Saturday, February 16, 2008

My Life In Hair

by Caren Crane

I have posted lots of comments about my hair lately. All this hair talk led me to reflect on my hair and the role it has played in my life. Hair is the single most defining feature of a person, for me, and having uncooperative hair ruins my entire day. History, hairstory, it's one and the same in my world. So indulge me and let's take a trip down hair memory lane.

1968: I have pics of me with the classic pixie haircut (rather like the poor child in this picture). Unfortunately, I had insanely crooked teeth (even as a toddler) and a big, goofy smile. My hair was then (as it is now) fine and straight with no discernable body. An unfortunate style for me, but I'm sure it was low-maintenance for my poor mother.

1977: A new hairdo swept the country: the Dorothy Hamill. See how cute Dorothy was? I was not so cute, but Dorothy seduced me. I was 12 and anxious for a real haircut. Since the pixie days my hair had been long and straight, with rather unfortunate bangs. I bit the bullet and got the Dorothy Hamill. The sad results may be seen in my junior high yearbook pictures, though I did develop amazing skills with the blow dryer and curling iron in these years.

1979: High school. I spent countless hours in front of the mirror curling, brushing, lifting and spraying. Finally, I succumbed to the trend of the early '80s: the perm. My poor mother permed my hair countless times, cussing and swearing never to do it again every time. The results were not quite like the ones seen here, but close. I segued from long (frankly, very attractive) permed hair to a short and incredibly unattractive Princess-Diana type cut in 1982. I still have no idea why I cut off all my gorgeous curly hair, but we lived in Houston at the time and I was sweltering, seventeen and depressed. I'm sure that's what did it.

1984: Beware the savage jaw, indeed (that's for you Bowie fans!). College and working in a women's clothing store required me to step up the hair. My hair was asymmetrical, rather like this pic in spirit, except it was a little longer and it was the 80s, so I punked it up with DEP and it stood straight up on top. I was hip, happening and way too cool for school. Which could be the reason I ended up withdrawing from college for a couple of years before finding my way back - to engineering school! (I had the best hair in the college of engineering - okay, there wasn't much competition. *g*)

1991: At this point, I was working in the corporate world, had a young child and not much money. For several years, the hair was long and straight, mainly pulled back in a ponytail, with bangs. But I got it cut regularly, deep conditioned, did hot oil treatments and always paid lots of attention to the bangs. Bangs: feathered, sometimes sideswept. Ponytail: high, low, teased at crown, you name it. Whatever I could muster the energy to do, I did!

1999: Sometime in the late 90s, I emerged from the fog of having three young children and decided I needed, once again, a real haircut. After quite a bit of searching, I found the long layers of my dreams. My hair looked quite like this picture. I loved it, even though it took 20 minutes of blow drying and three round brushes to style. It was dead sexy. *sigh* Remind me, why did I ever cut it off?

2006: Oh, yes. Now that I was past a significant birthday, I felt the need to lose the long, sexy layers. (At this point, some dear friend should have slapped me silly, but alas none are quite as take-charge as I am. *sigh*) My hair had been trending shorter over the years and in 2006, I went short and sassy. Thus, I ended up with the hair you see in my picture on the right of the blog. So cute (but not dead sexy)!

Today: Right now, I am letting it grow a little longer again, easing back toward medium-length layers. Maybe I'll be happy with that for a few months. Maybe it will help me bring sexy back. Please!

I have, as you can guess, spared you the many hairstyles in between - and there were more than I can recall. I am defined by my hair and it invariably reflects how I feel about myself and my life. I can't even get into hair color right now, that's a whole 'nother blog! Sometimes I fear it's incredibly shallow and vain of me, but most of the time I just glance sidelong into mirrors as I pass and admire my handiwork. *g*

So, how do you feel about your hair? Do you wash and go or, like me, spend far too much time styling, spraying, and adjusting each strand? Have you fallen victim to any trendy hairstyles? I can't wait to hear everyone's hairstory!


Jennifer Y. said...


Caren Crane said...

OMG, Jennifer, I'm still trying to get the pics right! *eg* You sly thing, you!

Jennifer Y. said...

My hair and I have a love-hate relationship...somedays I love it, somedays I hate it.

I am a wash and go person. I have never had my hair colored, permed, or really anything major (other than a few cuts) done to it. I have had my fair share of awful haircuts. I had really long hair (I mean down to below the waist) until my aunt chopped it all off when I was in second grade (I looked like a boy)...since then it has been various lengths...right now it is a long again...and I need to get it cut (been over 2 years)...I don't really care about my hair and usually just put it up in a clip. I think it knows about my disinterest and tries to strangle me during the night on purpose. I always wake up with my hair in my face.

Jennifer Y. said...

sorry...couldn't sleep so I decided to cruise the Net...LOL.

Caren Crane said...

Ha! Jennifer, your hair trying to strangle you story reminds me of a good friend of mine. Like you, she has naturally great hair. When I met her it was to her waist, gorgeous and curly. Her hair has killed many a small appliance and several vacuum cleaners.

As I said, I do not have great hair. I have horrible hair that I force to respond to torturous heating devices and very expensive product. Enjoy your natural bounty, but beware: hair never sleeps...

p226 said...

hahaha, ok, this will be a short saga for me.

Birth to age 14: long blond completely unruly curly do. Think Sammy Hagar on the 5150 tour.

Age 14 - 26 or so: High and tight. Military high school followed by the Marines.

Age 26 - present: Cranial-follicle recession leading to me saying #### it, and generally keeping it shaved like a queue ball.

My wife says bald is sexy. Uh huh.

Helen said...

Congrats Jennifer

Loved the post Caren you have gone to a lot of trouble with your hair too much for me I am a wash and go girl always have been. As a young girl I always had really long hair very straight and thick my mother had it cut short in 3rd grade cleopatra style yuk then we let it grow again during the late 60's the short shag as it was called became popular and yes I had that for a while then let it grow again during the 70's very long straight hair often with silver streaks down the front strips.
The day I got married I went to the hairdressers at 7-00am with my own curlers and she came to my place at 430 in the afternoon took the curlers out and my hair was still straight and wet we found heated curlers but as the night went on it became staighter and staighter it has a mind of its own. I kept it long till about 1981 when I had it cut really short and permed but they don't last long so now I keep it very short I used to colour it sometimes but have deceided to go grey elegently.
I don't even own a hair dryer wash it before work and wind the window down on the way to dry it I am lazy with my hair but it is thick and strong and I like it.
Have Fun

jo robertson said...

Great topic, Caren. I envy those of you who are wash and go girls.

OMG, Hair! It's the single most stressful part of my grooming. I have horrible, horrible hair. It has a thousand cowlicks that angle every which way. It must be coddled like a spoiled child. It's thick in the back and thin towards the hairline. It's ALWAYS been difficult.

But the funny thing is I've always gotten lots of compliments from people who say what great hair aI have or they want their hairdressers to fix their hair like mine. Are they crazy???!!!

The other funny thing is that ALL of my seven chidren have GREAT hair, thick, full, silky. On my really bad hair days, I hate my children.

Aunty Cindy said...

My we are chatty tonight. Glad you are feeling better Jennifer Y. You must be to sneak in and grab the GR back, right?

AHEM! Do not believe Jo-mama! She has GREAT hair! If only mine looked that good ultra short. Alas, it does not.

Like you Caren, mine was always straight and baby-fine, and of course, I ALWAYS wanted it curly and full of body. I did the gamut of torture devices -- perms, hot rollers, dryers and curling irons. I still use the latter two.

I started going grey in my 30s, and unfortunately with black hair every grey shows, so I kept it colored for about ten years. But wonder of wonders! The grey hair actually had CURL! Then, right before I quit my day job, I stopped coloring it. At first it was a SHOCK at how much silver there was, but now I LOVE IT! And I only have to curl the front out of my eyes and the sides so they lay back.

It took me DECADES but I finally do have great hair!


Aunty Cindy said...

P.S. p226 I agree with your wife. That buzzed bald look IS sexy!

flchen1 said...

Oooh! Congrats, JenniferY!

Caren, very cute post! I'm way too lazy to do anything with my hair, so by default, I'm a wash and go kind of girl. Usually that means pulled back into a ponytail, now that it's grown back long enough to do that with...

Aside from one ill-advised perm in high school (you know, back when that Heather Locklear feathered look was SO in), I haven't done much with my hair. I grow it out, chop it off (and usually donate it), then repeat. A bit boring, alas! Caren, maybe you can give me hair advice when we go gift shopping, OK? ;)

Christine Wells said...

Hi Caren, I had to laugh about your hairstory. Mine is not nearly so turgid, and really ranges from the boring bob to the unstyled long hair, to the Natalie Imbrouglia choppy look, the Jennifer Anniston layers and finally, long again. I'm lucky if I get time to blow dry at the moment, so I always ask hairdressers to do something easy to style. I don't think they quite know the meaning of the words, though and my hair is very fine, so not great at holding styles anyway. I love giving my heroines thick, luxuriant locks. Makes up for my troublesome tresses!

Jennifer Y, you are a sneaky one! Hope you're taking good care of our rooster!

Eva S said...

Hi Caren,
your story and the pictures so reminded my of my own youth! When I was younger I could never decide about long or short, so I tried many different hairstyles (my poor hair!)but nowadays I'm to lazy to do anything more than wash and go. Right now it's rather long when I wait for my neurosurgery (wouldn't want to look bald afterwards,for a guy it's just sexy, do you hear p226!) but then it will be short again.

Congrats Jennifer, I hope you and GR have nice weather, we had -15C yesterday, the coldest day of this winter...

Caren Crane said...

P226, I have often ranted (sometimes edging toward bitter) about how men don't have to *do* anything with their hair. So unfair!

My husband has really thick hair, but it's unrelentingly straight and has the cowlick from Hades. So, he blow dries it. You would think that five minutes was the most excruciating of torture devices. Five minutes!

Never mind, I'm getting bitter again. *g*

Caren Crane said...

Helen, I dream of hair like yours! Alas, if left to its own devices, my hair would look like a little boy's--not in a good way. That poor child with the pixie in my post? That's what my hair looks like. So sad! Enjoy your windblown 'do, Helen!

Caren Crane said...

Jo, my soul sister! Everyone I know thinks I have good hair, too. they don't realize it's the product of intense labor on my part. Work, people, and hair products. But, I suppose for both of us, it's a compliment that folks think we have *good hair*. Ha!

I give all the credit to Jesus (my hairdresser, not the Messiah).

Caren Crane said...

AC, you lucky girl! What a windfall that curly hair is! I'm not sure I will know whether I have curly gray hair, since I would have to let it gray to find out. It may be many more years before I decide to perform that experience.

I love hair color--adore it! Also, if you color your hair, it makes it more porous, so all the hair product actually works. Otherwise, it just lays on top of your hair and weighs it down. I have a few grays so far, but not enough to be worried about "showing".

I'll cross that (terrifying) graying bridge when I get there. I'm sure there will be a blog post about it. Maybe lots. *g*

Caren Crane said...

Fedora, how wonderful that you donate your hair! Alas, no self-respecting organization would want my hair, even if I could grow it that long (which I couldn't). *sigh*

I think donating your hair is a marvelous, selfless gift. I have known entire Girl Scout troops to do that and had several girls in my troop over the years who have. I always thought wanting to help someone more than wanting to keep one's long, gorgeous hair was the height of sacrificial giving.

Good on you!

Caren Crane said...

Christine, you're just where I was in the early-to-mid 90s! Those insane days with little kids where you're lucky to get to wash your hair, much less style it. Those were my ponytail years.

I have to say, prenatal vitamins are FABULOUS for the hair! I had the best hair of my life when I was pregnant. Unfortunately, they don't recommend those vitamins for unpregnant people, or I would take them every day!

Enjoy the madness while the boys are little and keep doing whatever you manage to do to your hair. Too soon, those days will end and you'll have time to look in the mirror and think, "Who is that woman? She needs a new hairstyle!" At least, that's what happened to me. *g*

Caren Crane said...

Eva, best of luck with your surgery! It's nice you were able to grow it out beforehand. I'm sure it will be a relief when the whole thing is over and your hair will certainly not be your main concern!

The thing I love most about hair is that no matter how ill-advised the style or how wacky, it is just hair and it will grow back!

Well, unless you're P226, when it may grow back, but leave some friends behind. *g* P226, I love that you just sucked it up like a man and decided to shave your head. That's the way to do it!

Deb Marlowe said...

Caren, I have never known you not to have absolutely gorgeous hair, so all of that morning sacrifice is well worth it!

I used to have long hair. When I reached the point that it was no longer age appropriate, I had it cut. The lady listened to not a word I said and scalped me! Who did I call? CAREN! She came and was lovely and reassuring, even though I didn't believe a word she said. I met my dh and kids right after having it cut and they walked right past me, didn't even know it was me. I'm just sayin'....

And p226, bald is sexy! I tell my dh, just remember Jean-Luc Picard! HOT!

Caren Crane said...

Christine, my heroines always have hair that is gorgeous and requires NO CARE at all! I suppose we get it where we can take it. *g*

And Eva, BRR!! Minus 15 degrees C?! I'm not sure I could survive where you live. For one thing, I would have to wear hats and they would ruin my hair! *g*

Caren Crane said...

Fedora, I meant to say I am always available for hair consults!

Deb, yes, the scalping was painful and yet, it was just hair and it grew back out. But the waiting and figuring out what to do with it is HORRIBLE.

For years, I could only afford budget haircuts. I decided that it didn't matter what the style looked like, because I could always make it look the way I wanted. So, I learned to do that.

I'm not sure that's a talent, though, so much as just being incredibly vain and obstinate. Character flaw alert!

Claudia Dain said...

Caren! My sistah!

Hair is everything. There is no denying the power and the demands of hair. I have never, ever not paid attention to my hair and bowed to its every whim.

Pixie cut, which actually looked cute on me and hey, I'm still wearing a version of it, was my mother's dream cut.

Pony tail, which my mother pulled into such a tight rubberband so it would last all day at school, left me with a bald spot where the rubberband pulled out all my hair. Back to the pixie cut.

Long and curled, hot rollers every morning before high school, flat by lunch. And by long I mean to my bra strap---that's as long as my hair will grow, and that's after growing it for eight years.

Chin length led to another pixie cut, this time in a razored version with spiky bangs, you're seeing a pattern, right?

Grew it out to shoulder length and hot rollers for my wedding. Back to the latest pixie cut a year later.

Grew it out during one of my pregnancies and fell into the perm trap. Fell out again and got a...pixie cut.

Going gray gracefully would not look graceful on me. I will dye until I die.

It also looks like I'll be wearing a pixie cut in my casket as well. Caren, make sure my roots are colored! I don't want to travel to the great beyond with ragged hair.

Joan said...

Caren, clearly we are twins seperated at birth!

Pixie: I had waist length silky golden blonde hair as a child. When I was about 6 or7 I BEGGED my Mom for a pixie hair cut. I still remember sitting in the beauty shop chair (we weren't sophisticated enough for salons yet) and the lady asking me was I SURE?

Yes, I replied with a defiant tilt of my little chin.

Got the pixie...went to school...and was teased unmercifully about looking like a BOY!

Hamill: 10th grade. A must do. The first of many culture driven styles that I fell into. Fortunately, I fought off the urge to take up ice skating. I live in KY..not a lot of ice!

The 80's (shiver). Perm, perm big, big, perm somemore. I did at this point go to a "salon" to have it done but it still fried the follicles!

The know from "Friends"? HAD to have that cut. Was doing body perms as my hair is still silky/fine.

I am VERY particular about having "good hair" that I like. About 5 years ago I got word the stylist I was seeing at the time (LOL, it IS a relationship) had fallen and broken her leg. My first thought? Who's going to do my hair! And I'm a NURSE...I should have worried about the cast on her leg. Um, no it's my HAIR!

I continue to do variations of highlighting (which I call natural color enhancement). I have a 9th grade picture of me with the most gorgeous strawberry blonde color...the Irish peeking out definately and now have a fabulous stylist named Bea. She's helped me find a variation on layers that takes me 15 min. to dry/style.

And I look gorgeous, dahling :-)

Esri Rose said...

I'm fortunate to have thick hair (although that meant my Hamill cut looked like a mushroom cap). The flip side is that I grayed early, so I've been coloring a long time. Caren, I've met you at conference (and you look just like your pic!) and your current 'do is tremendously stylish. But I'm sure you look dead sexy (I love that term) with long hair too. The one thing I've done in recent years is to make sure I never go too layered, so that if I want to change the length, it's not a big deal. I change my style a lot, because my hair grows almost three-quarters of an inch a month (ducks).

rebekah said...

I have a wash and go hair style. The style doesn't really matter it would be wash and go anyway. I don't even wear make-up. I have had the worst hair cut in my life though. I went to this place were every one new that the hair stylist was a drunk but me. It was so awful he just kept chopping and chopping I finally told to stop and walked out of the salon. I went home looked at myself and cried. I called the salon to conplain about what the man did to my hair and that is when I found out he was a drunk. I couldn't believe it. They let this man continue to work of them even though they knew what he is like. I found out from the manager that I wasn't the only one that he did this to others and that I could come in and she would personally try to fix it. It turned out that it was so bad that it was beyond repair.
So of course I cried some more. Luckly hair grows out. But I had to look like I had a helmet on my head for quite sometime.

Esri Rose said...

Rebekah. OMG, you poor thing. I had a skin-care biz in a salon for a while, and it was really hard for them to find stylists (I think they're still thin on the ground). So it did take a bit for them to fire someone. I got my hair cut by one that was let go, and she used the thinning shears on my thick hair, in random lengths. When she was done, I had the choice of shellacking my tufted hair with product or looking like a baby ostrich. I looked like an ostrich for about a month, until we could recut.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Mine is long and straight as a stick. It is also colored, I am almost totally gray on top and the same dark auburn it always was underneath, not a pretty picture is it? I keep it the same color as when I was a sweet young thing, the gray makes it look like light red highlights. I have almost always been a wash and go kind of girl. Since it is thick and very heavy, it does not respond to any hair care product or tools. jennifer y, I totally sympathize with the hair trying to strangle you in your sleep, mine has gotten me on many more than one occasion. If you share a bed you have no doubt had the experience of someone else tying your head down with your hair.
An interesting experience I had not too long ago was waking up to a strange sound in my ear and pain in my scalp.........
Yeah, a beautiful male cat who thought it would be great fun to made a bed from hair and do the bread kneading thing on my head while he purred loud enough to wake me from a dead sleep.

Esri Rose said...

Dianna, you're lucky you didn't wake up with dreads.

flchen1 said...

Thanks, Caren--I have to shamefacedly admit that my motives for donating aren't terribly selfless... mainly, I'm a lazy slob, and I admire your tenacity in making sure your 'do is gorgeous!

Thinking a bit more, I did try tons of things in my youth to get my hair to curl--I SO admired those Mary-from-Little-House-on-the-Prairie's corkscrew curls... I slept in rollers, the whole bit--I'd get curls that would last about 20 seconds... Now I've gone the opposite direction and thrown in the towel ;)

You can be sure I'll be calling when I'm in your neck of the woods so I can benefit from your great wisdom and talents!

And one more voice saying, "Bald is beautiful," p226! Or rather, hawt!

Aunty Cindy said...

OOO, Caren, you are so right about prenatal vitamins! My hair looked so good when I was taking them that I actually had people ask me if it was my real hair! That was how black and shiny it was. :-) Of course, in the "aftermath" it was years before I did much more than wash it.

Caren Crane said...

Claudia, I hoped hair talk would lure you out of the woodwork. *g*

Now, no one should believe that any version of a "pixie" Claudia has had ever looked as unfortunate as the one I sported when I was a child. She may claim the cut she has now is some sort of "pixie" but you would never label it that in a million years.

For pictures of Claudia's fab hair, just check out the pics on her website, Yes, that is what The Incomparable Claudia Dain calls a pixie. Pfft!

For the record, Claudia has fabulous hair EVERY DAY! Cute shoes and accessories, too. Oh, fine, it's a whole package with TICD! *g*

Claudia, you know I would never let them lay you out with roots or without jewelry. What are friends for?

Caren Crane said...

Joan, I feel your pain with the fine, straight hair. Thing is, I also have a lot of different mutt blood, so there is also this frizzy kink that affects about 2% of my hair. I have to use Glass or some other straightener just for that bit. Horrible!

And Jesus (hairdresser, not Messiah), is so dear to me! I have threatened him with a painful death if he ever leaves and doesn't tell me about it. I have no idea where I would find someone who knows my hair so well! We've been paired up (you know, salon-wise) for about 8 years now. I adore him!

Hang onto Bea and make sure she has all your contact info in case she decides to flee the salon!

Caren Crane said...

Esri, I would envy your really thick hair, except my mother and younger daughter have it. I know it can be its own challenge! It stacks beautifully, but doesn't take to layering much (the tufts!). You're lucky it grows so quickly, since it allows you the freedom to explore new styles! Mine grows slowly, but that is good, too, since it costs so much to have Jesus work his magic. Unlike the Messiah, my Jesus charges and arm and a leg. *g*

Caren Crane said...

Rebekah, your story made me tear up! There is nothing worse than a truly horrible haircut. As noted, my hair has a serious effect on my mood and self-image, so contending with a bad cut--especially and unfixable one!--would be devastating. Aren't you glad hair GROWS?

I recall too well why I abandoned the Dorothy Hamill. When I originally got the cut, I went to a cousin of my mother's, who worked in a small town where my mother was born. We were poor and couldn't afford a salon, so for haircuts we usually went to the salon at JC Penney (not sure they have those anymore). My grandmother was a seamstress and did alterations at Penney's, so she got us a discount.

The last time, the lady who cut my hair had no idea what a Dorothy Hamill cut was and ended up giving me a haircut that looked like a little boy's. I was 13. Devastation! I think I wore a bandana for the first couple of weeks, then figured out something to do with it. Gah, junior high school, what trauma!

Caren Crane said...

Diana, I am concerned for your safety and Jennifer's. Don't they make some sort of monitor you can use that will wake you up if your hair cuts off your windpipe or something?

Oh, and during the ponytail years, my husband would roll over onto my hair and pin me to the pillow or mattress. So painful!

Caren Crane said...

Fedora, I did that too! When I was a little girl, my mother would wet our hair and roll it on pink sponge rollers, then we would sleep on them. In the morning, my older sister would have lovely bouncy curls (the oldest sister has naturally curly hair *grr*) and mine would have a smidgen of a wave. That lasted about five minutes, even with hairspray. Horrible!

I always had curl envy. I still do!

Caren Crane said...

AC, the promise of the prenatal vitamins is like a set-up for life's cruelest joke: Here's the hair of your life, now have two years where you won't get to wash or style it!!

I wonder if there is a black market for prenatal vitamins? Hm...

Nancy said...

Jennifer, you're on a rooster roll. Congratulations!

Caren, my hair has also gone through phases. From mostly straight with a fair amount of body (it would hold curl) to mostly straight but frizzy to straight. All of these changes came about without any chemical intervention on my part. I got a curly perm about 10 years ago, and that was okay, but it made my hair so brittle that I quit doing it.

Like Jennifer, Eva, Rebekah and Helen, I'm wash-and-go, in part because I'm not a morning person. I need to get myself ready quickly, and fussing with rollers, curling iron (which I never mastered, always managing to put a crease in my hair) and product is just too much for me, though I do use a blow-dryer and a round brush on the short layers, mainly to keep them off my face.

My use of product usually results in an appearance similar to the use of Elmer's Glue, so I've kind of given it up. When I find one that's me-proof, the company that makes it will have a customer for life.

AC, mine is also curling again as it goes gray, and it's so dark that I'm resisting the lure of color. I procrastinate the salon, which would lead to my walking around with roots (given my product history, doing it myself is not an option), and I fear that I'll be shocked when the day comes that I really have to stop. Blondes may have more fun, but not with my complexion. I considered red, but my hairdresser said a flat "No" to that one.

Eva, good luck with the surgery. Flchen1, it's so cool that you donate your hair. Mine never would grow long enough for that.

Deb, you're so right on Capt. Picard. Patrick Stewart is doing MacBeth off-Broadway now, and the show, especially his performance, got a boffo review.

Rebekah, I don't wear makeup except when I'm going to a meeting, and then I don't wear much. I don't like the way it feels.

Caren, you've hit a hot button. This is a fun thread!

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Yes Caren, very painful and such a RUDE awakening! The cat had me thinking I had transported somewhere strange though, and those little claws "massaging" my scalp? I scared the poor cat to death trying to get him loose from my hair.

brownone said...

Congrats Jennifer!

Well, my parents, being typical Indian parents, NEVER wanted us to cut our hair. Well, I was miserable! I was one of those kids that if you turned your head the wrong way it was a tangle! So, my parents took pity on me and cut it shoulder length with bangs which was very cute. Then my mother became scissor happy. They did a "Pat Bennetar" Horrible choice. Our neighbor actually came over and asked who the little boy was. Yeah..that bad! High school was great though. I had that hair that no matter what I did it looked great (the tousled look). All I did was wash it and scrunch it. Now, it's just shoulder length and always in a ponytail. I actually remind myself of the Suave shampoo commercial with the lady at different stages!

brownone said...

Oh, and lets not even get into the gray!

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

esri rose, my hair grows fast too, it is murder trying to keep the roots covered! Since the gray is all on top it shines like a lighthouse.

Claudia Dain said...

I am lured! I am lured! LOL

Hair trauma is monumental when your hair grows slowly. Add in being dedicated to good hair and being a tad emotional...recipe for lots of potential hair disasters.

The only thing I can say about the bad hair cuts I have had is that no one ever took me for a boy. I'm not sure why, but I am SO GRATEFUL. That would have been brutal.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Yes Caren, very painful and such a RUDE awakening! The cat had me thinking I had transported somewhere strange though, and those little claws "massaging" my scalp? I scared the poor cat to death trying to get him loose from my hair.

Trish Milburn said...

Starting in either my sophomore or junior year of high school, my hair started getting progressively shorter. I couldn't cut it "short" until I was away from home because Dad was one of those old-fashioned guys who thought all women should have long hair (bleh). I do NOT look good with long hair. It's fine, flat, body-less. So I keep it short and just stick some of that styling goo in it when I need to look decent.

I had a few of those home perms during my teen years, but the one time I got a perm in a salon, it literally fell out before I left the building.

Susan Seyfarth said...

Hi, Caren!

I have hair that is like Teflon's first cousin or something. It's nice & thick, plenty of it, but so miserably straight & fine you'd have no idea it was so thick until you succumbed to the 80's perming craze & found yourself with an extremely unexpected & unflattering white-girl fro. (Ah, jr. high. The memories...)

Anyway, you called it. Young kids = the ponytail era. I'll check back in when the youngest goes to school...

Anonymous said...

Ah, the story of hair. Great blog topic.

In my thumbnail picture, you'll see my hair the way I wish it was--long and wavy. I had some really good perms a few years ago that made it this way.

Unfortunately, the perms cost a lot of money, had to be redone every three months, and gave my hair the look of a bad dye-job (the perm works a bit like bleach).

So instead I now keep it short and business like. Stick straight, fine, thick. When I say straight, I really mean straight. Sigh. But I refuse to mess with it in the morning. I'm wash and go, maybe spend five minutes with a dryer. Maybe.

Oh, and I tried highlighting once but I'm usually so proud to be a genuine (dark) blonde that I was bummed out by being fake. Had to go back to my natural ways.

I spent three months on an expedition in Mexico back in college, and after three months in the direct sun I was sooooo blonde it was painful. Now I'm just a shade away from brown. But I cherish that shade.

Vanity. It gets you every time.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Sorry, my post showed up twice. I meant to add that I love bald guys. My husband's mostly bald, but he's got great, thick, handsome facial hair. My favorite combo.

And I envy all you curly haired lasses!

Christie Kelley said...

I am alive...really! Sorry I haven't been here much this week (if at all). My life has been super-busy between my job, the house and the book due at the end of the month. Thank goodness it's a leap year and I get one extra day.

But Caren, hair? You have seen my picture on the blog, right? I have never permed my hair, but I do love to color it. Okay, truth be told, if I didn't color it the grey would be there for all to see.

I mostly kept my hair long until after high school then I cut it shoulder length and let the curls go wild. (it was the 80s).

I've gone from short curls to shoulder length for the past few years. The only thing that changes really is the color.

Right after I got married I cut my hair very short and over my ears. We went to the beach for our honeymoon and I never thought to put sunscreen on my ears. They burned so bad I couldn't sleep on my sides. Bright red ears and then they started to peel. It wasn't pretty.

Caren Crane said...

Nancy, you're lucky that your hair actually looks *good* gray. And if your usual hair is wash-and-go, you are incredibly fortunate, because it always looks nice!

I really do envy those of you who can get away with the wash and go thing. I could try it, but I would look like Olive Oyl, only with less body, every day. Somehow, I'm just not up for that.

Caren Crane said...

Dianna, I have actually slept with cats in my hair before. When I lived with my mom, we had, at one point, four cats in the house. It was not uncommon to wake up with one on your head, one on your legs and two curled up beside you. My hair tangles badly anyway. Add a cat and it's worse than a bird's nest.

Caren Crane said...

Brownone, may I say for all of us that we are sorry for your pain. Being mistaken (by a snarky neighbor, no less) for a boy is the ultimate humiliation when you are a little girl!

That said, all of us hate you for having the scrunchable, gorgeous hair in high school. Most of us looked like some cross between Beetlejuice and Shirley Temple. Really. Think about it: perms, hair dye, curling irons, colored hair gel. Just add braces and you get the sort of pretty picture I made in high school!

Caren Crane said...

Claudia, I am so glad you escaped the ULTIMATE humiliation. I think there were a couple of times I mistook myself for a boy. Darned peripheral vision!

Caren Crane said...

Trish, I'll bet you were so relieved to get out where you could wear your hair as you liked! I give snaps to my mother and stepfather for being very understanding about our hair follies when my sibs and I were teenagers. Man, we had some out there styles!

I'm at my mother's house, btw, and she is laughing hysterically at everyone's hair stories! She also said, "Your hair always looked good."

I love my mother!

Caren Crane said...

But Susan, your hair is really pretty! You have that petite thing going on, so you can just bob it and your hair will always look extra perky and oh-so-adorable! (I have to stop, since I'm starting to feel a little irritated at your adorableness.)

Enjoy the ponytail years, they end too soon! Hey, are you going to get a shiny scrunchy for conference?!

Caren Crane said...

Ah, Kirsten, vanity gets us all. You are fortunate to have the sort of blonde most of us pay a mint for!

I think I have paid for Jesus's extra-huge pickup truck with my forays into hair color. Seriously! My husband is, frankly, appalled by how much hair maintenance costs. But he can't argue with the results (and he's very smart) so he doesn't. *eg*

Esri Rose said...

Dianna: I think I'm about 90% white on top. I had a middle part forever as a kid growing up in Florida, and I think all the sun aged that hair-growing skin faster. The farther down on my head you go, the less gray. I have none at my temples or around the occiput.

I have curl envy too, but I have a reasonable wave (one direction around my head, of course), and the gray hair is kind of kinky. So that's a plus, at least.

I know baldness is a big deal for guys, but if they knew how little it affected women's perception of them, they wouldn't care as much. In college, all my professor crushes were on the balding intellectuals. Bald+smart=hot. And shaved is even better.

Caren: I forgot about colored hair gel. That stuff was nasty!

It's cracking me up that two of you have stylists named Jesus. I think it was two different people. So when you have a bad hair day, is that a "come to Jesus" moment?

Joan said...

Add a cat

Now there's a sentence I never thought I'd associate in a discussion about hair!

I think you have to find someone like Jesus (truck driving stylist, not Divinity)or Bea who KNOW color/highlighting.

It is an art and one of the reasons I "broke up" with a stylist I'd been going to for 10 years.

She had drifted away from going to refresher courses and started styling my hair in the "same ole manner" even if we'd changed it months before.

I will spend significant funds for my hair care though I did draw the line at paying $90 for color at a salon and then HAVING TO DRY AND STYLE MY OWN HAIR in the middle of the salon. "Self styling station" ? Uh uh....not gonna happen anymore. For $90 you can do it for me.

Excuse me...I hear a cat meowing outside my house...must lock the doors.

terrio said...

Oh, I'm so late today. Been running around like a crazy woman after sleeping in which resulted in horrible hair today. LOL! How timely this blog is! I even took my daughter to get her hair cut today and on the way out she said, "You really should have gotten one too. Your hair looks pretty bad today." Out of the mouths of babes...

I spent my firt 2 years with nothing then hair to my butt by the time I was 3. Cut it all off at 8 for the Dorothy Hamill. Seriously, did ANYONE not have that haircut? LOL!

Very big and teased out through the 80s then with motherhood and the new century came the scissors. At one point I had it so short I didn't even need a hairdryer or even a comb when I stepped out of the shower. But that was the hairdresser's fault, not mine.

I try to let it grow out now but I have no motivation to spend much time on it so I usually bale and cut it back off. Maybe this time. It's almost medium length now and I think I might have crossed some growing-out threshold. We'll have to wait and see. *g*

p226 said...

You know... I mentioned my own hair (and the lack thereof) but didn't mention my tastes.

I like LONG hair. LONG FLOWING hair. Now, my wife... she doesn't like to let hers grow out. This has been a constant point of contention between us for years. So, after her doing this to me for oh, ten years or so, she finally let me in on WHY she hasn't let her hair grow out.

Every time I'd act like a jerk (yeah, I know, you're shocked, but it happens) she would make an appointment with the hair butcher... er... I mean "stylist" the next day. She never said anything. She just went and had it all chopped off. She did this to me for ten freakin' years! I could've had the long hair on her that I wanted, if only I could go long enough without being a jerk. But she never let me in on the secret, and I was too dumb to recognize the coincidence.

Joan said...

LOL, on the wife's secret, p226

I know lots of guys do say they prefer long hair but lets face it...some ladies look AWFUL with long hair.

Does it come from some genetic coding from caveman days when the cave jerks, er guys..dragged their women into the caves?

p226 said...

UNGA! *scratch* *burp* UNG!


Nancy said...

Brownone, when I was little, my mom cut my hair in the kitchen. I think she figured that "straight across bangs, straight down the sides, straight around the bottom" thing was easy. Only she had this little problem getting the sides even. After I ended up weeping one day because my hair was so short, she started taking us to the salon where she had her own hair cut.

Caren, thanks for the compliment. I've kept my hair short because I can manage it better, but I'm letting it grow now, so we'll see.

Esri, I know thick hair can be a trial at times, but I envy you having hair that grows so fast. If you ever end up with a bad cut, you'll be able to reshape it sooner than most of us.

Claudia, you may bow to your hair's whims, but you make it look as if it bows to yours. Nice trick!

Trish, you're clearly adept at "styling goo." Your hair always looks great.

p226, I think lots of guys really like long hair. After I went from a shoulder-length bob to a layered, shorter look, I was going back for a trim. My husband turned to our golden retriever, sighed, and said, "Well, Hannah, I guess she'll come back bald." Not one of his wiser comments, and he quickly assured me any choice was fine. But he admitted he prefers long hair. I don't think guys notice coincidence very often. It isn't an effective "teaching tool" for anyone I know.

Caren Crane said...

Oh, Esri, I'm not sure my curl envy will ever end! I think I mentioned my oldest sister has lovely, naturally curly hair. Even now, when it's starting to gray (in a gorgeous hereditary shock at the widow's peak), it's beautiful. Ack!

Oh, I think I have the only Jesus. I tend to rhapsodize about him, so I may seem like two people. *g* I've even made him a character in two of my books!

Caren Crane said...

Joan, wasn't the 'style it yourself' thing in the 90s a horrible trend? I'm happy to say, Jesus never agreed with that and always styled his clients' hair. Of course, they charge for it, but really who wants to leave the salon with WET HAIR? I want to leave looking fabulous, isn't that what we're paying for?

Caren Crane said...

Terrio, I think you should go for it and get a new style! All that growing out stuff must have a payoff. Too funny about your daughter's comment. Sometimes, I kind of wish the babes would keep their wise mouths closed. *g*

Caren Crane said...

P226, you are not alone. My bff's husband adores long hair (like she had when they started dating when she was 14). My friend has had short hair since about 1993 and it will never be long again. She is younger than I am, but her hair is all gray underneath (the opposite of Dianna's).

She lives in fear of being one of those ladies with long, gray hair. If she let if go, that's just what she would have. Her husband would love it and she would die of mortification! *g*

Caren Crane said...

Nancy, I can't wait to see the new hairstyle! We can compare notes, since mine is morphing daily. *g*

I'm so glad everyone stopped by and shared their hairstory. More stories anyone?

doglady said...

This blog has been VERY enlightening! I am trying to visualize everyone with these hairdo horrors and it is quite a visual delight! LOL I did not have hair until I was three years old. My mother used to scotch tape ribbons to the top of my head so people would know I was a girl. I too suffered through the pixie hair cut as a young girl.

From the age of 12 until I was over 19 I did not cut my hair. It was well past my butt. As I was a freshman in college taking a full load of classes for a double major, the time it took to wash dry (two blow dryers) and roll (on soup cans) my hair took its toll. Some friends talked me into going to Selma and having it cut to sell to a wig maker. It went from below my butt to just at the tops of my shoulders. The next weekend I went home I thought my father was going to blow a gasket. He was furious! I have to admit I was a little devastated myself. I swore I would never cut it again. Famous last words. I did not cut it again until long after I was married, right before I went to Austria to attend the Mozarteum. I went to have the ends trimmed and got talked into a very chic SHORT hairdo. It was HORRENDOUS!! When I asked my sweet DH what he thought he said "You look cute honey." I burst into tears and told him I HATED it! My voice teacher had a fit. My DH was relieved because he said "I didn't want to hurt your feelings, honey, but it really is awful. But, sweetheart, it will grow back." That was 1987. I have not cut it since. Lots of people have told me I am too old to wear my hair long, but I cannot bring myself to do it because my darling Roger always said he loved my long hair. It's only been permed twice and it has never been colored. It is so dark brown it is almost black. (With plenty of white strands in it.) I hope it takes after my Creek Indian grandmother's. Her hair went from inky silky black to gorgeous white. Because of work I wear it in one long braid so it is easier to put up in a hair net. I love to see people at work do a double take when they see me outside work wearing it down. Now when I was singing I could be any color I want because European opera dressers were doing hair weaves and extensions LONG before it became popular. In Othello I had long blond hair and I loved it! Except when the tenor was strangling me in the death scene (we're both singing you understand, which is ridiculous enough) and he pinned my hair with his knee and nearly snatched out the weave which had been sewn into my own hair. OUCH!

Joan said...


Before that brief experience last year with the "self styling station" I had NEVER not had my hair dryed and styled after having color/perm.

This place was also one of those "tiered" salons. You know, where you pay more for an "expert". The chick I went to twice jumped up three levels and blast it...was doing NOTHING different to my hair! Yet I was paying $30 more!

As if that wasn't enough to cause me to look elsewhere (it was), they had TWO different people doing the TWO different things to my hair...color and cut. The day I found out AFTER making my appt. that color girl had been progressive and become an "expert", I also had an appt for the cut. The final straw in my decision not to stay with these two was when "cut" girl told me how "color girl" had said how shocked I had been at the price increase.

A) Not good to gossip about the clients.
B) Double not good to TELL the client you'd been gossiping!

(sigh) Thank god I found Bea!

Donna MacMeans said...

Hi Caren - sorry to post so late but haven't been here all day.

Loved the hair blog. I've always had ultra straight, fine & thick blond hair. In my high school days I heat to heat up those hot rollers, set my hair, let it cool, reheat the rollers,& set my hair a second time - just to get a little curl near the ends.

I always wore it long until I married. Then I got tired of waking up and being trapped because my husband was sleeping on my hair! I cut it short and have never gone back. Currently I wash and let it dry naturally - not because it looks good that way - but because I just don't care *g*. If I want it to look good, I have to work for about an hour with a curling iron. It takes a lot for me to want it to look good.

Joan said...

LOL, Donna,

My CP was my stylist for the 2006 Golden Heart Ceremony. My hair was a bit longer than it is now, but still with layers. She insisted on curling it and sweeping it up and making it all Princess Di....

It did look nice but she has this strange notion I should curl it EVERY day! Only if she comes to my house at 5 am.

Layers and round brushes...that's my speed

Caren Crane said...

Doglady, I say wear your hair how you like it! The Native American blood helps with having thick, ultra-straight hair (like my mother's). Somehow, my Native American genes got trumped by a bunch of fine, straight genes. Like by natural selection, fine straight hair is better? I think not!

Caren Crane said...

Donna, your hair looks wonderful short! I am having trouble imagining it long, as a matter of fact. Snaps to you for being low maintenance. *g*

And Joan, I'm with you on the blow dryer and round brushes. Jesus is not a fan of curling irons or hot rollers. If you have the right cut and know what you're doing when you dry, in his opinion you should NEVER need more heat! Plus it's so hard on your hair.

Tawny said...

OMG I love hair! So much that I went to beauty school to learn to play with it more. I've been blond, black, brunette, but always end up back to my natural auburn (currently its sort of a mix of all of those though LOL). I've worn it spiked, I've had it shaved up the back and long on top, I've gone done the short, long and everything in between.

It took me a few tries to realize that short hair makes my face look like a bowling ball, since it curls up all wierd and funky and needs the length to weigh it down (that, and well, I hate the bowling ball look), so I doubt it'll ever be shorter than shoulder length again.

Sonja Foust said...

Caren, I agree, hair is totally important. And you KNOW how often I change mine. Right now mine is long and stringy and screaming in pain from too many bad dye jobs, but my reward for losing my next five pounds is some sort of super cute 'do. Maybe the long layers like that last pic you posted. :) And maybe I'll have the will power to stay away from dye this time around. Maybe.