A Curly-, Long-Haired Type Of Girl

There was a time in my youth when I longed for straight hair, and I’ll tell you exactly when. Beverly Hills 90210 came on and Brenda Walsh had bangs, so I went to the bathroom with a pair of scissors and snipped away. My hair looked freakin’ ugly. I have thick and curly hair, so that was really ill-advised. I swore, next time, I wouldn’t listen to the stupid voice in my brain again. Yeah, that vow got flushed down the toilet shortly thereafter when I decided to wear my pants backwards just like Kris Kross (you know, those kids who missed the bus and made ya jump, jump).

Anyway, I thought, “So what if my hair curled in non-cute corkscrews and bore the texture of shredded wheat? I can just have it straightened at the salon.” Just like a bad mushroom on a slimy piece of damp, rotted wood, my mom showed up sensing another opportunity to further damage my hair. With a bottle of noxious chemicals and deficient technical knowledge balanced out by plenty of chutzpah, she worked on my hair.

For about two years after that, my head sported an identity crisis. It wasn’t sure if it was straight- or curly-haired. The only thing it was clear on was that it was a victim. Don’t worry too much about me and this particular disaster. It didn’t seem to be too traumatic because I actually tried to straighten my hair again in just the same manner about three more times. Far be it from me to not learn my lesson on the fifth commitment of the same mistake, so, after that I gave up and simply embraced my thick, frizzy curls.

My hair really isn’t so bad (if I say that enough times, maybe I’ll finally believe it). In fact, there are people who said they wished they had hair like mine — mostly straight-haired people bored with their fine, silky strands. I, for my part, just emulated the style of celebrities who had hair similar to mine like Keri Russell, Julia Roberts, and Nicole Kidman.

And then they started straightening their hair.

Obviously, I didn’t have the means to fuss over my hair so that it would look just as nice as theirs, so I just had to keep embracing. It got so the wild hair got to be part of my identity somehow. I became the girl with long, curly (thick, dry, coarse, frizzy) hair. One of the impertinent whippersnappers I taught (a respectable businessman and UCSD alumnus now) once remarked, “Miss, why don’t you cut and straighten your hair?”

I replied, “Because I’m a long- and curly-haired type of person.”

He stopped writing and pondered that gold-plated nugget. Deciding that it was pure balderdash, he sneered, “What kind of reason is that?”

Old habits die hard, as they say, so I’ve held on to this hairstyle for the past two decades. Whenever I get a trim though, the stylist would always blow-dry my hair straight. It always felt and looked so nice and smooth that for some time now I’ve been considering investing in a really good hair straightener.

I’m never going the route of chemicals again. At any rate, my mom has stopped messing around with cold wave lotion, so my hair has been safe from her albeit already irreversibly damaged. I’ve simply made peace with this hair, so while I still think it’s obnoxious, I have also convinced myself that it has its own charm. That’s not going stop me from whining about it though. Like I said, old habits die hard.

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