Humidity: It's a lethal weapon for this redhead's hairdo

Sense and Nonsense
By Lynda Hollenbeck

After enjoying several days of what I will go out on a limb and label "good hair days," I was hit with a bombshell.
The change came about because of a single factor: Humidity.
For me, humid weather is the kiss of death for my hairdo. It's disheartening. I can set my hair and, at the start of the day, the image in the mirror isn't bad as far as the hair goes.
Thirty minutes after I'm in the atmosphere, I undergo a 180-change. The higher the humidity, the more pronounced the change.
This is what happened on a recent day. I had been rather proud of my hair while inside my air-conditioned house.
This day it didn't take a half-hour to bring about a transformation. Only a few minutes and the "do" was gone. What was left was a frowzy redhead with hair as big as a basket.
If we had been doing a biblical production at the Royal Theatre, I could have been the burning bush.
Whether bane or blessing, I was born with naturally curly hair — actually, naturally wavy hair — and it is a burden to contend with much of the time.
Theoretically, I could have a new hairdo every day, although such is far from my intention. Every day is a surprise. Actually, several times a day it can be different.
I'm very particular about my hair. If it doesn't suit me, it affects my mood. Though I like short hairdos on others, I can't wear my hair shorter than shoulder-length.
Some people don't understand this, but the proof is in the pudding, so to speak.
A perfect example of how unattractive short hair is on me occurred the day that the late Sam Hodges, then-publisher of the Benton Courier, walked into the office, glanced in my direction, then, without stopping, quipped: "And when did your beauty operator get mad at you?"
I had had my hair cut fairly short the preceding weekend. I had asked for the change, even though hairdresser Sherry Grant had warned me I probably wouldn't be satisfied with it.
I insisted, she complied and I hated it immediately. But you can't put it back as quickly as it comes off.
Fortunately, my hair does grow fast and it didn't take long to become manageable again, but I wanted instant gratification.
The bangs are the one area that is verboten to anyone's hands but mine. No one is allowed to cut them but me. This way, if they're cut too short, I have only myself to resent.
Years ago Sherry came by the office, looked at me and said, "What in the world happened to your bangs?"
They were too short and looked horrible. I agreed with her.
The response to her query was: "Remember, you cut them."
She was shocked, saying, "Well, they didn't look like that when you left the shop."
She was right. She had cut them wet and we learned that can never happen. My hair can be cut only when it's dry because it appears longer when it's wet. As it dries, it draws up — you can almost see it happening — and a catastrophe can be the result.
This is what happened in that incident.
For the record, Sherry's hard to beat as far as hairstyling goes or just as a friend.
She started cutting my husband's hair many years ago and he loved going to her shop. He would come home knowing more local news than I could tell him after a day at the newspaper office.
That's the beautiful part about small-town beauty establishments.
Sherry didn't forget about her friend even in his last days. Ed had been needing a haircut, but had gotten very sick and had to be hospitalized. The day he was admitted to Hospice House, his hair was really shaggy and it bothered him.
I called Sherry and, almost before I could hang up the phone, she was there with scissors in hand to make her old friend feel better about his appearance.
About two weeks later, she gave him his last haircut, but he was unaware of it this time. This time it was at the funeral home.
Can a hairstylist be any better than this?
I hope she's around to do the same thing for me some day.
But she'll still need to let the bangs be.

Lynda Hollenbeck is senior editor of The Saline Courier.