Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A hair too fussy

I may be in the last third of my life, but I can't believe I'm still going through the straight-hair vs. curly hair internal debate. A few  years ago, I gave up blow drying my wavy, sort-of-curly hair straight and embraced (also sort of) my natural curls. I say "natural" with an asterisk: *Making it look acceptable involved these steps: 1) rub some kind of gook for curly hair into it, 2) scrunch for about a half-hour (while eating breakfast), 3) go over the scrunched curls with the diffuser dryer, and 4) heat up the curling iron to better define those stubborn few strands.

This may sound exhausting, but it really isn't so bad, and I got used to it. Still, I envied women with straight, shiny, silky—and youthful—tresses. I pined over every shampoo and conditioner ad that featured a swirl of glossy hair. Every once in a while I thought about blow drying it straight, just for a day or so, but I'd get lazy and do the usual. But just last week the temperature and humidity plummeted, a snowstorm kept me at home, and I was bored. I fished out my old straight hair tools and tried  to turn a layered bob into a sleek hairdo. And it worked! Never mind that I couldn't see out of my right eye because of the silky hunk of hair hanging in front of it. I felt sexy!

To give this look equal time, I'll describe my multi-step method: 1) blow-dry my hair with what some might consider an antique: an oblong dryer that has an attachable comb or brush; 2) place large Velcro rollers throughout for volume, and spritz each with hair spray  (then eat breakfast); 3) remove the rollers and gently comb out the hair. Except for the more arduous arm lifting, both methods are about the same amount of trouble. And people liked the "new" look. (The photo here is an example, but it's not a current one.)

I'm sure I'll go back to curls in a few days. The issue is that I'm still not sure how I want to look and what style is best for me. I still have straight hair envy but feel silly about not embracing the curls that often bring compliments. Isn't this the decade of acceptance? If not, there's always the next one. Bring on the 70s! (But not too quickly.)