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The Curlnundrum

Several months ago it occurred to me that I might be able to rock a Rhianna-esque fauxhawk so when I went in to get my hair cut I suggested it. The stylist looked appalled and said no way would she do that to me.

I second-guessed myself and didn’t fight for it but admitted defeat.

I don’t mind my curly hair. I had poker straight, thin hair as a little girl. My mom said that she’d put barrettes in my hair only to have them slide out. As I got a bit older we had a Sunday night ritual where I’d sit on a tall stool and she’d put pink sponge curlers in my hair then a blue net over top while I watched Walt Disney World. Monday morning, I’d wake up with big curls and she’d brush them out nicely.

And then I turned 11 and puberty hit. My hair started growing in thick and wiry and curly and uncontrollable.  It poofed out around my head like a parachute.

I remember an early spring day in Winnipeg that year, the snow mostly gone but still cool enough to need a jacket, I was outside pushing my doll stroller around the yard. My parents had some windows open to let the fresh spring air inside and I overheard my dad say to my mom something to the effect of, “What the hell are we going to do about that kid’s hair?”

It hadn’t occurred to me yet that it was an issue. I was in that in-between stage, still playing with dolls but transitioning into babysitting the real deal for pocket money. Still a little girl but in the body of a teenager. From that point on though, I could see myself with greater awareness and could also see that my hair was clownish. Early into Grade 7 I cut it short. Super short!

What I wanted was that awesome 80s style where you literally shave down nearly your whole head but leave a long wave of hair hanging down from the front of your head. I wanted to be punk. I won’t go down the story telling road now of how that wasn’t allowed and how I anguished over that unruly hair my entire teenage life. Actually I struggled to accept it short or long until I was about 30.

And then I welcomed it. What the heck! It’s a bit of a signature and though no man will ever be able to run his hands through it in some romantic gesture for fear of losing a finger, on accepting a challenge, I was once able to hide some 50 objects in it at summer camp.

And more often than not it’s schproinging wildly in all directions or cropped so short it does nothing at all, it’s mine and I’ll keep it. A fellow curly gal once offered to loan me her straightener but I wouldn’t know how to behave if I had straight hair.

Stylists always greet my hair and me, sometimes in that order. They seem compelled to make a comment about it as if it’s a third party to the event even though I’m pretty sure I’m the only one who ever pays the bill. They marvel, they talk to it, they grope; they say they wish they had it and then they remember that I’m attached to the mop-top and ask what I’d like done.

For the last several years, my challenge to different stylists has been, “What do you think? Looking at the shape of my face, what do you think I could do that might be fun and a bit edgy?”

If my hair is longer when I go in, they often refuse to cut it off without some sort of assurance. For whatever reason, it is apparently sacrilege to chop off curly locks even if you look deplorable in whatever style it has taken on. In one case, the stylist even made me sign a waiver that she wrote up on the spot that said I wouldn’t go after her legally if I didn’t like the cut.

And the cut that I usually end up walking out with is what I consider to be the generic middle-aged, suburban mom cut. It drives me WILD!!! It’s so boring! Yes I look good in it. Yes it looks good on my face shape. Yes it’s easy to take care of, but BOrrrrrrrring!

So today I walked into a place and the woman commanded me into her chair and said, “What are we doing?” and I said, “I don’t know. Just clean it up, I guess. I kind of like the mass of little curls all over my head so you could just clean up the nape and take a little off the top.”

“No,” she said.

I looked at her a bit surprised but not offended. Hope began to bloom in my heart.

“I’m giving you a fauxhawk. You’re perfect for that. I’ll shape it now and in about two months it will be the perfect length on top.”

And BOOM! She didn’t even wait for me to respond and started cutting away and the grin on my stupid face could have lit up the back side of the moon.

Finally I said to her that I’d suggested that very style months ago but the stylist wouldn’t do it.

“Well, I love cutting curly hair,” she said, hands flying, scissors snipping and snapping more by the feel of it rather than by any sort of calculated plan from what I could tell. “Too many stylists have no vision. They can’t see where the hair is going and how it’s going to end up.”

Cindy, with the gorgeous, sleek black, super long pony tail, an artist who freestyle shaves geometric patterns into the sides of men’s and boy’s buzz cuts, I think I love you. I love your flare and your confidence. I love that you’re willing to take a risk and have some fun and I love that you “got” me when I had already admitted defeat and was simply expecting the usual.

You kind of made my day.



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Posted by on January 21, 2014 in PonderQs


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