One could argue that the entire decade was one huge hair incident, but I have something specific in mind…
“For someone so smart, you don’t have much common sense,” my mom used to tell me.
She’s right. Or she was right. I’d like to think that motherhood has boosted my common sense, while simultaneously sucking out my brain matter.
The Red Tights Incident of the Seventies comes to mind immediately, followed by the Hair Incident of the Eighties. Both occurred when no one else was around. Left to my own devices, I made bad choices.
The Hair Incident took place on the night of my first prom, a night that should have been my Cinderella moment. My Gunne Sax dress was a dream – yards of pale yellow satin that shined like my adolescent t-zone. I rolled my hair in my mother’s hard pink curlers, the same ones that I used for my horrid housewife Halloween costume only a few years before. I stroked iridescent eye shadow onto my lids, waiting impatiently for the curlers to do their magic.
Minutes before my boyfriend was due to pick me up, I removed the pink tubes and used my fingers to arrange the curls. I pulled one side up into a bobby pin, tucking some baby’s breath in just to look fancy. As I fastened the strand of pearls around my neck, I realized that a few dozen pieces of hair were an inch or two longer than the rest.
They were longer because they had not curled. I had a clump of straight hair hanging down below all my curls, and my date was ringing the doorbell. The night was a disaster; the world was ending. I bit my lip to stop the tears that would ruin my perfectly applied Maybelline Shine Free mascara.
What the hell was I going to do? I didn’t have time to recurl the misbehaving hair. I’d have to cut it.
I snipped the hair to the same length as the rest of my ‘do, but I could still see the straight strands peeking through.
So I used my common sense, and cut the hair at my scalp.
Problem solved! I slipped my sheer stockinged feet into my fabric heels, which were dyed the exact yellow shade as my dress, and gracefully wafted down the stairs to greet my date. His boutonniere was pinned, my corsage snapped around my wrist, and we headed to prom.
A week or two later, I felt a strange fuzzy lump on the top of my head. Only then did I realize my mistake. I was a straight A student, but I was completely clueless as to the growth cycle of human hair. When you cut a bunch of hair at the top of your head, it will grow straight up until it’s long enough to fall to the side. Duh.
As the fuzz grew into a mini mohawk, I looked like a cross between Pebbles Flintstone and Mr. T. Fortunately side parts were in fashion, and I wore a comb over until the hair was long enough to smash down with Dippity Do. And I never put my hair in curlers again.