Thursday, August 9

Sister Golden Hair Surprise

Not long ago I spoke at a book club for my adult novel, Fly Me to the Moon, and as I was signing books, a woman walked up to me and said, “Where’s your curly, frizzy hair?”

My hand immediately sprang to my head, smoothing my flat-ironed locks as I bit down on my lip, her disappointment ringing loud and clear. “Believe me,” I assured her. “It’s still there, still obstinate with a mind of it’s own. It’s just temporarily subdued for the evening, it’ll be back in full force by morning, I swear.”

I’m used to people thinking that book is autobiographical. After all, like the protagonist I too was a flight attendant and now I’m an author, but that’s all I’m willing to cop to. Well, that and my character’s temperamental hair.

Growing up, I never really thought much about my hair. It was long, wavy, and present. Demanding to be washed more often than I liked, but other than that, it went mostly ignored.

And then came seventh grade, and suddenly, it refused to do anything right, like it was plotting against me, sabotaging all of my efforts, clearly out to get me, and sadly things haven’t changed much since.

I’ve done just about everything a person could possibly do to their hair—
Big eighties perm? Check.
Japanese straightening? You bet.
Home dye job gone wrong? Um, yes.
Blonde ambition turned Brassy Rendition? Sad but true.

And after all these years, I still can’t figure out just what it should be when it grows up.

My best friend never changes her hair. Oh sure she may trim a few inches, before growing it back out a few more, but basically, it’s exactly the same as it was back in eighth grade. “Hey,” she says, smiling. “When it works, it works.”

And even though it definitely does work for her, I just couldn’t do it. It would feel too much like surrender, as though I was forfeiting the game before it really got started. So as long as I’ve still got the fight in me, it’ll continue to be my own personal work in progress.

So how about you? Any hair neuroses you’re willing to cop to??


Sara Hantz said...

I'm like your bf, my hair stays the same. Well, let's say it stays short with a variation on style. Occasionally I may try to grow it but I get fed up after a few months and have it all cut off.

In my teens and early twenties I can own up to it being a variety of colours.... pink, blue, blonde and many shades in between!

Erica Orloff said...

I'm often changing. I don't hate my hair--but I get bored. It's been punk, all different colors, long; now it's in a bob with streaks. I always figure "it's only hair"--I can grow it out or change it.

Alyson Noel said...

Hey Sara-
Wow- pink and blue-- cool!
I was once eggplant purple-- though not on purpose!

Alyson Noel said...

Erica, I totally agree, it's just hair, and so far, it still grows!

Kelly Parra said...

My mother was a hairstylist for many years, so I've been permed with different size rods, spiraled, long, chopped, layered, streaked, straightened, etc.

I still streak my bangs (lately red or pink) and cut it short, let it grow, cut it short. It's a continous battle because it's thick and unmanageable. :) :)

Brian Mandabach said...

When I was 17 my mom told me to get a haircut, or I would not be going to college. That was a great bluff to call.

Then, in my early 20's, she gleefully told me that my hair was thining, and that the length, along with her dad's genes, was the culprit.

Now, I am pretty bald. I miss it. I'd like to have ponytail again. I'd like to try a mohawk. But all I get is comments from my 8th graders about what kind of wax I use to get such a nice shine. :D

But I still let my freak flag fly!

Alyson Noel said...

Hey Kelly-
“Thick and unmanageable”—yup, me too! Though I’m loving all of these colors you guys are trying!

Hey Brian-
I cracked up at the college haircut threat! You know, back in the day, when my husband was a teen he had long hair and actually wore a short haired wig to work since they wouldn’t hire “long hairs” back then. Now, he’s like you—searching for that perfect can o’ wax—but I happen to like that look so it works!

TinaFerraro said...

I have wavy hair, which I used to straighten with a blow dryer or OJ cans (I washed them first--haha), but these I let it go natural. And I particularly like it when I'm in a humid climate (like Dallas last month) because it goes all curly...

Alyson Noel said...

Hey Tina-
Wow- you actually like humidity. . .someday I hope to attain this sort of "hair peace" but until then, I will stick with my non-humid, so Cal climate!

PS- My sister did the OJ can trick too!

bevrosenbaum said...

All through my school years, I was constantly changing my hair style. It got to be a big joke. (What's Bev's hair gonna be like this week?) But it seems I was only searching for the perfect hairdo. My hair's been the same for about five years now and I love it! (Now people are getting totally sick of it and keep bugging me to change it. Sigh.)

Alyson Noel said...

Hey Bev-
Like my BF says- "when it works, it works" and yours certainly works! Someday maybe I'll get there too. . .

Jennifer Lynn Barnes said...

I'm another person with thick, curly, does-what-it-wants-to hair. I don't mind it too much (Frizz Ease products are my friends), and as long as I'm chill with it curling, I don't really have to do anything to it. The biggest downside is that I've had the same haircut for pretty much my whole life- my hair freaks out if it's shorter than shoulder length, and if it gets too long, it's like walking around with a dumb-bell on my head, and I get really weighed down...

Alyson Noel said...

That dumb-bell comment cracks me up! But don't feel too bad about having the same hair all your life-- I've had plenty of bad haircuts for all of us combined!

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