I have never had my hair done. Trust me, I don’t know how it happened either. My life, as far as my tresses are concerned, has devolved into a series of quarter inch trims and biweekly at home conditioning treatments. Not one pause for a dramatic updo, sweeping french twist, or even a softly curled blowout. All formal events are signaled by a few twists of my own curling iron and a halo of flexible hold. For a long time I didn’t even realize how sad this was. I happily straightened my own hair for my senior prom and slapped on some sparkly eye shadow without ever recognizing what my hair could have been. The pictures forever thrown into obscurity by the indeterminate consequence of my stylistic ignorance.
But now, in a world full of Drybar and Blow Bar, the time has come to have someone lay hands upon the virgin strands. I don’t need to leave enough time to mess up and start over again. The back will finally look as good as the front. I’ve been getting by for way too long on naturally decent and shiny hair. Aside from some, practically requisite, questionable highlights when I was sixteen, my hair has been its natural color and texture every single day. The madness must stop. Hair must meet blow dryer, and styling creme, and their good friend boar bristle brush. Just once, at least.
I may not have any movie premieres or palace functions to attend, but there’s nothing that says I can’t look like I do. Having your hair styled is a feminine right of passage that I somehow bypassed, and now I find myself, in my twenties, still reaching for the ceramic wand every time I get a wedding invitation in the mail. Holding it over my head for twenty seconds while simultaneously applying a second coat of melting mascara, when I could be sipping champagne and reading about how to wear a peplum while someone else handles it. Time for this princess to get some practice in.
Surprising, I know. And as one is won’t to do (as a viewer should do if the writers are doing their job) I put myself in the place of some interesting female characters and came out with a whole new idea about myself. Connie Britton in the pilot of American Horror Story only reinforced her place in my heart as the best lady to fight with ever, and my assertions about myself should anyone ever have to audacity to cheat on me and then move me into a haunted house. God help the man who tries. My side of the argument wouldn’t have the constraints of cable censorship.
Then I saw this week’s episode of Parks and Recreation with the drama of the Tammy’s. My family also suffers from the anomaly of multiple women with the same name, except one is my mom and I like her. I realized that while there is a valid point in not putting too many restrictions on the qualities that people you date must or must not possess, someone with the same name as my father is not an option. Neither is someone with the same name as someone I’ve already gone out with. Three of the same in the past is more than enough. He also can’t wear smaller jeans than me.
And then Legally Blonde came on, and if you can’t see how I would relate then you don’t deserve to read this. But beyond the validated indignation over the prejudiced treatment of blondes and pretty people there were some lessons to be learned. Being smart is enough to show other people you’re smart, but proving you’re smart has to be for you or you really are the pretentious cow that everyone’s assuming you are for even trying. And Luke Wilson was right when he said that being blonde was a powerful thing and there’s something to admire in using that power for good. Not that I’m going to stop flipping my hair for discount car maintenance services (I’m underemployed and on a budget, don’t judge me), but I’m all for using it to help others and using people’s prejudices against them to do my best. If my hair gets me places, then at least I know my brain keeps me there. Law school is not in my future but other wonderful, intellectual things are.
Of course, there have been a couple of fantasy moments inspired by Pan Am, mostly to do with makeup and wardrobe. Less to do with being sexually objectified and roped into spy networks.
If you’re not being inspired by your television viewing experience, then you’re doing it wrong. Or all you are watching is procedural crime dramas and your lack of connection with them is something I can only be thankful for. Happy Fall TV!!!
Sometimes strange things happen in your life. Weird people make odd comments at inopportune times and there’s no explanation for it so you do your best to go about the rest of your day without over-thinking it. If it has not already become heartbreakingly obvious, these are the kind of things that happen to other people every so often, and me constantly. This is not to profess that I am entirely normal, because I’m not. But you don’t see me going up to people in random public venues commenting on their attitude and general appearance. Unless they ask or something.
People think I’m exaggerating, or even completely fabricating, when I tell them about the things that happen to me over the course of a day. But I’m not. I went to the grocery store with my mom on Easter Sunday – so far pretty normal. We were getting eggs and food coloring and pie. I was wearing pink for the occasion, had no makeup on, and my hair was still wet from my shower. The white-haired, suited, Irish man with a cataract standing behind me in line holds a lock of my hair and says: “Don’t ever cut your hair. It’s beautiful and there’s nothing more feminine.” Nice sentiment. But I don’t know you and you’re touching my hair in the grocery store. I pull it away from him and assure him that I have no plans to cut it.
Before I can turn away he’s started telling me how he always thought he would marry a redhead when he was growing up in Ireland, and his daughter is a redhead but his wife is little and blonde like me and he probably wouldn’t have married her if she weren’t blonde so I should stay blonde. No idea what I’m supposed to do with this information.
My mom was standing next to me, and while she has heard many of the stories about my run ins with insanity she’s not usually present for them and was somewhat skeptical about their occurrence until she got to witness this little interaction for herself. Total shock. Even the cashier wasn’t sure it was really happening. My only logical conclusion is that I’m instigating this kind of behavior. Some kind of sign that I can’t see is duct taped to my ass advertising “Tell me the strange things swimming in your head. I want to hear them. Bonus points for passive aggressively hitting on me.”
I’ve been to a lot of places in a lot of cities in the world and without doing anything special I will attract the crazies. Not violently crazy – I’m not getting accosted in the streets on a regular basis, but the everyday weirdos. They can function in the world, but like to purge whenever I’m nearby. I’ve been asked to try on clothes so that guys can pick something that looks good on their girlfriend. Held babies so harried mothers could tie their shoes (both the babies’ and their own). And I get compliments, advice, and offers from men on a regular basis – about everything, from what I should wear and which profession I should pursue, to what brand of painkillers to buy and how to wash my car.
I have come to the determination that I am not paranoid in finding this to be abnormal… even more than the usual abnormal. And I’m not complaining about this role I have been appointed in the universe. But I feel better knowing that other people are aware that this is going on in the world. And I do sincerely hope that Irish man is happy in his choice of blonde, because I’m into the accent and don’t plan to cut my hair, but I do have an age limit.