Remember high school? Sure you do. Even though it’s been quite awhile since I’ve walked those hallowed halls, some traumas are burned into my little gray cells. For many girls it often involved hair, always has, still does. I wrote the following to answer a call for stories somewhere – can’t remember where – but they ignored me so I thought I’d share it with you. See my picture on the right there? That was taken last October when my sisters and I took our first ever "sisters only" trip to Charleston and Savannah. I had tortured my hair that morning and got a lot of the curl out. Yes - out. Not like so many of my friends who get curl put it. I torture my poor hair still - run to Walmart every June and get a straightening kit. My efforts last for a while and then the curls are back. Sigh – some problems just never go away.
“I love your hair,” she said with a half smile.
“Thank you!” I chirped. I’d just come out of the gym shower and was surprised and pleased by her remark. Then, as I rounded the corner heading for my gym locker, I heard the laughter. The girl and her friends were giggling and smirking in my direction.
“She thought I really meant it,” whispered the she-devil. Of course she didn’t love my hair. No one did, including me. I should have known.
When puberty hit, along with hair in other embarrassing places, came the tight fuzzy curls on my head that would plague my high school years. No matter what I did to it, Dippity Do, Aqua Net, or VO5 hair smoother (like petroleum jelly); my unruly hair would never behave. This was at a time when straight teased hair was the rage and I was the antithesis of that look. I was mocked at the bus stop, on the school bus, in music class and in gym. At home I spent hours in the bathroom trying to remedy the problem. Once I put it up in a French twist and a particularly nasty kid poked me in science class saying it looked like dog poop. And then when I was sixteen . . .
A new hair product came on the market called Curl Free. I devoured ads for it in teen magazines swooning over pictures of girls with smooth hair. Here was liberation and freedom from bullies in a box. I even fantasized it would make me cool. I saved every babysitting penny and at last I had salvation in my hands. I read the instructions intently, then hit the bathroom determined to change my fate. I glopped the stuff on, combed, rinsed and prayed with each step that my hair wouldn’t fall out during the night. But I had nothing to worry about.
The next day was glorious. I walked to the bus stop with my straight hair swinging and turned every head.
“Wow, look at you!” My friend Mardene nodded her approval.
The guys didn’t say much but their eyes told the story. I looked pretty darn good and my confidence soared. But the real triumph came in silencing my critics with my long, thick and very straight hair!