7.01.2010

The Great Hair-Curler Tragedy of 2000

My 14th year was tumultuous for me in many ways: I lost a bunch of friends, moved on to the seemingly greener pastures of high school, and had my first boyfriend. But there was one change that affected me more than all others. This is its story.

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The date is May 2000. The eighth-graders have been tasked with putting on a program celebrating the 20th century. We separate into groups and are assigned a decade. My group receives 1900. Our theatrics representing the decade consist of holdovers from the Victorian era. I play the part of a dance instructor (waltz, I think) brought into a house to teach two young girls (other classmates) how to dance properly. As we prepare -- writing scripts, practicing our lines, choosing costumes, building sets -- the discussion of what the girls should do with their hair is broached. We agree to shower the night before, put our wet hair up in a high ponytail, and set the ponytail ends with curlers. The effect was supposed to look something like this:

HAWT.

So the night before, I follow the plan. I shower, carefully lathering, rinsing, and repeating my long, stick-straight, shiny blond hair. This hair is my pride and joy. It took three years to grow down to my waistline. I spent most of my eighth-grade year painstakingly braiding, twisting, and knotting it into a fresh new hairstyle every day, from Pippi Longstocking-esque braids to dozens of little ponytails all over my head. One of my teachers even called me Princess Leia. I gather all this hair into an elastic on top of my head. Then I discover that the only curlers we had in the house (none of the hair belonging to the females in my household was able to hold much curl, so we didn't invest) were for one of my dolls. They are pink and about half an inch in diameter each, and they have tiny teeth like combs have, but much shorter. So I wrap thin strands of hair around 85 curlers or so, tuck a bandanna around it to keep flyaways at bay, and go to bed.

The next morning, I'm going through my usual getting-ready routine -- eating cereal, brushing teeth, washing face, agonizing over new zits -- and I begin to unravel the curlers -- or, I try to begin to unravel the curlers. Much of my hair is still damp, and the curlers made for doll's hair are irrevocably tangled in a rat's nest at the crown of my head. My efforts are fruitless, and tears come to my eyes, so I call my mother in to help. She does no better and after about 20 minutes suggests we use scissors to cut them out.

"NOOOOO!!!!" I cried, "not my beautiful hair, my only characteristic that anyone ever compliments!"

I was inconsolable as we tore the curlers out of my hair one by one, each emitting a horrid ripping sound that echoed in my head all day. We pulled out enough hair to make wigs for two bald infants. I zombied through the rest of the day, preoccupied by the loss of my very identity. That evening, my mom -- my own flesh and blood! -- took me to Great Clips, where they cut my hair into a bob so uneven and not what I asked for that it took me an hour to part it each morning.

Thus began my second disastrous love affair with short hair, in which I spent a lot of time dyeing my hair a new color every month and looking butch.

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We've all had bad hair days. Tell me about your biggest hair calamities (or any other notable mishap).

xo,
s

8 comments:

  1. My last year of college I cut my super short to imitate a look I saw in a magazine of Demi Moore and Bruce Willis's girls. Super cute on them - the effect on me was that of a 12 year old boy. I grew my hair back out after too many times of being called "Sir."

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  2. Anonymous2.7.10

    So this one time, I had dreadlocks for two years...

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  3. HAHAHA. I know who you are, Anonymous!
    s

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  4. So this one time, I had long hair

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  5. I don't think I've ever had a hair tragedy, but once I forgot to roll my hair before 7th grade photos. I thought I looked okay. My mother said it looked like I a rat ran through my hair on the front. It's all about the smile, right?

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  6. I'm sorry about your no doubt traumatic hair episode.

    But I'm happy you don't look butch anymore! Because butch just doesn't do it for me. And kind of scares me.

    No offense, butch people.

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  7. What does it mean to "roll" your hair?

    Butch no longer does it for me, either. I prefer "androgynous."
    s

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  8. Roll my hair, like with rollers. :-)

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