I have hair. Quite a bit of it, actually, and for a few years, I wore it very long. Almost down to my ass long. There’s a lot of gray and silver in it, along with some of what a friend of mine calls “old-lady black.” There’s even a white streak at each temple, which Tam seems to think is beautiful. Back when it was long, I’d pull it into a pony tail to keep it out of my face, and every day my head would throb from the weight of all that hair.
It’s not curly, although it is quite wavy and will hold its shape much better now than it did back when I was actually trying to give it shape. In those days of curling irons, perms, coloring and other brain-numbing atrocities I submitted my hair to on a regular basis, it became…dull and not nice. Then one day, someone told me I have lovely hair, it was too bad I didn’t take better care of it. That’s when I started leaving it alone. Any processing that would get done to my hair would be done by the professionals.
It became the daily, or every-other-day shampooing, then towel dry, comb out and leave alone routine. Mind you, I have so much hair that it takes several hours for it to dry, especially when it’s long, so there would be the occasional going-over with the hair dryer because my head was cold or I needed to leave and look like I did not just get out of the shower. But that was it, and my hair began to recover.
Then I got poor and visits to my favorite hairdresser, a lovely woman I like to call Sasquatch, became nearly non existent. When I did get there, she would bemoan the fact that she missed my hair and wished she could play with it more often.
She would tease me about the strange hairs that would spring up, the ones that looked like rogue pubes sprouting from the top of my head. “But they’re curly,” I’d whine, “Why can’t they ALL be curly like that?”
“Because then you’d complain that they’re too curly and you wished you had nice thick hair with good body and shine.”
“I always wish for a good body.”
“Well, the wish was granted for your hair. It’s perfect, leave it alone.”
She would ask me how I kept it so nice and soft. “What do you use on it?” she would ask.
My answer would rarely change. “Whatever is cheap that doesn’t make my girlfriend sneeze.” The worst was when I’d given up shampoo and had been using baking soda to wash and vinegar to rinse. It was soft and glorious, shiny and manageable. And it reminded me of Easter.
“I hate you,” she whispered.
Then one day at work, a student took me down to the floor by grabbing my ponytail. It took three other adults to get her to let go, and by that time my scalp was throbbing. I got it cut. Short, as in, about collar length. It was a shock for a while, but I got used to it. But what I had the most trouble getting used to was not being able to wash it at night any more. Ok, technically, I CAN wash it at night, but sleeping with wet short hair is NOT the same as sleeping with wet LONG hair. The end result it much different.
It usually requires a total rewetting of the head thereby rendering the whole purpose of night-time showering moot, since I end up with wet hair for hours. This is not nice.
I suppose this wouldn’t be such an issue if I just used a hairdryer, but I hate hairdryers. They are loud and heavy. The one I had was not only loud, but occasionally it would grab some of my dry hairs that were flailing about in the hot artificial wind, and suck them into the air intake, thereby yanking them out of my head and making me say naughty words. When the hairdryer died, I did not mourn the loss. I mourned a warm, dry head, but that was all.
As my hair began to grow out, I decided to attempt nighttime hair washing again. That first morning I was awakened early by the telephone.
“Hi. It’s the 1980’s. We’d like our hair back, please.”
I ran to the bathroom and looked in the mirror. “Holy shit! I have a Flock of Seagulls on my head.” I immediately rinsed them out and did my best to style it with a comb. The end result wasn’t much better and I ended up wearing a headband (a.k.a. head(ache)band) that day. When I got to work, someone asked me what was following me. “It’s my hair,” I said, and I knew it was time to take a drastic step and replace the damn hairdryer.
But it’s been a while since I’ve used one, and I don’t know if it’s the shampoo or the conditioner, my lack of skill, or a combination of the three along with some sheer nonsense thrown in for good measure, but the early morning phone calls have increased.
First, it was Jeff Bridges demanding that I return his 90’s hair, and the 70’s were not about to be left out. Shawn Cassidy?!?
I cannot control my hair. Every morning it’s like that game, “Mystery Date” only instead of some guy behind the door I have mystery hair and some decade or pop star demanding it back. For the record, I do not consider Jeff Bridges a pop star.
Some mornings I have wings sprouting near my ears. Sometimes they’re tufts or a single handful of curls hanging out with the straight hair for a day. One morning my hair got so big, I had a hard time getting through the door to answer Tammy Faye Bakker’s demand for the return of her hair. Other times, it looks like I am the love child of Albert Einstein and Don King.
And it feels stiff and heavy.
I miss my long hair. It might have been heavy as hell, but it was soft and easy to take care of and maintain.
And the phone was never busy first thing in the morning.