Thursday, April 25, 2013

It's a Hair Thing

Why do I love Debbie Wasserman Schultz? Until we were so rudely gerrymandered apart, DWS was my representative. I loved to listen to her, follow her career, plan for her political future. But no, that wasn’t it. It was the hair, the curly yellow hair.
All of us who are blessed/cursed with curls can identify. I grew up in the 60s, the era of long, straight, shiny, parted in the middle, hair that went right along with the long, thin legs and bodies that were the ideal. And I had this mop of mud-colored stuff that was identified as hair.
When my mother was accosted in the supermarket by one of her friends to tattle on my newly bleached blond tresses, my mother’s response was “I did it for her.” The hair might have been turned from mud to yellow, but it was still curly/frizzy/impossible. We tried everything: heat, irons, chemicals, big rollers, frozen juice cans. Nothing worked. The curls were no more cooperative than the GOP.
My wedding day dawned warm and free of humidity and we were all able to breathe easier. My hair was as cooperative as my husband. A day at the beach—not so much. We all laugh at the hats, wigs, scarves, and misery. Fighting with curly hair was a war that lasted much longer than the one in Afghanistan.
That was then. Look at a picture of a group of Congresspeople. You can always pick out DWS; her hair identifies her. Two years ago I attended a conference with 1500 neurologists. They kept coming up to me and asking me where we had met before. No, we hadn’t met. They just recognized me by my Facebook page, the picture with the curly yellow hair.
Fighting with this hair has been a second job for me. Liberation came in the form of a book that told me never to use shampoo. I only use shampoo twice a year, when I frost my hair, and my hair isn’t smelly or greasy, what a concept. Yes, I frost it myself, another advantage of having curly hair. You can do everything yourself. I cut it, color it, frost it, style it, do it all myself. The curls hide all the mistakes. How much money have I saved in the last 40 years?
One of the biggest problems used to be drying time. Yes, drying time is a problem in more ways than one. I finally solved the nail polish dilemma with a UV topcoat, but hair drying is another story. You can’t use a hair dryer on curly hair.
When I lived in New York, my hair used to freeze while I was waiting for the Long Island Railroad train on the platform in Port Washington. It was then that I learned all about the Eskimos and their igloos. Once my hair dried solid, my head felt warm inside.
Now I live in Florida and my hair no longer freezes when it’s wet, but if I have an early appointment, either I arrive with a wet, stringy mop on my head or I have to get up in the middle of the night to wet my hair, the only way the curly hair manual taught me to handle my hair every day. Eureka, this week I figured out a solution: braids. If I braid my hair in a few places before I go to sleep, I can get up and take out the braids and my hair is good to go. See, you’re never too old to learn something new.

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