I’ve had big, curly hair most of my life. During my early years, my hair was more frizzy than curly and I endured many nights of going to bed in those awful pink sponge rollers (if you were a child of the 1980s, you know). If I was extra lucky, I would forget I was wearing a turtleneck and my mom wouldn’t let me remove it so I got to sleep in a 1980s turtleneck AND those pink rollers.
Those were memorable nights.
I started getting perms like all the other cool kids in the 1980s and my puberty hormones must have kicked in around that time because my hair stayed curly for the rest of my life. When you have a head of bouffant curls, your styling options are pretty limited. My variations were big bangs and even bigger bows. Sometimes my curls cascaded down to the middle of my back; other times, it was shoulder-length.
And then there was middle school.
My mom loved glamor on a budget. Well, she hate the budget but loved the glamor so that was her only choice when you’re on a tight budget. To save a few bucks, she took us to the local high school’s beauty school where a very glamorous Ms. Munoz oversaw all cuts and styling. She was a Farah Fawcett look-a-like who was always up on the latest trends.
I was a pretty solid kid: Great athlete, good student and I had lots of friends but I was in the middle of my awesomely-awkward (ugly) middle school years. So, in seventh grade, I decided it was time for a change: The Hair had to go.
The beauty school girls gathered around as I told them I wanted my mane chopped into a very 1980s asymmetrical do.
“No way, do you know what you should do?” they gushed.
“What?” I asked. I was very impressionable to the older, glamorous beauty school girls.
“Since we’re going from long to short, you should keep some wisps in the back. It’s all the rage and very apropos.”
I was a lot of things during my dork stage but apropos was not one of them and so I let them chop my hair, leaving these “wisps” all over my head.
When the deed was done, they all gathered around, oohing and awing at my transformation. It was every bit as good as those before-and-after specials on Oprah and I was loving it.
Until I got home, and looked, really looked in the mirror.
To my horror, those were not whimsical wisps but rather, TAILS ALL OVER MY HEAD.
I was a furry well before they existed.
My furry existence was short-lived because we chopped off those tails STAT. Sadly, we did not commemorate the occasion by taking a picture (or should I say thankfully that these were the days before social media?)
But I had to live with crazy-short hair for several months until my hair grew out long enough for an asymmetrical cut.
And then my mom loved it so much that she got the same cut as me.
Just in case you’re taking notes about how to be the coolest kid in middle school.