The Hair Up There

I have what amounts to a non-aggression pact with my scalp: as long as it doesn’t do anything too disruptive or annoying, I don’t interfere with it. Unfortunately, my hair nurses the kind of long-standing grudge against me that you normally only see among ethnic minorities in the former Soviet Union. And so, in the spirit of such conflicts, I let it grow until it crosses my completely arbitrary tolerance boundary and then retaliate by cropping the hell out of it.

Folks, that “Until” has just become “Now.”

When My Fella asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I said — ok, well, first I said, “Wait, birthday? It can’t be May already! I can still wear jeans without sweating to death!” —  “Dunno. Haircut?”

I have put my hair on notice. It may sound cruel, but consider the following:

1.) According to one stylist, I have “an interesting wave pattern,” which I think is a euphemism for “WTF how do you have 14 separate cowlicks omg WHAT are your parents?!?”

2.) What limited success I’ve had with commercial haircare products, I’ve had with shampoos specially formulated for mixed-race infants.

3.) My mother* dealt with the problem by applying copious amounts of Johnson & Johnson’s No More Tangles, which is why I had no idea my hair curled until I was like 8 or 9 years old.

In short, I have a strange head full of weird, unruly, and recalcitrant hair.

Or, to quote My Best Frenemy**, I have hair “like Neil Gaiman, [but] not in a good way.”

So there you have it.

Anyway, well-meaning folks are quick to recommend salons, even individual stylists, to help me with my follicular problems…but, see, that’s not what I’m looking for.

Thing is, I don’t want a relationship. I don’t want to make a commitment to a hairstylist, and not just because I have a meager hoard of small talk that I need to save for when it counts. Because then they’ll know my Hairstory, which is a decades-long tale of woe and frizz and unasked-for celibacy. And if they know my hair, they’ll be able to tell what I do — and don’t do — to/for it. They’ll lecture me about how often I should be shampooing my hair, demonstrate complex and time-consuming techniques for drying it, and offer unsolicited suggestions on how to manage it — suggestions that I know I’ll not be able to implement. Plus, they’ll ask me to make decisions on hair-related issues over which I have no control, such as “Where do you usually part it?” or “Are you interested in having bangs?” or “How do you think you’ll be styling it exactly three weeks from now? Please provide as much detail as possible.” And they’ll couch it in terms of “So what does your hair normally do?”

And that’s the point. My hair doesn’t DO anything, and certainly not with any normalcy. Or rather, it does what it wants (and what it wants is not normal) and I have no say in the matter.

No amount of forensic styling*** will change that.

Which is why my birthday present is probably going to end up being a $5 trim from Great Clips or something. Which is just as well, because we have no money anyway.


*to whom the Mighty Genetic Lottery dealt a head of straight raven-black hair so glossy and thick that it could only be styled with an afro pick
**I am blessed to have good friends, but I am especially blessed to have awesome frenemies, who can be counted on to backhand me with bitchy, hilarious compliments like “Nice shirt. So how’s your first trimester going?” or  “Your resume looks almost as good as your interview suit, Lesbian Agent Scully. By which I mean, the ‘Experience’ section is Out There.”
***I once went to a place where they could tell exactly when I’d last had my hair trimmed, and — by examining the angles of my outgrown layers — managed to reconstruct my previous cut. It was, in a word, scary.
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One thought on “The Hair Up There

  1. Jenny O says:

    I am with you on not having a relationship with my hair. I just want it to sit there and not look TOO stupid. I have no interest in styling it, probably will stop dying it (no dye I’ve used will cover greys permanently), etc. Which makes me feel really out of place in the south, where if you don’t have highlights, a “style”, and straightening irons, bless your heart, you just look like you don’t CARE.

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