updated with photo
In 8th grade I told the hair cutter I wanted “wisps.”
Wisps were the rage in the early 80’s, at least in Livingston, New Jersey where I discovered them sported by all the beautifully straight-haired blonde girls during a visit to a camp friend. They were bangs, sort of, thin little strips of hair that trickled down in wispy tendrils. Generally next to a roach clip with a feather hanging off it. It was just perfect.
But on me? On frizzy, crazy-haired, wavy, bushy-headed me? They were um… a circle.
The left side of my bangs curled around making a C on my forehead, while the right side curled around in the same but opposite way, forming an O. Yep, she left me with a giant O smack in the middle of my forehead and no handmade ribbon barrettes could distract from it.
It wasn’t like school photos were the next day or anything.
Oh wait…yes they were.
Eventually I lived down being called Frizzy Lizzy for the better part of my childhood.
But still, hair (and thoughts about my hair and panic about my hair) still takes up a disproportionate amount of time and energy in my day to day existence. I’m a pretty low-maintenance gal, believe it or not. But my hair won’t let me be. When someone tells me I have good hair? It’s like the triumph of technology (and a professional yielding a hair dryer) over biology. I am overjoyed.
So it’s not entirely surprising that I’m projecting all of my hair issues onto my girls. Not that I could make a straight part if I wanted to, but their hair isn’t apt to cooperate anyway. They have my hair. Thinner, yes. But just as unruly.
I often have these fleeting thoughts that perhaps one day, their hair will just…go straight. Neat. Partable, brushable, and free of the permanent dreadlock that has taken up residence on the back of Sage’s head. Maybe my girls will turn Asian or something overnight. It could happen.
So yesterday I exhibited the greatest act of trust since I allowed Nate to get busy with me without a condom – I encouraged my mother to take the girls for haircuts.
I was so grateful. I’ve just been so busy lately, that I’ve allowed the girls to walk around with their bangs stabbing them in the eyeballs several weeks.
(And don’t suggest I cut hair myself. Been there, scarred that for life.)
“I know you’ll hate whatever I do,” my mom said.
No, I insisted. All I needed was for Sage to come home with the perfect chin-length wedge cut, longer in front, with short bangs. No biggie!
I kissed two girls goodbye and raced off to work.
I came home to one girl. And her little brother, the Dutch boy. The one with the long, uneven bangs and the ear-length hair. The one we call Sage.
It wasn’t my mom. It was the chop shop I sent her to because it was close. And now, I feel guilty.
Good thing she’s only two and doesn’t give a shit.
Good thing her name doesn’t rhyme with any disparaging hair descriptors.