Hair Story

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Lady Gaga devoted a whole song to it, there's a musical named in its honor... So what's with our relationship to our hair and why do we think hair really matters?


This weekend was all about hair for me- I got a straightening treatment done on my normally frizzy bob, and I caught the Vidal Sassoon movie via Netflix on Demand.... Which got me thinking about hair- why it matters and why we get so emotional about it.

One of my earliest traumatic hair memories happened in the fifth grade. My mother was obsessed with curling my hair and thought it would be a good time to experiment with my first permanent wave or "perm" shortly before our class portrait section. I think, in her mind, she was picturing Shirley Temple ringlets, but my hair was too thick and unruly for that style, and when I tried to brush out the super tightness of the rings post-treatment, to my horror, the volume of frizz around my head multiplied, seemingly overnight.

Picture me then, awkward personified, with pleated shorts, bright pink sweatshirts, plastic frame glasses and braces on my teeth. The hair situation only enhanced the awkwardness of the prolonged awkwardness of my tweendom.

For years, I have fought the natural fight or flight instinct of my tresses. I've indulged in permanent waves (more than once, despite my better judgment), Japanese straightening perms (or thermal reconditioning treatments), salon quality blowouts and DIY hair shapers such as curling and straightening irons. After ditching the super sleek look of my permanently straightened hair in the early '00s, I have returned to that look once again via a Japanese straight perm courtesy of a random Japanese salon I found in Chelsea under the careful guidance of Yoshi, my stylist with really keen intuition about my hair but limited English skills, which, in retrospect, could have turned out to be another hair disaster.

Why should hair matter so much to us? What does it say about our self-worth, our fragile sense of being? And why, for heaven's sake, can one person's mean, passing comment about that bundle of protein over our heads make us feel as if we have been mortally wounded; while one person's passive or casual comment about the chicness of our 'do can make us feel the very opposite- as if we have achieved something, that we are going places.

Have you ever felt empowered or weakened by a haircut? Why does hair matter so much anyway?

9 comments:

ella said...

Such an opportune post as I am still lamenting over the digital perm I got recently in K-town with a lady that did not speak english. I now have the same hair do as I did in the 9th grade. And you knew me back then, so just picture it. UGH.

hair re-growth shampoo said...

I love that C style haircut. Her looks really fit in her hair. Do you have more photos about your hair? I do really love to see it.

Dreamer221 said...

Nice haircut!

Syed said...

I didn't even know I had curly hair till I was about 15. My parents always made me cut it as soon as it got a little wavy, and made it keep it fully combed. As soon as I stopped and I got a little length and I saw how curly it was. Now I pretty much have ringlets! Growing it out though, so currently in the awkward phase -.-

LocalCeleb said...

I chopped all my hair off once, Halle Berry style and felt so bizarre.. I thought people would think I was boyish or something.. I never cut it again that short..

http://www.localcelebz.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

gorgeous hair! I have had the same hairstyle for like decades now...I wish can pull that off! you are gorgeous!

Marissa, www.afterflats.com

Kristina said...

hair is super important! It's like semi-permanent makeup. It affects how you feel and how you are outwardly perceived by others, and you're stuck with it for at least a month before it grows out (or in the case of bangs, several months)

So Fashionable said...

I have ponder this on many an occasion too. We humans are complex, and seemingly odd creatures, and our obsession with hair confirms it.

michelyah said...

I've done a lot of experimentation with my hair. My most recent shocker was when I went completely bald. For most it was a drastic change...I was the girl that always had black hair down her back and suddenly I was rocking a GI jane do. I must say....it was refreshing. No need to style, dry or anything to it. I think every female should try a drastic change just once.

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