I have a thing about my hair. I have for as long as I can remember. I think it started out as a form of personal control, since I had none in my childhood.
My parents controlled everything. They didn't just control things like normal parents: curfew, dating age, chores, etc. Their rules were unreasonable, arbitrary, irrational and ever changing. Big rule...Sunday was 'Family Day.' We weren't allowed to go anywhere or visit friends, not even neighbors. It generally started out with my parents sleeping until noon while the five of us would tip-toe around shushing each other for fear of waking them 'early'. My parents would finally rise, drink coffee and read the Sunday newspaper (which we were not allowed to touch until they'd read it), after which was 'Family Breakfast' at about 2:00pm (though, generally my sisters and I would have eaten at least a bowl of cereal much earlier). The oldest children among us would have the pleasure of cleaning up the breakfast dishes and my parents would retire to the family room where my mother would paint her fingernails for an hour or so and my father would watch television. Dinner was generally about 6:00pm, after which my parents would watch more television and instruct us to "get ready for school" the next day. That was family day.
Other rules included, but were not limited to the following:
- We were allowed to bathe only once a week.
- We were not, even in high school, allowed to shave our legs or arm pits.
- My mother refused to buy pantyhose for us, even though we were the only girls in our schools who weren't wearing them. Her rationale was not that she couldn't afford to buy pantyhose; she just didn't think we 'needed' them. So, I scrounged money to buy them on my own. I saved every single penny, nickel and dime I found on the ground walking to and from school to buy pantyhose and the nail polish I would sneak from my mother's vanity drawer became the secret run-stopper.
- My curfew was two hours earlier than that of my peers. Having to be home at 9:30 or 10:00 at age 17 and 18 was an embarrassment. My pleas of "But the movie won't even be over until 10:05!!!" fell on deaf ears and my date would begrudgingly leave before the end of the movie to take me home.
My hair became my expression of me, albeit superficial. In middle school, I would cut my bangs contrary to my mother's demand to leave my hair alone. Yes, I'd get in trouble. I didn't care. It was worth it. It was my way of saying, "It's my hair, dammit, and I will do what I damn well please with it." I said it once out loud without the curse words. I still got in trouble.
But I continued to change my hair. In high school during summer breaks when I didn't have to buy pantyhose, I'd buy lemons and hide them in a dresser drawer in my room. We had a Doughboy above-ground pool in our backyard. I'd take a full body dip in the pool, then saturate my wet hair with lemon juice and lie in the sun and wait to become a blonde.
During my junior year, I did the unthinkable. I cut my hair...every single strand...wrapped my hair in rollers and met my near death when I walked into the family room with my new "bubble" haircut.
Two years later, the day I turned 18 years old ~ you know, when you become a so-called adult and no one, not even your parents can tell you what you can and cannot do (sort of) ~ I took the $4.50 I'd saved just for this occasion, walked to the Thrifty Drug store, bought a package of blond tint and while my parents were at work I became a blonde for the first, but not the last, time in my life.
Since that first magical bottle of bleach, I've been a platinum blonde, strawberry blonde, golden blonde and redhead. I've even gone darker with auburn. In my hippie-dippy days, I had long strawberry blonde or red hair. Then when the curly Afro for white girls became popular with the use of permanent wave solution, I did that. In the 80's I first opted for the upscale mullet with perm. Yep, I was a big haired gal.
And then in the late 80's I saw her and her haircut. She drove by me in a convertible as I walked along the beach parking lot in Oceanside. No streaming locks for that woman. Her hair was short...very short and spikey and platinum blonde. I had to have that hair, or at least what there was of it. I was off to my hair stylist, Hoa, who was the best hair cutter I've ever had, hands down. I wore that style for years off and on...mostly on.
I haven't changed. The only thing consistent about my hair is that I'm always doing something else with it. I didn't know what my real hair color was until about 5 years ago when I stopped tinting my hair altogether (although, I have to admit, I am toying with becoming a blonde once again).
Now, I'm 'letting it grow.' It is not yet the longer-hair-blowing-in-the-breeze-slightly-wavy-locks for which I yearn. It is not short and spikey. But it is currently beyond THE STAGE and it's driving me nuts, particularly now that it has become colder and drier and static electricity plasters my hair to my face. I've used that anti-static spray for clothing on my brush in an attempt to tame the fly-away locks. I've resorted to getting my hair damp to control it, which, of course, only makes it worse when my hair dries. I haven't had longer hair in a very long time, so I don't have bobby pins, barrettes, scrunchies, clips or clamps. I have rubber bands from various packages and vegetables and could pull the front of my hair into a little pony tail on top of my head, but I don't want to look like a Shih Tzu on grooming day.
One day last week, it was more than I could bear. It was cold. It was dry. There was static everywhere, especially in my hair. I was trying to cook and I was constantly being distracted by my hair plastered against my forehead. Tom, seeing how frustrated I was, provided a solution. He pulled a Chip Clip from a kitchen drawer, pulled my hair out of my eyes and secured it with the clip.
Not exactly stylin' but effective, though I don't necessarily desire to be seen dead or alive in public as a shining example of the many uses of the lowly Chip Clip (couldn't you just imagine the infomercial???).
Screw long, beautiful, shining, gleaming, streaming hair. My fantasies include scissors, clippers, Freeze & Shine, Wax Works and Clairol Ultra Light Natural Blonde? It's all about control.