to the fact that I will never, ever, ever be able to make my hair look the way it did in those first few post-haircut hours.
I’ll never know how other women do it. I stand outside beauty salons trying to study the moves. What do they have that I don’t? And can I buy it in a tube? And why did my baby self have to have that Twinkie? Selfish baby self.
Does anyone else have this problem – the haircut problem, not the Twinkie-eating baby problem – or am I alone in my hair despair?