Saturday, November 14, 2009

Splitting Hairs

My latest hair crisis began when I walked into my salon, and realized that S no longer worked there. I learned her name eight years ago because it was tattooed around her neck in large Gothic letters. We bonded because I am a teacher, and her six young children are into continual shenanigans during school. The entire herd was in elementary school and included a set of twins. With that many little ones, you have to pick your battles. "If the teacher hadn't let him take his shoe off at nap time, he wouldn't have had that shoe to throw at her," was her pragmatic take on the latest situation. These kids were the modern day Herdman's and I often longed for a pad and paper to take notes under my drape. I know S and I could have produced the next Great American Children's Novel. Albeit a dysfunctional version.

And that is when I made my critical mistake. I took The New Girl because I was in a hurry. (SPOILER ALERT: the six months it will take to grow out the Haircut Disaster of 2009 were not worth the minutes saved. I should have chosen Option B: Hold the salon in lock-down until S's new location was revealed.)

Deep sigh. New Girl managed to make my bang area look like each individual hair had been singed by burning matches. Seriously: every hair in that area of my head just raised its frayed end above my scalp in effigy of what a hair should not look like. I slunk home, resigned to even more bad hair days then normal.

My hair is a definition of Big Texas Hair Gone Wrong. My hair shafts are in open welcome to any drop of humidity in the air. Do you remember the episode of Friends when Monica went on her honeymoon? There was a running sight gag about the humidity around the island they were vacationing on. In each scene, her hair morphed into a bigger and bigger puffball of frizz. If I'd have darkened my hair, it could have been her hair's stand in.

Goodness knows I've tried to tame the mane over the years. You know the drill: it looks so beautiful in the chair after they've added multiple layers of product to it, along with ideal weather conditions within the salon. Married Daughter laughs every time I buy the dream by purchasing the recommended products. Because the reality? The salon door opens and there is a giant "BOING" as my hair is exposed the humidity that is Texas. And it does whatever it wants to. And laughs at me and my newly emptied pocketbook.

I remember becoming aware of a heated discussion among my fourth grade class, lo those many years ago. I tuned in to hear a boy asserting,"Well I think it looks like a donut!" to his opponent's,"No it doesn't: it looks like a bowl of Cheerios!"

They were commenting on my hair. "I'm standing right here you know!" Didn't matter. The debate raged. Must have been a very high humidity day.

Moving right along, (PLEASE, you are saying), after the Women of Faith conference a few weeks ago, my friends decided they should try and CHI my hair. (Is that a verb?) Somehow, 5 women and 4 teenagers materialized in front of A's upstairs bathroom to make this phenomenon of hair straightening begin. It was like a slumber party with a 350 degree torture element. But as E worked the hair, a slight miracle occurred: it began to obey, behave, lay down and actually take on the appearance of 'straight'. For the first time in my life I realized I might be able to have normal hair. Brought a tear to my eye.

The acid test occurred an hour later when we went out of the controlled environment of the house into the harsh elements of the world. Results: nothing. Hair remained straight.

Two days later the hair was still straight and I had done nothing to it. Usually I wash/blowdry around a brush/put in hot curlers for the satisfaction of a sixty second look in the mirror before the hair morphing frizz begins. But to do nothing and have good hair? The angels sang, and all was right with the world.

Next step: buy my own CHI. Slight panic attack as I realize they retail for about the cost of a car payment and there are at least 20 different varieties. Tried to call young daughter and anyone else I know who straightens their hair. Drat: no answers. Call sixteen year old sales girl over. She is helpful, chipper and all about straight hair care.

I'll have to admit my results at home are not as stellar as E's performance in Oklahoma (a style that lasted 3 days, may I add.) I decide to call in the big guns: my default stylist, P. When my inked friend S was unavailable in the past, I'd trust my hair to P and he did a good job. (He also saw me coming and sold me copious amounts of hair product to fuel my future Good Hair dreams.) I took the CHI in, and paid P to show me how to use it. WOW! he kept marveling over my CHI and its price. (Apparently innocent young sales girl had sold me the Top Of The Line, and I was none the wiser.)

Anyhoo, he cut and styled and CHIed, and I have a new hair look that does not include big. I will admit I'm not the pro that I'd like to be with the process. As if punishing my hair with 350 degree heat is not enough, sometimes I still add hot rollers to give the hair a slight flip. (Yes, I know that you can flip it with the CHI. The operative work in that last sentence is "you"; I am unable to do it yet without making my hair stand out at right angles.)

E has emailed me CHI tips: Always keep aloe vera lotion close by in case you burn your ear. If you drop the CHI, step back fast and never try to catch it. (She had a friend who tried to catch it: it hit her foot and she couldn't wear shoes for weeks.) It is a harmful tool. Treat it like a lady's chainsaw. Respect the CHI.

Thanks, E, for the head up. Or foots up in this instance. You've made my morning routine much easier, and my anger toward humidity-predicting weathermen seems to have died down. A bit.

To quote a friend, who is always trying to mix it up a little, "When is the last time you tried something for the first time?" Just saying.

(Edited to add: Did you know the man who owns CHI (and Biosilk) has just announced his intentions to run for governor of Texas, and will throw in his own $10 million war chest?

With this hair miracle? He has my vote.)


Locketts said...

First, thanks for the side-splitting laughter. I think your stylist may have had children in my first classroom. Second, as a fellow big-hair gal (remember crimping this mane?) I strongly recommend the Chi. I know you're a little product jaded, but Biosilk works wonders on my gigantic tresses. A little dab worked into the hair right before it dries not only smells like heaven, but keeps my hair silky smooth. Happy Chi-ing!

Dawn said...

Thanks for the chuckle this morning. I think we use (or, used!) the same stylist (seriously!) and I've met the children. I had just decided over the weekend to get a haircut for the holidays (I've been trying to let it grow out a little) and I'm quite distressed at the thought that "S" is gone and that "P" might have to be the standin. He's okay, but he's no "S."

Always use a product on your hair to protect it from the high heat of your straightener. My daughter straightens her hair and it can really become quite damaged if you don't.

Hope you have a great week!

Lynn said...

My daughter could understand your woes much better than I can. She has naturally curly hair that goes "big" in the humidity but mines goes completely flat, stuck to my head when I hit humidity!

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