Friday, August 31, 2007

Yet Another Self-Indulgent Post About My Hair

See, the reason that I am so in love with my hair right now is because for such a long time I hated it. I used to torture it, too. Carson Kressley would have gasped at the amount of hair spray and other product I used to put into it. I was trying to make it fuller, thicker, etc. and it perpetually remained flat, dull, and thin.

Once, when I got it cut, the hairdresser held up a few limp strands in her hand and said “Darling, you’ve got baby-fine hair. It looks like your hair just never grew up!”

And then I decided I couldn’t afford to get it cut every month (I had a perpetual chin-length bob for about… wow, ten years) and I was just going to let it do its thing. Whatever. I was tired of it.

As the bob grew out, I stopped using styling products to try and keep the ends turned under (another thing my hair would never do – turn under properly). With the absence of corporate-sponsored goo, my hair began to look better. It began to thicken. I stopped handing it over to Midwestern cosmetology graduates who used all kinds of crazy shears and razors on its ends. It liked me much better for it.

And so here I am, with twelve inches more hair than I had this time last year, in much better condition. Particularly because I’ve just started adding a “magical Indian Ayurvedic conditioner” that I don’t believe is sold in the U.S. and probably contains all kinds of anti-FDA ingredients but I swear is making my hair grow longer overnight. (Yes, I know that it was already growing longer overnight. Just… indulge me.)

The point of this post, however, is that I seem to be putting it up in ways that both confound and amaze my students. The coronet, for example. Today when I met some students outside of the theatre building, they stopped and asked me “how I had gotten my hair to do that.”

“It’s very easy,” I said. “Braid one side, pin it on top of the head, then braid the other side and pin it on top of the head.”

I demonstrated.

“It’s very beautiful,” one of the female students said. “It makes you look so… exotic!”

The other one, which surprised me a little more, came on a day when I wore my hair in two knots behind my ears. Not exactly Princess Leia, but not the anime-fetishist’s odango atama either. Lower, on the back of the neck. (I'd share a picture, really, but I can't find one. Maybe I'm the only person ever to do this with her hair.)

“I have never seen anyone wear her hair like that before,” one of the visiting faculty said. “How did you make it stay up?”

This I thought should have been quite obvious, but sometimes mysterious and exotic things have to be explained.

“Do you know how to make one bun here, at the back of your neck?” I asked.


“It is exactly the same,” I said, “only you make two.”

I think if all else fails I’ll set up a Hyderabadi beauty salon.

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