Bad-hair day turns into a week of pain

By: Lynda Hollenbeck
Whether bane or blessing, I was born with naturally curly hair.
Correction: Make that naturally wavy hair.
The result of such is that my hair has a mind of its own.
Theoretically, I could have a new hairdo every day — sometimes even changing at intervals throughout the day — although such is far from my intention.
As it is, every day is a surprise hair-wise, no matter what is done in an effort to make it do one way or another. This causes much frustration, to say the least.
I once said that if I were a hairstylist, I would change my phone number to 223-4247.
The response I received was a blank stare, followed by a "why?"
"I'll explain it this way," I responded. "My advertising slogan in such a situation would be: 'For troubled tresses, call BAD-HAIR.'"
Translated, that's 223-4247.
This past week I've needed to call that mythical number because it's not been only a bad-hair day, which everyone experiences from time to time, but a bad-hair week.
Straight-haired people don't get it. But for those of us with natural curls or waves, humidity is not our friend. And the past few days must have hit a new high on the humidity chart.
It was so bad one day that I reminded a fellow sufferer of something I said previously, which was that if I had been performing in a biblical production, I could have portrayed the burning bush.
This week the bush has been back.
Brushing has done no good.
Baby oil, which usually has a calming effect, has done no good.
Hair spray, another possible calmer-downer, has done no good.
One day I gave up and just wore a hat. That worked fine for a little while until I got too hot and had to shed it.
Most men don't get it when women say they're having a bad-hair day. My late spouse was one of those. When I would complain, he would forever be kind and tell me my hair looked fine to him.
"You're always pretty to me," he told me with the kindness that was the hallmark of his very existence. (Wish I could have heard his words this week ... )
It's times like this that I'm tempted to go for a much shorter style, but then I know the pitfalls in that area. I learned this in a somewhat harsh manner during the days when Sam Hodges was publisher of the Courier.
On a whim, I had gone to the beauty shop and requested a short haircut.
"You don't what to do that," hairstylist Sherry Grant told me. "You know you won't like it."
She was more than reluctant to do what I asked, actually refusing at first.
I reminded her of the old "customer is always right" premise and told her that yes, indeed I wanted it cut short.
"I don't want you to be mad at me when you don't like it," Sherry argued.
We went back and forth on this until she finally agreed and whacked off several inches. It was much shorter than I had worn my hair in years.
I liked the results for about five minutes, but I wasn't making the confession that soon.
This happened on a Saturday. I was dreading going to work Monday because there was no way people were not going to notice it. It was a drastically different look.
Most people were thoughtful. They either said nothing or they told me they liked it. (Kind people lie at such times.) It really looked dreadful and I was keenly aware of it.
Then came Mr. Hodges, who generally arrived at the office around noon.
Without so much as a "Hello, Lynda," he walked past my desk and quipped, "And what did you do to make your beauty operator mad at you?"
If I had liked it, I guess his comment might have hurt my feelings, but I didn't and had already reconciled myself to having made a terrible mistake. I had spent the better part of two days trying to stretch my hair to make it look less short. (I would have said longer, but there was no way this was going to happen.)
Curly/wavy hair does not respond to this type of motivation. With every stretch I would exert, it would bounce back, looking even shorter than before.
I never went for the really short bob again. Some people can look great with hair any length; some people can't. I'm one of the "can'ts."
Later, Mr. Hodges apologized and we both laughed about the incident. He was a wonderful man who was extremely kind to me. I'll always treasure his friendship.
Another time he compared me to Runtsey, my red cocker spaniel, which I occasionally brought to the office.
"I hate to tell you this, Lynda, but your dog looks more like you than your children," Mr. Hodges said.
The dog's coat and my hair were exactly the same shade of red, and I adored him.
Mr. Hodge's words were music to my ears. I thanked him sincerely.

Lynda Hollenbeck is senior editor of The Saline Courier.