I've had a lifetime of conflict about my hair. Growing up in Arkansas, my mother sent me for regular haircuts with her friend Virginia who ran a beauty shop out of her home. I would find out later that Virginia also styled hair at the morgue prior to funeral viewings. I imagine the deceased's experience was no better than mine, because I felt as if a bowl descended and wham! there went the scissors in the geekiest style, the object being to cut each hair to form a smiley face. One look at my childhood portraits, and case made. Looking at pictures of my mother when she was that age shows she was subjected to the same from her mother. I was outright jealous that my older sister Laura Jean (who also got 2 names vs. my one) was able to keep enough hair in the back for a pony tail, and I never figured out why I got (literally) the short end of the deal. But hey, it's only hair, and once a teenager and almost out of my home, I enjoyed a lifetime of hair experimentation.
My senior year I was skinny as a stick, and worshiped Twiggy, even tagged by that nickname from my classmates. With short tent dresses, short Twiggy hair and lots of mascara, I was in heaven. College was not so kind. Bypassing the "Freshman 10", I gained 35-40 pounds by the end of Freshman year, which called for a drastic change in hair to divert the focus. It grew out, and the following year, in the midst of protesting classes and attending Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin concerts, my hair went downright unruly.
There are times when you don't have a choice over your hair (or lack thereof), as I found myself 8 years ago, having been diagnosed with Breast Cancer and opting for the maximum rounds of Chemo. With a little help from a very talented Dallas wig-maker, "Esmeralda" became my best friend. Her most masterful performance was when I was invited to a private lunch with Rudy Giuliani by friend Cynthia O'Connor. I flew to New York just for the day, and the winds could not have been fiercer. Esmerelda stayed put, and the press pic made a sweet memory.
While in high school, Alysa recruited me for a photo project. She shot me bald, scarved and with Esmerelda. When my hair finally started to grow in, it was "Chemo hair" curly. Somehow my highlights turned red, and when I look back, it's hard to believe I thought I looked good. Charles hates redheads, but in kindness, never brought it up. When it comes to my hair, he rolls his eyes, and goes with the flow!
My generation didn't have control over their hair, usually, so it's nice to be grown up and play. After gushing over my best friend Melanie's new hair style -- she confided compliments of a Brazilian Blowout -- in a New York moment the next day, I got one too. Then back in Dallas, I went back to bangs after abandoning them for years. I love them, at least for now. Bangs with benefits include: not having to put makeup on my forehead and slightly covering up my never-fully-grown-in-after-chemo eyebrows. The compliments from friends have surprised me. InStyle just published "Find the Best Bangs for Your Face Shape", but I just trust my guy to snip away. Mine are somewhere between Lea Michele and Claudia Schiffer, although no other body parts have anything to do with those sirens. I think InStyle should have included Anna Wintour's bangs which, to me, are downright professional looking and mysterious at the same time, and very fashionable for our similar ages. So I guess I'm in my Lea Michele - Claudia Schiffer - Anna Wintour moment which is not a bad place to be, and look forward to the next, whatever that is. Stay tuned.