Women And Hair: A Fairytale With No Happy Ending

Family lore includes a story about my first bad haircut. I was about five-years-old, and it was cut very short. Now, short hair is cute, but mine was naturally curly and unpredictable. That doesn’t always look cute. I was unhappy and refused to leave the car once we returned home. My mom, clearly worn-out from having me as a daughter for five years already, went into the house and stupidly told my brothers not to say anything to me about my hair. Naturally, they came out to the car and pointed and laughed.

Thus began my never-ending journey towards accepting my hair.

I have always considered my curly hair to be a burden. (Along with the burden of being incredibly smart and humble.) It curls right when I want it to go left. It pokes out of ponytails in unattractive ways. It refused to be braided cleanly. It’s as poufy as Julia Roberts’s hair but less cute. Like by 100,000. I have had a hair stylist since I was double digits. No mere Super Cuts could handle me.

Um, not quite what mine would look like. Needs more pokey hairs going every which way. Photo Via demeter clarc


Oh sweetie, keep smiling; it distracts from the hair.

Oh sweetie, keep smiling; it distracts from the hair.


I can't imagine how long it must have took my mom to get it all in one direction. And, yes, I did wear purple at my First Communion.

I can’t imagine how long it must have taken my mom to get it all in one direction. And, yes, I did wear purple at my First Communion.

I have never been afraid to experiment with my hair. I got it permed a ton when that was a cool thing to do. But Stephanie, you said your hair is naturally curly; why would you perm it? I’m not sure, but I think I thought it would make the curls behave. Plus spiral perms were a thing, so I had to do it. The one good aspect was due to my hair’s natural wave, perms lasted about nine months. I’ve dyed it black, though you couldn’t tell. I’ve put blonde highlights in it. I’ve had it many lengths, sometimes all at once.

A friend and I heading to a bar mitzvah. This picture is just golden. The fashion, the hair....

A friend and I heading to a bar mitzvah. This picture is just golden. The fashion, the hair….

In high school I decided it wasn’t enough to be the skinniest girl ever with the sassiest mouth, I also wanted hair that made me stand out in a bad way. And my parents let me do it because they knew someday the only person who would be embarrassed was me.

Do you see it? That's right; I have a tail that I braided and held together with rainbow elastics. I dyed the tail black once too. Also, do you see my mom's hair? That's where mine came from.

Do you see it? That’s right; I have a tail that I braided and held together with rainbow elastics. I dyed the tail black once too. Also, do you see my mom’s hair? The genetics are strong in this family.

Like I said, I’ve always had a stylist, and it’s because my mom was sympathetic to my plight. She has never really loved her hair either. She used to put her hair around orange juice cans to straighten it. I’m sure that’s why she agreed to paying for my stylist to do my hair before my senior photos.

That's my hair on perm.

That’s my hair on perm.

The long and short of it (sorry, had to do it) is that women have a complicated relationship with hair. We want it off places where it naturally grows. If we have curly hair, we want straight hair, believing it to be much easier to style. And, oh my, the thing about being devoted to our stylists. We can’t even leave them when want to try some new ideas from a new person. We lie and say it’s totally comfortable to be bent at the neck while they wash our hair with scalding water for what feels like 20 minutes. We tell them we love the way they styled it and then brush it out in the car. Do men worry about their hair? Sure. Then they scratch something and move on. They do not obsess over it and buy magazines with impossible styles they think they can do in the five minutes they devote to hair care in the morning.

I am now spitting distance to 40 and have cut off the long hair once again. For now, I like it short and even let it go curly most of the time. Maybe this is me. Maybe this will be me for a long time. Or maybe I’ll get some purple highlights this summer……

Seminar Stephanie Is Back

My first blogging conference was last October’s Aiming Low NonCon. It was super fun and changed my life and gave me new friends and was awesome. Before I left for that conference, I let my fellow attendees know what to expect with a post titled, “Things You Should Know Before You Meet Me.” It was educational and fun because I enjoy making things two, two, two things in one.

Now my second blogging conference, Blissdom, is nigh upon me, and I wanted my future new friends to be prepared. In addition to the traits I outlined in the post above, I wanted to tell you how I was spending this final non-work day before the conference. Hint: I am blogging instead of packing.

1. Wake up covered in sweat due to nightmare about not making it on time to any sessions at Blissdom. Not even the one I want to go to the most, Megan Jordans session called, “Uninterrupted Thought: Power of Focus.” (You’ll see why I need this session in just a minute.)

2. Log on to computer just to check for that one email I was waiting for.

3. Time passes. Hours.

4. Decide I need to get going and take a peek at my to-do list app. Oh! I need to buy a pretty pad of paper to make my Blissdom-specific to-do list. Time to get dressed!

5. Astonishingly complete three other errands before zoning out for 45 minutes in the office supply store.

6. Yell for missing kids in office supply store.

7. Find them, give stern, yet highly ignorable lecture on staying in sight at all times.

8. Nugget Store (what my kids call McDonald’s) because it’s 1pm, and I guess my kids need to eat.

9. Home for a nutritious lunch and right on that to-do list.

10. Oh! Facebook updates!

11. Crap. Hustle the kids off to quiet time, so I can get down to real business.

12. Turn on light in laundry room and turn around to shoo Alex back into his room.

13. Check Twitter.

14. Notice light in laundry room and get back to sorting and washing clothes.

15. See Target bag with T-ball uniform still inside untouched and remember I need to get that cleaned and ready for Saturday’s first game.

Hey, what's in that bag? It's been there 3 weeks, so now it's gonna be a surprise!

Hey, what’s in that bag? It’s been there 3 weeks, so now it’s gonna be a surprise!

16. I have a cute new notepad! I get to use it to write down the T-ball reminder.

17. Grab office supply bag off kitchen counter and disburse all items including cute notepad.

18. Hey, that’s where my business card holder is! Sweet. I should totally put that on my packing list.

19. Did anyone respond to my Facebook post about attire for Friday night’s party? God, when am I going to shop for that? Better put it on the to-do list.

20. I have a cute new notepad! Tear off plastic cover and throw away. Dude, why is the lunch trash still out? sigh I have to do everything.

21. What’s that noise? Oh! The washer! Filling up without soap!

22. Repeat Step 15.

23. Start to-do list, boys’ packing list for Nana’s house, and my packing list.

24. OhMyGod that was just the biggest waste of most of a day. That would be funny for the blog.

25. Open computer again bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb, sorry, there was a glob of something on the ‘b’ button. I think it was food…..

You know what? I should probably close up this computer. And maybe throw it out the window. Hey, if you see me at Blissdom, will you check to make sure I packed the T-Ball uniforms?