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I can fix that, you know,” my stylist said, eyeing my curly bob as if it was a wild beast she needed to tame.
“No thanks,” I replied. “I’m okay with it the way it is.”
A look of shock flickered across her face. It wasn’t the first time I’ve had this kind of reaction to my hair. Vendors at those kiosks in malls that sell fancy flatirons salivate when they see me coming.
“Hi, Ma’am!” one called to me the other day, beaming as he ran up to me brandishing a flatiron. “Let me show you something that’ll change your life!”
I smiled, shook my head and kept walking. His grin morphed into a scowl of disbelief. How could someone in such dire need of help be foolish enough to turn it down?
His attitude isn’t surprising. Our society worships smooth hair. Especially if you’re a woman. On TV and in magazines, models and stars flaunt glossy, straight styles. Even celebrities whose curls I’ve always admired– Sarah Jessica-Parker and Taylor Swift come to mind —have gone straight in recent years. Blowout bars, Brazilian treatments and turbo-charged tools make it easier than ever for the average curly girl to follow suit.
There was a time when I would have jumped at any of these options. Every morning, I slathered my damp strands with one or more products guaranteed to banish frizz and deliver sleek locks. This was followed by a lengthy assault with a blow dryer and round brush. My efforts never produced the desired results.
When my daughter was born 12 years ago, I was forced to make peace with my curls. I could barely find time to shower, let alone spend hours battling my hair. Slowly, I discovered that the less I did to it—less washing, fewer products, no blow-drying–the better it behaved. There are still days when I look in the mirror and seriously consider shaving my head. But sometimes–when the stars are perfectly aligned, the weather conditions just right, and my hair is neither too clean nor too dirty–I actually like what I see.
Dorothy O’Donnell’s essay A Label She Loves appears in Mamas Write.
C is for Curls
April 3, 2014 By 13 Comments