Saturday, March 12, 2011


I'm hair-impaired. No, this isn't actually me, but like this lady, I have hair-issues. And though you won't find Hair-Impaired on any known list of groups granted governmental or civil libertarian protection, let me assure you that having a bad hair day can be just as crippling. I've been late for dates, appointments, even church because I needed a complete re-do on an irritatingly disobedient do. I bet you've done it too.

I also have a flat head. I have to assume that my mother was ahead of her time, placing me to sleep on my back long before pediatricians declared that position to be the Holy Grail of infant rest. Or maybe it's genetic. My mother has a rounded head, but she wears a wig 24/7, so who really knows? And my father? Well . . . he wore a flat-top, and that cut makes everyone's head seem flat in back.

So take a flat-headed woman, give her difficult hair, and compound her problems by also leaving her devoid of any natural hair-styling abilities, and you've got a person in need of a serious support group.

For years I asked my stylist if I had enough gray to warrant coloring my hair. I always enjoyed her enthusiastic, "You? Not for a long time." And then one day there was a pause in her assessment, and then next trip the answer was a gum-snapping, "Yeah . . . we really ought to address this before it gets worse." Worse?

The grays have taken over. I mean, like a good infantryman, I battle back against the encroaching enemy line, but they are a new generation of combatant. Gray hairs have a mind and constitution all their own. They don't easily obey the round brush, or the blow dryer. In fact, they often mock the blow dryer, sadistically using the heat to advance their own wild, split-ended agenda. Ohhhhhh. . . I've seen it, ladies! I've lived it!

And my problems are not unique to me. I've seen the spirits of other brave women broken by errant hair. I ask you, why was such a needful topic like hair not universally addressed in public school? I'm not talking Cosmetology-level courses which, like AP Bio and History, are clearly constructed for future professionals in those fields. No, I mean, why wasn't it a PE elective like Health? I ask you, which life skill is more universally needful--Hair Care 101 or Volleyball? Which is more likely to be detrimental to getting hired--a mangy mop of hair, or a sloppy serve from the baseline? I think we can all agree on this.

It may be too late for me, or for the poor daughter I abused by repeatedly putting her hair in the same Princess Leia side-knots for seven years, but I urge all mothers to set aside the flash cards, the soccer drills and the oboe lessons long enough to skill your girl on basic hair. You'll all thank me someday.


  1. I read this and I laughed and cried. (Well not really cried per se but you know what I mean). I have no hair skill. Which is why the hair always ends up in a ponytail. I need more creative ways to get it away from my eyes and yet have it look polished and nice.

  2. Though my talented mother taught me many things, hair skill was not one of them. I didn't learn it on my own, either. But I will not harm the next generation with my lack of style: I only have boys.