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The Curse of Curls

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Every six months or so, I become obsessed with the idea of straightening my hair.


I have experimented with everything from straightening creams to the latest flat-iron devices in an attempt to achieve that sleek, straight style that has been so popular for the last few years.


Sometimes, I have been very successful in my pursuit for curl-free locks. By adding just an hour or so of daily work to my hair routine, I can get my hair to straighten out for about twenty minutes. Yep, twenty minutes. That seems to be the magical time. After twenty minutes, no matter what straightening regimen I employ, I inevitably feel the boing, boing, boing of my curls bouncing back into place.


Growing up with curly hair was always a challenge especially during the teen years when everything about one’s appearance is so important. So, after a few embarrassing moments, I composed a set of hair rules to guide me through life:


No Convertible Rides. My friends with long, straight hair looked absolutely dazzling in convertibles as their hair blew back gently in the cool breeze. When the car ride was over, they had that sexy mussed up look that drove guys crazy. They actually looked better after the convertible ride than before.


When I dared to ride in a convertible, my hair did not flow gently back in the wind. No, my fair flew upwards, outwards and everywhere. By the time the ride in the convertible was over, I looked like Albert Einstein. While this is not a bad look for a scientific genius; it is an extremely bad look for a chick trying to get a date for the prom. FYI, the no convertible rule is the one rule I have not broken since my high school years. I have also made an addendum to this rule to include no motorcycles. You would think that a helmet might help my hair cause, but you would be so, so very wrong.


No Baseball Caps. Girls and women with straight hair use baseball caps to hide their less than perfect coiffed heads. They look cute, tomboyish, and ready for whatever outdoor activity is planned. When I put on a baseball cap, the hair that goes under the cap gets pushed down and forced to the side of my head. What does this look like? Ronald McDonald on steroids.


I admit that I do break this rule at the beach. I have to because I like to swim and dive in the waves and that gets my hair wet. Salt water and curls are not a good mix, so the baseball cap becomes the lesser of two evils. You must trust me on this. I speak from experience.


When one has curly, frizzy hair, every important event in life is met with a prayer of desperation that goes like this: “Please, don’t let it rain or be muggy!” Me, I never cared if I got wet; I just cared what the weather would do to my hair. Would I be able to keep it in place for that special dance or prom or was I going to have that Bride of Frankenstein look going on?


As I look back, I cannot believe that I picked the end of August to get married. That was just begging for trouble, and as it turned out, my wedding day was 98º F in the shade. No one to blame for that one except me. Luckily, a can of hairspray kept my hair in line at least through the ceremony. I might have damaged the ozone layer that day with the amount of aerosol spray I let into the atmosphere, but something had to give, and it was not going to be my hair.


My husband, who is now what the politically correct society calls follicly challenged, reminds me that it is better to have my hair than no hair—although if you ask him that in the morning before I have a chance to wet down my unruly mop, he might change his mind. I have on occasion scared him.


I know that many of you are saying that I am a shallow person for worrying about something as minor as hair. And the mature person in me agrees with this, but let he or she who is without hair conditioner and styling gel cast the first stone.

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