I do not have very good hair. I never have. I don’t have bad hair, but what I do have is very thin, very fine, and very, very straight–you know, except for the weird Jan Brady curls that appear naturally at my temples. I was three years old before my mother was comfortable calling the sparse stuff on my head “hair”. She said it really just looked like fuzz. I was five before I had grown enough hair that she could put ribbons in it. Ribbons, which promptly fell out.
I was thinking about it this morning because I bought tickets to see Duran Duran in March. I was a huge Duranie in high school. Huge. Ask my father, to whose chagrin I wallpapered my room with pinups from Smash Hits, Tiger Beat, and Teen. (What is a Tiger Beat? Ever ask yourself that?) I saw them in concert when I was 16, 17, and 18. The last time being March of 1989. What I was thinking this morning was about how cute I was in 1989, except for the hair. My hair was a woe.
I had cute hair in third grade. For most of my early childhood I wore a pixie and looked exactly like my son does today. I was frequently confused for a boy, and my androgynous name did me no favors. I loved (and to this day love) my third grade school picture. I have beautiful, shiny hair, to the shoulders, just perfect and lovely. I’m sure five minutes after the photo was taken, it looked like hay.
My hair was long until 8th grade, when my mother’s posh stylist convinced me to cut it into a poofy 80s bob. I let these people fool me into believing it was cute, but the camera doesn’t lie. My head looked like an isosceles triangle. It would be the start of a long struggle against my head and geometric shapes.
For my Freshman year, I went back to the pixie, which meant I had a perfectly round head, and back to being teased for looking like a boy. So I did what any other self-respecting 80s girl would do. I grew out half of it into the shape of a right-angled triangle. And got a perm. And pretended I thought it looked cool, even though it looked nothing like the perfection of Jill Peterson’s Nordic head, which I had hoped to emulate.
Middle of my junior year, the left side of my head caught up to the right and it wasn’t so bad. Actually, by the middle of my junior year, my hair was having a moment of actual goodness. Then, I got another perm. Then, over the summer, just before Senior pictures, my family traveled to Chicago and I thought, “If I get my hair cut in Chicago, that’s something to tell people.” Oh, I didn’t have to tell anyone.
I came home looking like I was wearing a square helmet of rice crispy treat on my head. I am smiling so tightly in my Senior portraits, that I could double for that bitter beer face man.
I swore I wasn’t touching my hair again. Ever. Until Halloween, and I decided to dye my naturally blonde hair black for the holiday. I figured if I got a rinse, everything would be fine. It was not fine. In fact, my hair was varying shades of not fine until around December of my Freshman year in college.
By the time March of 1989 rolled around, my hair was just about shoulder length, showing the ends of a perm, with bangs as big as I could make them, the color of moss in a pond. In short: A hot mess.
But everyone had bad hair in the 80s.
However, I did not achieve good hair (or anything remotely aspiring to good) until somewhere around 1994. That’s because I was too poor to afford to do anything to it. Should have clued me in, huh? As long as I leave it alone…
Well, there was the great heartbreak of ’96, and I cut all that glorious hair off. I went pixie again. I have not achieved hair greatness since. Oh, I have moments of cute, but never for longer than a couple of days in a row. And there was the perm debacle of ’08 that left me with bald spots for life. But all that said, I have a hundred times better hair in 2011 than I did in 1989.
So, for my first concert in 22 years, I am looking forward to having a shiny cap of nice hair to detract from my hips. Which–wow. I do not even want talk about the geometry that comes into play there.