Saturday, April 26, 2008

BIG Hair a la Sally

I come from a family of BIG hair. Our hair is thick, unruly, and curly and has a life of its own. Perhaps that is why I have always been obsessed with hair. I have spent countless years trying to control ‘my lid’ so that it would not overtake me or my life.

Every doll I have ever owned became a victim of my scissors so that I could unleash and express my creative side. I progressed to chopping my own hair when I was five. I can still hear my mother’s wail about my looking like “a boy” and stating that she already had “4 boys and only 1 girl”.

Eventually I graduated to cutting my brothers hair for years. When I got my scissors to them, they referred to me as “José Eber”. I was flattered because José was my icon. José is the leading long haired hair maven. He created the original Farrah wings, the Cher mane, the historic age of wash and wear hair and he showed women how to embrace our own personal style. I watch everything José is doing, have read his books, and I so want to experience his work on my own hair someday.

There was a time when I seriously considered becoming a hairstylist. I would dream about opening a salon and calling it “Jacqui’s Cut & Curl”. Retrospectively my salon name sucks; furthermore, my dad thought I would make a better nurse, which should tell you something about what he thought of my hair creations. I think my dad likened my hair design skills more to a Sweeny Todd character running a tonsorial shop rather than being in the vanguard of beauty like José. What my father never realized was that inside every ICU nurse was a hairstylist screaming to get out, as we snipped our patients hair with suture scissors to leave them looking well groomed and in the perfect “assessment position” at the end of our shift.

Like Sally Allbright in the movie When Harry Met Sally the episodes of my life can be seen through my hairstyles. Thankfully I missed the 60s beehive but I did the 70s Farrah Flip and the afro. The 80s were the height of my singleton days and I’m convinced that I was born when I was, so that I could experience the 80s era. What set the 80s hairstyles apart was their diversity. The start of the decade saw the extravagance of strange hair colours and cuts. By 1984 the trends had settled and focused on one simple concept - volume. More hair was better. Your hair could go up, out and down. It could look like you put your head in a candy floss machine - as long as it wasn't straight! I didn’t even have to try. I had it made.

I was screwed when the 90s saw the return of straighter and more controlled hairstyles. No matter what I tried, my efforts always resulted in big hair. I looked like a Texan. So in an effort to control my hair and my impulse to cherish the 80s I cut my hair as short as I could for as long as I could.

Recently I decided it was time to grow my hair out. That was fine at first, but the longer my hair gets the more unruly and curly it becomes. I invested in a flat iron and tried that for awhile. I hate it and I hate straight hair. So I’m at the crossroads, BIG hair or short cropped hair? Then I heard José`s inner voice say to me, "Shake Your Head, Darling", so I`m letting my hair go au natural and embracing my own personal style. The current flat hair is boring. Who knows, maybe I’ll start a trend towards the return of BIG hair. If not, I still have my trusty suture scissors and short hair is good, it works for me.

So to celebrate my own personal style and uniqueness, I’m going to watch for the 50th time the movie When Harry Met Sally tonight. I never did learn how to “fake it”. OH, and did I forget to say that "Meg Ryan has the best hair of anyone I’ve ever seen and it’s BIG!"