I have hesitated to write this piece because one of my dear friends lost her hair to chemo and another has alopecia. So when I look in the mirror, I whisper, “Thank you G-d for my full head of hair and then I start swearing at it! I tell people my hair has a mind of its own which is shorthand for “I can’t do anything with it.”
My hair was not always such a problem. Until I started first grade, I had beautiful “rag curls.” My mother used strips of cloth with which she wound up sections of my hair. Amazingly, you can now check this process out on Pinterest. Once I started school, my father insisted that my hair be braided as he was afraid some boy would dunk one of my curls in the inkwell which was in the corner of each desk. (Hmm. I wonder if he had done this as a boy?!?) So my mother would French- braid my hair and then loop the braids and tie them so I looked like a little Swiss Miss. I wore my hair that way until the end of fifth grade at which point I was sent to the hairdresser to have my braids cut off. (I still have them.)
From then on, I always had some degree of short hair since It seems my hair grows out of shape quickly but never grows long. I was subjected to pin curls, professional permanents, and even a home permanent which left me looking like Bozo the Clown. As the years went by, fashion dictated the use of roller curlers and a hooded hair dryer. But it was once round-brushed-hair- drying came into vogue that my troubles began. If the hairdresser styles it, my hair looks great, but when I attempt it, which is, of course, most of the time, I have all sorts of problems. Cowlicks resist round-brushing, and I’m always in a hurry, so what I get is always frizzy. And, yes, I’ve tried every frizz-free product on the market.
One friend in particular used to comment on my frizz, and my own kids have been known to ask, “Can’t you do anything with your hair?” But the best was one day when I tried curling it and one of my second-grade ESL students looked at me and asked “What hap-pee you hair?” I ask myself that often. One day recently when someone at school was commenting on my hair, I said, “The most that can be said for my hair today is that it is clean!”
Dorothy C. Judd (c) 2015
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