Nature vs. Nurture
I get cheap haircuts. I have always found getting a hair cut to be kind of a gamble to begin with, so paying outrageous prices has never been my cup of tea. I have paid $40 for a sadly disappointing massacre of my locks and, by contrast, I have also paid $12.50 and had the best cut of my life (also with some pleasant conversation). So last time I went to First Choice for a little snip-snip, I thought I’d take the money I figured I was “saving” and buy some styling tools.
My sister has the same type of hair as me. Wavy with the potential to be curly or frizzy or even poofy-von-poof-meister if the whim takes hold and the humidity is high. We were both big fans of the pony tail for a long time. She also went through a phase in which she developed a system of putting on a winter toque after she came out of the shower, in order to restrain the fly-aways (which we lovingly call “farklies”) until the hair could dry to a somewhat reasonable size. We both agree that we would rather go without than use any shampoo or hair product with the word “volumizing” on the label. Then one day, my sister declared to me that she was going to become more “grown up” about her hair. She bought a hair blower (I have not gone within 10 feet of a hair blower in decades) and a round brush and some mousse and began to tame those locks. She takes time out of her mornings to have grown up styles.
She is two years my junior. And several years later, I decided I should follow suit. SO, with my extra “savings”, I purchased a middle-of-the-road hair blower (complete with diffuser and also the other thing, I call a “concentrator” because it does the opposite) and a round brush. Now some people have said that these round brushes can volumize. HOWEVER, on the label, this brush said “For straightening without frizzing”. That is exactly what I wanted.
I practically skipped home I was so excited. I had a shower, even though I didn’t need one. And then I shut the bathroom door and put the “concentrator” nozzle onto the hair blower and began to tackle that head. I soon discovered I didn’t have enough hands. I could get the hair on the brush, but then it fell off and I had to set everything down to reposition the lock of hair onto the brush again. I tried to remember what the hairdresser at the last higher end styling salon had done – it was too long ago, I couldn’t recall. My hair began to get bigger. I took off the “concentrator” nozzle. The humidity in the bathroom rose sharply. I put on the diffuser nozzle. I even began to get the under-the-bra sweat that only happens in particularly tropical or stressful situations. The hair on top was still wet. The hair on the bottom was still wet. The hair on the sides was large and stuck directly outwards in the form of a cloud. I looked a bit like a balding clown with a fro. The panic set in. I tried to push through it. It is the panic that comes naturally when a hairdryer is near me. I thought maybe I was being irrational.
Then finally came the moment when I realized that this dream would not come to fruition – at least not that night. I pulled my hair back into a tight ponytail (it stuck out angrily from the back of my head) and opened the door to the fresh air.
Mark was sitting on the couch.
“You didn’t straighten your hair,” he noticed, inquiringly.
“I don’t want to talk about it.”