Friday, September 28, 2012

A very hairy situation

My hair has often dictated my mood, especially in high school.

My earliest memory: I'm four standing in my grandma's kitchen gazing at the ceramic Dutch girl and boy figurines painted red, blue and yellow, hanging on the wall. She tells me they are images of me and my cousin, her first granddaughter/grandson. Grandma has me in her clutches, literally. She stares at me, we're eye to eye; she has a pincher grip on my chin. "Hold still. I'm only going to trim your bangs."

She runs a comb through my tangled tresses and I squirm. "You're tender-headed."

Yeah, well why didn't she lighten up? That certainly set my jaw and frown wrinkle.

When Grandma wasn't around, my mom did the dastardly deed, only she never stooped to my level. She had the same vise-grip chin hold, but she could never write on unlined paper without the words scrolling uphill. When she saw my lopsided bangs, she'd gasp and attempt to straighten the angle. Higher and higher she trimmed until I looked like I had a forehead mustache tuft.

Now if that's not bad enough, she wanted me to have banana curls for kindergarten. The curling iron had green painted wooden handles and a small metal barrel. When I saw the blue flame on the gas stove with no pot on the burner, I knew the singe wasn't far off. Mom heated the barrel, then wrapped a thick strand of my hair around it. She couldn't time it any better than she could cut straight. I hated the smell of burnt hair.

Last evening I went through a box of old stuff that has been tucked in the closet for years. The first thing I pulled out was that dumb curling iron. That was enough to evoke a nose wrinkling frown. But when I pulled out an old Barbie doll, I thought I'd hit the goldmine. I picked her up, turned her over and looked at the date on her neck; she was an oldie goldie, with platinum hair and a puckered, painted mouth.

I laid her on the desk, and when I picked her up again, she was bald. Not as in her wig fell off. Her hair disintegrated into fine blonde dust. It was enough to make me pucker up.



11 comments:

Kim said...

My nightly torture came from pink sponge rollers and a mother who brushed like she was trying to rid the world of knots.

Poor bald Barbie! I wonder what her hair was made of?

Janet Smart said...

Oh no! I remember the short bangs.There is a picture I have hanging on the wall of me and my two sisters. I am 5 yrs old and they are 5 and 7 years older than I am. All of our bangs are short, buy my poor oldest sister's hair has been chopped worse than ours. I remember washing the hair of my one and only Barbie once, her beautiful blond wavy ponytail turned out straight and rough like straw!

Mevely317 said...

Whoa, can I ever identify with your opening line!
All my life, my hair has been unusually thin and fine ... then, around my 10th birthday, my parents decided a "pixie" cut seemed appropriate. Aaaaargh!

Loved your "Barbie" scenario!

Susan said...

Funny one, Linda. Are your sure your Mummy, at one time, didn't get her hands on that Barbie ? hee hee

I remember being told that I got ahold of scissors when I was a little kid and gave my OWN bangs a good cut. Don't remember.

I do remember getting weird haircuts that I called "pee pot" haircuts. Looked like an old chamber pot had been placed around my thin hair and whatever whisps were left showing, were trimmed.

Thanks for the memories. Susan

Kathy's Klothesline said...

My sister had the Shirley Temple curls until she was 12. Mother would use "pin curls" and make her sleep with these to achieve this feat of hair style not designed for a girl that age. I got off easy, my hair refusing to cooperate with her designs. Straight, fine fly-away mousy brown hair. She could french braid and I hated when she was determined to tame my hair into braids. Mother cared little about tender scalps and my eyes would be pulled so tight that I looked Oriental.

Mother went on to become a beautition when I was 10. She practised on us. I distinctly remember goint to school wearing a hat to cover my permed bangs, yes, just the bangs!

Sioux said...

I learned a valuable lesson with my Barbie dolls. When you cut their hair (or your trolls' hair) it does NOT grow back.

I had pixie hair cuts in school. Too much of tomboy for long hair/banana curls...

Bookie said...

Oh, your bang stories brought back a lot of HAIR memories...I think I have enough for a HAIR essay!

thisisme said...

Oh, that was a funny post Linda. I had never heard of bangs before, until my American bloggy friends started to mention them! Poor bald Barbie!! I always had long ringlets, which my mum would do to perfection!!! Oh dear.

Val said...

My poor red-headed sister had to feel the wrath of a metal rat tail comb every morning before school. My hair seemed to comb into place with no problem. But Mom would have Sis crying her eyes out while yanking that instrument of torture through her limp locks. "Look at it! It got all ratted up overnight!" Which is something I think the rat tail comb was designed to DO, not UNDO.

Joanne Noragon said...

I don't recall my mother cutting my bangs, although she must have cut them, as I have them in pictures. My sister remembers, though. Scotch tape across the forehead and them the cut.

Carol said...

Yep. Had the bangs incident time and again as a child.
I used to cut my daughter's hair when she was little. It always came out great, though!