Everybody has a bad hair day now and then, right? Nope. Not me. I don’t have bad hair days. Never have ’em…at least not since high school. I know what you’re thinking…what’s your secret? No secret. Hair days, bad or good are simply a state of mind. Bad hair days are more about what’s in your head, than what’s on it.
Decide to like your hair, just the way it is, and you’ll never have another bad hair day. Nothing and nobody can turn a good hair day bad when you decide to like your hair. Trust me. I know.
I have straight hair. “Poker straight,” my mom would call it. It’s straight and predictable and I’ve decided I like it just the way it is. In snow, or rain, or heat, or gloomy 100 percent humidity it’s always the same. No captivating curls, I know, but no frizzies or fly-aways or funky cowlicks to contend with either. It’s straight and I’ve decided I’d rather like it than hate it.
My hair is my best physical attribute…that and my teeth. I have nice teeth too. Probably it has something to do with calcium or not sucking my thumb as a child. Anyway, for some reason, my hair brings out the worst in people. I can’t explain it, but it does.
I am the recipient of recurrent unsolicited advice from hairdressers. It’s odd, but frequently when I’m out and about minding my own business, a complete stranger (typically a hair care professional or salon owner) will offer, without provocation, to “fix” my hair. I’m not kidding. One high-and-mighty self-proclaimed hair guru even had the nerve to “fluff” the back of my hair for emphasis.
It’s happened to me in grocery stores. It’s happened in the bleachers at my son’s baseball game. It’s happened during a tennis match. It’s happened to me countless times and most recently it happened in Starbucks on West Paces Ferry Road.
It was just another ordinary day and I decided to treat myself to one of those fancy-schmancy cups of coffee. I was innocently waiting in line for my tall skinny pumpkin latte when a woman I’d never met approached me. Let’s call her “Jane.”
“Hi. My name is Jane.” I noticed her hair was pinned up in a haphazard twisty chignon thing. You know, the sort of thing you do when your hair is greasy and you don’t have time to wash it.
“Nice to meet you. I’m Antoinette,” I replied. (NOTE: No mention of dirty hair. That would be rude.)
“Pardon me for staring at your roots. Have you ever considered being a hair model?”
“Wow! No, why?” The hint of a smile threatened to betray me. Hair model! Me? I was flattered. Of course, I’d completely missed the part where she’d confessed to staring at my roots.
“I’m a hairstylist.” She handed me her business card and it hit me. She was, from head to toe, dressed in hues of gray and black. How did I miss that?
“Yes. I’m a color specialist and…” she paused to give me a furtive condescending once-over. (NOTE: No I’m not paranoid; it was an insidiously condescending gesture.)
She continued. “We’re launching a new line of organic color products. I think they would be perfect for you.” Her tone was more demeaning than gratuitous. Clearly my ensemble – yoga pants, faded t-shirt, and Birkenstocks – had not eluded her prejudicial eye.
“Oh. I see.” I began to inch away from her.
“SKINNY PUMPKIN LATTE!” The barista hollered, giving me just the excuse I needed to make a clean break.
“Over here,” I raised my hand and rushed up to the counter.
Ms. Jane-The-Hairstylist-With-Dirty-Hair (not exactly a walking billboard) was on my heels, urging me to consider the opportunity. When it became obvious I was headed for the exit she closed in on me.
Essentially it came down to this. She was desperate for someone with a bad dye job (hard to come by in Buckhead I suppose) on which to demonstrate a dramatic makeover with her new organic product and I was the perfect bad hair model.
“No thanks,” I said and merely smiled.
Here’s the thing. I was not sporting a bad dye job. Maybe my roots needed a bit of touching-up, but they weren’t that bad. I don’t have bad hair days and I don’t have bad hair. Even back in high school I didn’t have bad hair.
What I had was a series of bad hair days connected by futile teenaged attempts to attain the unattainable. I was born with straight hair and I wanted curls. I wanted that Farah Fawcett hairdo that all the popular girls had, but no amount of ammonium thioglycolate acid was going to do the trick. I just had to figure it out for myself.
Flashbacks of awful perms and curling iron misadventures make me cringe to this day. I’m not the only one tortured by these memories. An old high school friend (a hairstylist…of course) recently accused me of suffering from “perm solution induced psychosis,” a reference to my string of 1,460 consecutive deplorable hair days back in the 1970s…back when I hated my hair.
I’ve come full circle. I can’t pinpoint when it happened, but one day I decided I’d rather like my hair than hate it. It’s straight and predictable. In snow, or rain, or heat, or gloomy 100 percent humidity my hair is straight. No captivating curls, I know, but no frizzies or fly-aways or funky cowlicks to contend with either. Best of all, no bad hair days because bad hair days are more about what’s in your head, than what’s on it.
So here’s a message to all you hairstylists feeling compelled to make the world a better place, one unruly head at a time. Thanks, but no thanks. And another thing, the next time you have the audacity to offer me unsolicited advice, you’d be wise to remember this. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.