They say life is hairy. I think I agree except I am not really sure what that means or where I first heard it now that I think about it…
I am however, confident that a life-long obsession with hair, two parents in the business and the view-blocking ability of my ‘do qualifies me for staking a confident claim in my life being of a particularly hairy nature. Let’s review my most recent salon experience, which also happened to be my first trip to a NYC house of beauty…
For once I didn’t go looking for a salon to magically transform me into someone with suddenly cooperative hair. I also didn’t go in with a list of demands and expectations including (but not limited to) threatening the life of anyone who tried to chop my hard-won inches off, give me an updo with 3,000 bobby pins and a shellac finish or make my hair so straight I walked out feeling like a bobble head – Till it rained.
Being a benevolent Hair Queen, I am that girl that ends up showing my stylists my own methods of curl containment. Particularly when I found myself in the chair of someone looking visibly squeamish at the thought of getting a comb through my hair.
As a former straight up, straight hair evangelist, my bag of hair tricks has evolved over the years. Some classics include scalp-scalding chemical treatments, a clothing iron (and an ironing board) and a full-sized hood dryer in my house.
My reputation for hair straightening abilities preceded me. My girlfriends and co-workers of every race would come to me for advice. I spread the good word of hair control to all of my curly friends.
Like most people, when faced with the big 3-0 I started freaking out about…everything. Nothing about my life was recognizable. I looked in the mirror and saw a hard working stranger engaged in a long, gruesome, tiring and unwinnable battle with herself.
So I surrendered. I don’t ever remember loving my hair. It had been 15 years since I had just left it alone and gave it the freedom to be. Freeing my hair freed me.
Because in NYC anything is possible and everything exists, I found a salon entirely focused on curly hair love when I moved here a couple of months ago. A magical place that doesn’t claim to be multi-cultural but boasts singular focus; curls.
Women tend to walk into salons with hope. I didn’t walk into this salon. I was ushered in by the doorman. He took one look at me and knew exactly where I was going. “Downstairs to the right.”
I entered a place of understanding and a room full of curls, kinks, and waves in all shades of gray, ginger, brown, black, blonde and blue. Buoyant, boinging, bouncing and billowing beauty. So much diversity, yet one common theme: self-acceptance. It was magical. I belonged.
I told her I was new to town and only recently learned of the existence of such a place.
She assured me I’d found a new home.
These stylists were fearless when faced with my tangles. They taught me tips and showed me how to show love to my tresses. Every product, every tool designed to set my hair up to lovingly do its own thing.
So yes, my life is hairy. And big. And bold. And unruly. And beautiful. Thank God.
And no, this blog will not only be about hair.