Hair Me Out by Judith Ann Moriarty – The Storyteller

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Now that Kate Middleton has chopped her locks, the Royal family is set to move forward. It just won’t do to have long locks dragging and dipping into little Georgie’s porridge will it?

Having gone through multiple hair styles in my long life, I now cut my white hairs with manicure scissors, at whim, whether or not said hairs need cutting. I’m low maintenance, but it’s good that we have persons involved in the art of cutting, coloring, perming, etc. hair. Oh I forgot the art of “blow drying.” I get my blow-dry jobs in the summer when the top is down on my Retro baby blue Thunderbird, now entering year twelve of surviving my driving errors. She’s a good old girl, a bit picky now and then, but aren’t we all.

How many hours did my mother stand and wrap my hair in long strips of cloth, fashioning Shirley Temple curls, sausage like, so I would look like Little Miss Marker. In an effort to seal the deal, I also endured tap dancing lessons.

In the good old days (anything past tense I now consider to be good and old) I tortured my hair with red dye (Rita Hayworth} mixed to produce a Copper Penny with a hit of Sherry. It took lots of maintenance because my hair was 70s straight and parted down the middle .The beauticians used to run and hide when they saw me coming because they’d be fussing with my pate for hours. My mother died in the 80s and it was too hot to wear loads of hair and travel to Kansas City to make sure my two brothers didn’t run off with my sister’s share of her money. Or my share. The method I selected to look cool and feel cool was a bit over the top, and believe me I took more than a bit off the top and the side and the back.

And I cut it myself with dog clippers. Buzz, buzz, buzz. It fell to the ground in heaps. Gone red. Then I mixed up a deadly paste of 100% hair bleach (powder form) and covered my pate until it was cooked to a pure white coif. My grandgirl was only two and she screamed when she visited me and saw what I had done. In fact she screamed and ran. Yeah, it was a big change, but I wore it buzz cut for a decade until I woke up one morning and realized I was too old to wear a Sinead O’Connor style. So I began the process of letting it grow and thrive the way hair is meant to thrive. But I never went back to dyeing it. Now that I’m white and crinkled, who really cares?

Over the years I wore every style invented to drive men crazy: braids, hounds’ ears, pageboy with bangs (tinted a bit with mom’s food coloring). Before moving on to ponytails, poodle cuts, and then what was that Bo Derek hairstyle, oh yeah beads and such. The beauticians at my local hair place said it was their first ever call for a “Bo Derek.” The clacking clacking of the beads drove me bonkers. I even tried the flip, and brace yourself, the towering Afro. It was the times folks. Was there really anything worse than the Nehru jacket? I made my husband wear one, fearing that we’d drop off the social register if we didn’t look hip. Somewhere along the hair route I tried a Marge Simpson, but without the neon blue dye.

As the years wore on and I graduated from the Toni perms of my childhood, I gained new respect for beauticians who have the arduous job of making their clients look good and feel good. In the early 90s I had a near disaster by asking an obviously inexperienced beautician, to give me the tightest curls ever, something BIG and Boss. I almost lost the hair on my head. When she took out the tiny perm rods, quite a bit of hair came with them. But I had hair to spare I didn’t chew her out because it was I who played the fool, not she.

One more memory..when my dyed tresses were waist length and gorgeous, I dined at a small café in Monterey, California. Two guys took me aside as I exited the powder room. They handed me a card indicating they worked for Clairol, and would I be interested in being a hair model? I stammered that I was married with three kids. But you betcha I was flattered.

These days, I have too much scalp peeking thru. Wigs won’t help, I’ve been there done that. A la Eva Gabor. The early ones were terrible. Then there was the Jackie O fall that when pinned in place made you look not like Jackie O, but like the victim of recent head surgery wherein a lump was planted at the crown.

But my daughter-in-law wears extensions that remind me of Rapunzel, Rapunzel, Let Down Your Hair. A guy friend of mine got really upset when he visited his mother and she pointed out that he had a bald spot the size of a quarter on the back of his heard. It’s gotten bigger, inflation being what it is, it is now silver dollar size. Men can solve this by taking the chic route of shaving their heads thus giving them the aura of bowling balls. Sometimes I’ll see a guy with shoulder length tresses, a carry-over hippie style more or less Richard Branson comes to mind. But since I’m from the 40s & 50s, the good old flat top cut just so is what I love to see guys sporting, given that they have hair enough to sport. Men who dye their hair (okay, let’s be honest here) look like men with dyed hair, but the ladies I know would rather expire than show white roots.

West Bend seems to have a wealth or beauty salons or whatever they are called. When I moved up here I begin to wonder how there could possibly be enough clients around town. But apparently there are more than enough.

Thanks for Hairing me out readers…



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