You know those dog rescue commercials that come on and they play that Sarah MacLaughlan song and then they show some raggedy poodle type dog who's fur looks like it has never --and could never ever -- be brushed out?
This dog got lost and it has spent the last 6 years wandering in the desert searching for its family, living on rabbits and sleeping under tumbleweeds and eating cactus for hydration. Until finally it reaches the family home only to find out that it was torn down so they could build another Subway so the dog just sits there and thinks about how crappy life really is and suddenly, magically, Sarah shows up and takes him to a great rescue place where they transform him into a Swan?
Well that never happened. But the fur?
That is what my hair was like growing up.
My hair was the bane of my mother's existence. I know she tried so hard to tame it. She would rinse it with vinegar and she would put No More Tangles on it but it was still a battle to get it kinda sorta brushed out. I remember her literally holding me down and whacking me with the brush to make me sit still while she tried to work out the tangles. She would say "Oh LeAnn look at all these rat's nests!" She was so frustrated. When she would try to braid it, it would immediately try to escape into every direction. It was coarse and dark and curly. I often had people ask if one of my parents was African American. Sometimes she made me boing curls (pipe curls) on Sunday for church and they would last for a little while before chaos set in once more.
Some of you might recall that back in the dark ages of my younger years the hair product industry was very limited. We had something like this.
Then there were blow dryers
And I sometimes I SLEPT in hard plastic curlers. Can you see the teeth in these things? They actually were made to puncture the scalp so they stayed in. In the morning my hair would still be damp.
If Curling irons existed we never had them growing up. Or blow dryers.
And my father often tried to help the situation by putting Brylcreem in my hair.
It is hard to find a comparison for this. Think Vaseline. Think Vaseline that smelled like a man. And not in a good way The slogan was "A Little Dab Will Do Ya" Think John Hamm in Mad Men. Well if a little dab would do him think of how many dabs it took to try to calm The Beast.
My mom had a pair of thinning shears and she was constantly chasing me down and taking a gigantic ball of hair off my head. I mean seriously-- she would sneak up on me while I was doing homework and start in on me. "Let me thin your hair. Just let me take some of that off. I just need to thin it" She was relentless. Eventually she would wear me down (just to make her shut up about it) and she would satisfy her yearning for hair control by whacking off a basketball sized ball of hair. You could never tell. I still looked like that poodle.
In 1976 Dorothy Hamill won the Olympic gold medal for women's ice skating and her wedge hair cut was THE style to have. I wanted that style more than anything. More than Ditto jeans. More than Baby Soft perfume. More than An Easy Bake Oven. Yeah, THAT bad.
I wanted to be short and sassy. I needed to be short and sassy.
I DESERVED TO BE SHORT AND SASSY
So my mom took me to a hair place where they attempted to give me a wedge cut. At the time I had hair to my waist. Crazy poodle hair. It looked like I was being attacked by my own hair.
And, though this is not me in this picture, this is what my hair looked like when she was done.
And I am truly not exaggerating. It was really bad. For a very long time.
I may have actually sobbed.
But, as we all know, life gets better as you grow up. Inventors make wonderful things like blow dryers and FrizzEase and Flat irons. You can afford a decent stylist. You can buy good shampoo that sits down with a yellow legal pad with your hair and helps your hair work out it's issues.
And maybe, finally, with the help of a great stylist and a blow dryer and some hot rollers and a flat iron and a barrel curling iron and a smaller curling iron and several dozen kinds of hair product--- you will get the wedge you always wanted.
You might be a menopausal granny, but you might get there eventually.
And I feel comforted because I know that my mom always wanted this for me.
And I am sure that my mother is looking down on me from heaven and seeing my current wedge-like hairstyle and thinking to herself....
If I could only get down there and thin it out a little........
If you want to look back on some products from the 1970s here is a fun website.