Saturday, April 6, 2013

A Little Essay, Of Sorts

Curly hair.  I've got it.  I have straight-haired friends who say they wish they had my hair.  and after conversations with my curly-haired contemporaries i know that really it's simply the want of what you don't have; greener grass and all that jazz.

Recently i dyed two sections of my hair a bright, gorgeous fuchsia.  not long after i added some blue to the tips.  pink fading through purple to blue.  I feel like a My Little Pony.  I did it because i wanted to.  Because i never had when i was younger.  Because one of my characters did and i wanted to know how the process went.  Because i wanted to get out of the perpetual mom-funk of ponytails and yoga pants.  When i did this i also happened to rediscover the pleasure of straightening my hair and for the last few months it has been smooth-straight as often as it has been curly; nearly obliteriating that inbetween place of i-don't-feel-like-dealing-with-curls frizzy ponytail.

I don't know if i can even express what it's like to run my fingers through my straight hair.  not a single snarl, no product, no fastners required.  entire days of no frizz control or touch-ups but for maybe a quick hot iron to smooth the funny waves that come from sleeping... bliss.  Beyond bliss.  Contentment.  peacefulness.

Go to my grandparent's house and there's hardly an inch of wall space showing through the photos of children and grandchildren and great grandchildren.  you'll find me over and over in my gap-toothed curly headed grinning state as a toddler here, a kindergartener there, as a bigger kid over yonder; professional photos and family snapshots.  my grandpa is quick to point out the one of me in purple that at this point in time could be confused with a picture of my daughter.

I guess i shouldn't have been surprised at the reaction he had when i arrived on Palm Sunday with patches of easter egg dyed, stick-straight hair in preperation for a day spent at the craft table with the kids and not wanting to worry about what the fellas on my head were getting up to  while i was busy having fun.

My husband says it too: I like it better curly.

Well, here's the thing guys, so do i.  I wouldn't give up my curls for the world.  they're cute and fun and bouncy and oh, a pain in the ass.

It's not the same hair as when i was a kid; not the baby ringlets.  for a long time i thought i had lost the curl and only had a half-hearted wavy frizz.  it wasn't until i was 16 that i rediscovered the secret of the curl and i was 21 before i mastered it; bent it to my will.  They're not even curls, but a frantic waver.  I once told a friend, whose curls are stronger than mine, that her hair does it obsessive compulsively while mine does it strictly as an afterthought.  The only ringlets i have now are deep down at my neck where the hair is protected from the air and its frizz-inducing chaos.

What does it take to have curly hair for one day?  A shower in which i may or may not shampoo.  i do that only once every three or four washes.  Then conditioner; a thick, strongly sweet goop.  Sleek and Shine by Garnier Fructis.  They used to have a curly hair formula to which i was desperately devoted, but this one works even better.  Then there is the air-dry, product applying marathon event.  Garnier again, twice.  Curl sculpting gel in the roots.  A little while later when things are a bit dry wax for the tips.  Then, when it's nearly all dry and framing my head like an enormous brown halo of frizz i step backwards and wet it down again to apply Dove curl mousse to everything else. 

Then, half an hour worth of styling by which i mean burying a handful of bobby pins in the madness in an effort to pin it away from my face to avoid triangle-head as well as down against my scalp to deter fly-aways.

And tomorrow?  All that product and a night in bed means that i either have messy pigtail buns (the other hairstyle my husband hates) or i have to wash it and start all over.

It's exhausting.  So don't fault me when i put a 3-day livable straight on it and call it done in an effort to end my suffering.

And in the near future?  I'm looking to get a larger barreled curling iron so that after i spend an hour straightening out my curls i can add a bottom-only beach wave to it.  Because that's my greener grass in the world of hair.

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