While most people have the occasional bad hair day, I have the occasional good hair day.
It all started when I was little. My older sister Annie had long, thick, dark brown hair. It was beautiful, that is after she and mother fought their way through its knots and tangles. My mother, wisely not wanting to waste her time in battle with a second head of hair, kept my hair in a short pixie. Think 1960s Twiggy. Now picture that haircut on a tiny little girl who in no way resembled a fashion model. With a round face and cheeks, I was not a pixie. I spent my childhood looking like a cute little boy.
As I got older, I vowed to let my hair grow. But I never ended up with my sister's lustrous mane. My hair was straight, limp and an insipid brown. Yes, my mother was right. But I could not admit that, so all through the '70s, I kept my shapeless hairstyle. I still kind of looked like a boy, because that was how boys wore their hair then, too.
And then Farrah Fawcett changed everything. Remember her? The fabulous smile and those wondrous bouncy waves? We all got her cut. Layers, flips and wings, which for those of you too young to remember, were short bits that framed the face and were supposed to flip up sexily. Or, at least they did on Farrah. To see what the rest of us looked like, pick up a high school yearbook from 1978 and you will see what I mean. The horror!
In the '80s, still looking like a member of Motley Crue, I got a permanent. It was wonderful! My hair was curly, soft and lovely. (It was during those glorious three months that I met my husband. This is perhaps just a coincidence.) You would think that my hair problem was over and I would forever live in permanent, wavy, bliss, but I was not so lucky. My permanent was actually permanent - it never grew out like it was supposed to, it just grew into a frizzy, kinky mess. I was told that every now and then the chemicals "shocked" the hair roots for good. I have no idea if this is scientifically possible, but that is what happened to me.
So now, of course, since my hair responds unreasonably to chemicals, I will not risk getting another permanent or straightening treatment. If I leave my hair alone, it is wild and unruly. I am far too uncoordinated to straighten my hair by blow drying, and even if I get it straightened professionally, the slightest hint of moisture causes it to poof. The type of cut or stylist doesn't seem to matter. So I continue to try different conditioners. With silicone. No silicone. Olive oil. Conditioners for ethnic hair. A Moisture Velvet Nourishing Treatment for Dry Hair from Shu Uemura actually worked pretty well, but at $85 a jar, I cannot bring myself to buy it regularly. And now that my hair is turning gray, the texture is getting worse. I would go back to my mother's idea and cut it all off, but my cheeks are still full and my face even rounder, and I just can't face being both menopausal and boyish at the same time.
Take a peek at the photos below to see how my hair has changed over the past 50 years and keep clicking through to see some famous curly haired icons.