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Mpls, MN, United States

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Thursday, May 07, 2009


People with straight hair love to tell we curly girls how lucky we are. One of my favorite comments, from a former boss, was, "Boys like curly hair, because it's wild and sexy!"

Be that as it may (and I feel it rarely is, at least for me...), the curly-haired generally carry a lot of baggage. My adviser's hair is even more tightly curled, and less ruly, than mine, and after a dinner at her house a few weeks ago, a group of us, all women, found ourselves in her kitchen, talking about hair. My adviser and I know that growing up with curly hair is character forming. The straight-haired girls protested that they always wished they had curly hair, and that we couldn't really have struggled with such beautiful hair, etc.--but my adviser and I exchanged, in a single glance, a shared awareness that comes only from growing up curly, with its attendant torments.

I have made peace with my hair, and now generally like it quite a lot (though whether the fact that I don't really have Bad Hair Days anymore may be due less to any awesomeness on my hair's part than to general lack of caring on mine). I have gone very short and grown it out again, and refuse to be forced into keeping my hair in a certain length or style that I think works because I'm terrified to try anything else. I like experimenting!

However, having left many, many salons over the years in tears, or even, with better cuts, still having to fix them myself at home, I am still generally wary of getting my hair cut professionally. Since Ohio, I've been trimming--and occasionally really whacking away at it--fairly consistently, though I do still see the pros when I can afford it or when my hair really needs it.

I've been growing out last October's very short cut, and had done some trimming on the back several weeks ago, but things were generally getting quite strange and I wasn't sure how best to fix them, so I sought professional help and inspiration.

I haven't yet washed and styled this afternoon's cut myself, which means I only know half of it, but I actually can't remember the last time I didn't head home immediately following a haircut to do exactly that. You straight-haired lasses leave the salon looking like goddesses, all shiny and smooth and gorgeous, but we curly-haired girls leave looking like mushrooms, or dandelions, or other socially-undesirable plantlife. The stylist, no matter how sympathetic or "expert," rubs some very expensive product(s) into our hair, perhaps misting it lightly in an effort to reactivate curls that have been toweled, combed, stretched, and otherwise mauled, and often then diffuser-dries it and fluffs it. The result is never pretty, and although the cut may be perfectly decent, even the stylist generally seems rather chagrined (I'm not sure if this is because they don't remember what I looked like coming in--or because they do). Something about salon lighting, or seeing my reflection in the mirror in front of what invariably seems like a more attractive, tanned, and/or made-up stylist, always makes me feel rather unattractive anyway, and having puffy, frothy hair only makes me feel worse.*

Today, however, this new stylist cut my hair dry, then washed it, product-ed it while it was wet and happy, and then put in a fingerwave! And set me under one of those fabulous old-school hood dryers. I actually left the salon styled, and haven't yet washed it out.

I wasn't sure how I felt about it, though; it seemed a little weird, and my shadow walking home, with my narrow shoulders, thin neck, and newly-rounded hair, looked disturbingly like a Dum-Dum . Back at home, though, I started feeling better about the cut, and think I probably like it. The salon experience had the hallmarks of quality: the stylist looked at my hair dry and asked me about what I wanted; she resisted fluffing it into unrecognizability (though I helped in this area as I pointed out the problems to be fixed); she gladly accepted the creative license I granted her, and ran with it; and she washed my hair after cutting it, tidying up loose ends after letting it dry.

The whole finger-wave thing is too high-maintenance for daily wear, but it's a fun alternative, anyway. Inspiration actually struck spontaneously as she was styling; she wanted to showcase my red streak, with which she was mightily impressed.

Here are some more pictures from the lappy:

*Perhaps one of the reasons I kept going back to Jim, despite what were ultimately fairly mediocre haircuts that I had to fix at home, was that the reflection comparison was kinder.


Ern said...

It looks really cute. And you look happy, which only improves it more. :)

Curly Sue said...

Ooh, I really like the sleeked-down part in front, with the curly part in back. Very 1920s, very cool.

Also, to balance your perception of straight-haired girls walking out of salons looking like goddesses: at least you can trim your own without looking like you backed into a lawnmower. ANY unevenness in a haircut shows up with startling clarity on straight hair. Why do you think I'm wearing mine in The Wad lately?

The Churches said...

I LIKE the fingerwave! Sexy! (BTW, they made us do a million-bajillion of those things on mannequin heads in beauty school. And to what purpose? Do you see many fingerwaves walking around these days? ...Aside from your lovely self, that is? I still can't smell Dippity Doo without dry heaving.)
Anyway, back to you. Is that a picture of the gorgeous Daniel Craig on your wall? Nice eye-candy!

strovska said...

really cute! the last photo looks very amelie-ish. as a kind of fuzzy/wavy-haired person, i find the idea of "styling" curly hair after cutting without at least rewetting it horrifying. are these all straight-haired stylists you're talking about, and they just don't know better? also, the stylee always looks sick* in the salon mirror compared to the stylist. it's an unfortunate rule (at least when i'm the stylee).

*sick in the literal sense, not in the sense that Kids Today use it.

Anonymous said...

I think it looks adorable!!!!-db

Larissa said...

I really like the finger waves and I think the stylist was on to something when she decided to show off your red streak! I think you should definitely go back to her. You look so awesome in the first picture! (and the others, but the first one especially so.)