Have you ever had some silky-haired woman lift up your locks — your angry, frizzy locks — and say to you, “Oh, how I wish I had curly hair like yours"?
Did you secretly scoff at the silky-haired woman because she has never known pain in her whole smooth, shiny life?
Have you ever brushed your hair and it’s 10 feet wide after? Did you ever decide to get a cute bob because you saw some picture of Coco Chanel and decided you’d look just like her if you cut your hair that way, only to emerge from the beauty salon with your new bob and realize you looked exactly like George Washington?
Then you are probably my people. My curly-haired people.
The thing is, my hair isn’t even all that curly. It’s more … excitably wavy. It has moods. Some days it coils in an S-shape like Shakira only with dishonest hips, and some days it looks more like elbow macaroni — if your elbow macaroni were really frizzy.
What I’m saying to you is: My hair is out of control, dawg, and if I were a dog, I’d be an ungroomed, nervous poodle.
Depending on the weather and how much gel I can pack on, my hair has been compared to General Custer's, Voltaire's and Rocky Dennis's (the guy from "Mask"). In all cases, these comparisons have rung true.
While the rest of you are working to get volume in your tresses, those of us with curls are doing everything in our power to weigh this crap down. And my hair isn’t just curly-ish. It’s also coarse, fat and angry. Once, in science class, we had to measure one strand under the microscope and I had the biggest hair in the room. This was no surprise, given the rest of the fright wig atop my head.
Some curly women spend a long time with a round brush and a blow dryer, trying to fight nature with heat and pull-pull-pulling their way to straight hair. When I try that, my hair looks like a horse’s tail. It gets this straight-but-not-remotely-smooth look. “Yes, I was trying to look like a member of the Doobie Brothers!”
Finally, in desperation, I spent several hundred dollars and a whole afternoon getting my hair chemically straightened. And I came out? Like one of the silky girls! Oh, it was fabulous. I could run my fingers through it and not lose a digit! I could toss it around and not cut a bitch next to me on the bus! It was straight! It was flat! It was … not me.
After about a day, I hated it. All those years of abhorring my curls, and wishing I were an Asian woman with blue-black, straight, shiny hair, then once my follicles hung flat, it didn’t seem right. I have, you know, a lot of personality. My hair went with it.
So I grew that $300 chemical job out. And I read the "Curly Girl Handbook" on how to make my hair less offensive, and I highly recommend it. Now most days I’m more Peter Frampton on the cover of "I’m in You" than "Frampton Comes Alive." (Peter Frampton? If you read this, call me. I am lovely, as you can tell from this piece, and we’d have giant-haired children together.)
Once, in an episode of "Sex and the City" (Shut up. I loved that show. And Sarah Jessica Parker is one of my hair soul mates.), Carrie comes up with a theory that there are two kinds of women in the world: the simple girls and the curly girls. She uses Barbra Streisand’s curly-haired character in "The Way We Were" as an example. Curly girls are complicated, not easy, just like their hair.
So there it is. My hair is messy and large. It calls attention to itself and is, frankly, sometimes unbearable. But you don’t want to tame it, because it’s the very absurdity of it that makes it great.
And that is why I finally like my hair.
It reminds me of me.