Tuesday, September 3, 2019

IWSG: Hair Hysteria


It's time for another edition of the  Insecure Writer's Support Group Be sure to visit Alex J. Cavanaugh  and the rest of the talented bloggers who are always willing to lend a helping hand.

                                                      Hair Hysteria

Surrounded by my favorite boys; 8/19

My mom's entire life revolved around her hair. From a young age, she fought by any means necessary to keep her hair from getting wet. Mom was the only one in her high school gym class who was able to talk her way out of taking four years of swimming.

Beginning in her 20s, Mom had weekly beauty shop appointments. She would patiently watch her beautician dry and style her hair. Then she would primp in front of the mirror with a pick until her hair was teased and coiffed to perfection, adding enough hairspray to choke an elephant. Fortunately, her saintly beautician didn't take it personally.

Is hair obsession hereditary? Though I suffered through four years of swimming in high school, I admit to being traumatized by bad hair days. Then fate stepped in.

The night before a haircut appointment last April, I received a text from my beautician informing me that she had a bad case of the flu and wasn't sure when she'd feel well enough to reschedule.

I hate change which is evidenced by the fact that I've had slight variations on the shag hairdo since I turned double digits. 

As much as I adore my beautician of over 20 years, I felt that maybe this would be a good opportunity to finally try something new.

Not only was I able to get into another highly recommended stylist two days later, but she was just steps away from our apartment building.

Our first meeting prompted her to ask, "Why do you have a Carol Brady hairdo?"

Carol Brady was the mom played by Florence Henderson on the popular sitcom The Brady Bunch. Shag hairstyles were all the rage in the 70s and Mrs. Brady was quite a trendsetter. The series ran from 1969-1974.

Though almost 50 years later, this was clearly not a compliment, I was in dire need of a stylist who wasn't afraid of hurting my feelings. Boy I miss my mom!

The beautician explained that I could have a more contemporary look by simply growing out my top layers, while trimming the surrounding longer layers. She styled it straight for the first few haircuts which looked great, but I had trouble working with it. Even using a flat iron didn't help.

When I pleaded with her to bring back my shorter layers which had morphed into wings, she assured me that if I just held out a little longer, my hair would be easier to handle. I told her that she was like having an AA sponsor.

Like any good sponsor, she could relate to my frustrations, as she also has curly hair. I decided to follow her lead and stop fighting the heat and humidity by embracing my curls. I'm happier and my husband's happier, so it's a win-win. 

Now I have the best of both worlds, as my former beautician (who's also a color expert) moved into a shop just blocks away from where we live, so I still see her whenever I need highlights.

Hair obsession doesn't only effect the women in our family. Years ago, a close relative joked that he was a member of the "Balding Men's Club," after one of my sons saw him talking to another balding man, and assumed that all men experiencing hair loss knew each other.

One day after being traumatized by the worst haircut of his life, the close relative ranted to the barber in vivid details about what a terrible job he had done. 

Finally, the barber asked, "If I don't charge you for the haircut, will you promise never to come back to my barbershop again?"


  1. How fun Julie - you have a great way of describing situations ... especially for one who has very little hair ... my male hairdresser told me hair only recedes so far ... such is life - mine is there. Great comment from the barber too ... happy hair days - cheers Hilary

  2. Hi,
    I have afro hair that goes into coils immediately when it is wet. It took me a long time to just accept the fact that my hair is beautiful just the way it is.
    I enjoyed reading this.

    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

  3. You stuck it out and now you're happy. Mine is much shorter than it used to be, but I'd look rather ridiculous with a mullet now, thirty years after it went out of style.
    All bald men know each other - funny!

  4. Your hair looks lovely. I too am a curly head. I blew dry my hair straight for years, until someone finally cut it in layers and the curls did what they wanted. It was fine and so, so easy. Now my hair is short, and depending on my mood, I dry it or not. But I NEVER worry about it!

  5. I just loved the tale about the barber. Obsessing about hair? I'm far too busy with an invalid husband to worry about me, and I usually look like the cat dragged through a hedge. To make matter worse, he had a gorgeous head of hair, even in his eighties, very annoying 😊

  6. I love your story about your mom's and you hair. I've never had time to fuss over mine. I just brush it in the morning and go.

  7. My mom's hair stylist injured her wrists just days before my mom's cut and color and my mom was so upset even though she sympathized greatly with her injured friend. Luckily, the stylist's daughter was able to step in and take care of my mom.

    I haven't caught the "bug" myself. I've worn my hair long, usually in a pony-tail, forever. I don't use any hair products other than shampoo and conditioner or even a hair dryer, which saves a lot of time. Plus, I get it trimmed maybe once a year, which has probably saved a lot of dough over the years. My kids tell me I'll need to color it when it gets too grey. We'll see.

  8. Hi Hilary - You are far too busy seeing the world and spreading good cheer to worry about your hair. I also got a kick out of the barber story. Of course this was his first and last visit! Thanks Hilary!

    Pat - I’m glad you also embrace your curls. We must stick together! Thanks Pat!

    Alex - I also had a shaggy mullet in the early 80s, long before my hair turned curly. I’m sure you’ll never have to be a member of the “Bald Men’s Club!” Thanks for hosting another great IWSG, Alex!


  9. Liza - You definitely have the right attitude, as worrying about your hair wastes a lot of time and energy. You look great in short hair! Thank you, Liza!

    Lost - I’m so sorry about your husband. He’s very lucky to have you! I’m glad you have your priorities in order. Thank you!

    Natalie - I’ve always wanted hair that I could just brush and run out the door. You have naturally beautiful hair which accommodates your extremely busy lifestyle. Thanks Natalie!

    Tamara - That must’ve been pretty nerve wrecking for your mom. It’s great that you can wear your hair in a ponytail and only have it trimmed once a year! Hopefully, you won’t have to worry about coloring it for years. Thanks Tamara!


  10. Trying something new and sticking with it is often what we need, and we may not even know it.

    The barber's words at the end of your post made me chuckle.

  11. GEM JULIE ~
    I think your hair looks terrific! In fact, I remember saying something along those lines quite awhile ago on one of your older blog bits. (Do you recall that?)

    I'd never really cared that much about haircuts. I really can't stand going to the barber and so I always put it off until the last possible day. And, seriously, I have told this to several different barbers over the years: "I'd rather have a bad haircut done quickly than a good haircut done slowly." One time, a barber said, "Well, I'll try to give you the best of both worlds: a good haircut done quickly."

    I've always figured that a bad haircut would be overgrown soon enough. But now - at sixty - my hair is really thinning out at a pace that scares me a little. And now, I'm apt to say: "Can you leave it a little longer in the back to cover over that balding spot?" The older I get, the more important haircuts have become. ;^)

    ~ D-FensDogG

  12. Chrys - You are absolutely right! That’s why I needed the beautician to talk me through the rough patches like a sponsor. I wish I could’ve been a fly on the wall at the barbershop that day! Thanks Chrys!

    Hi Stephen - Yes, I do remember you complimenting me on one of my blog pics. You’ve always gone out of your way to make my day! You look great my friend, and many men half your age would be grateful for that magnificent head of hair! Thanks Stephen!


  13. Julie, you look so pretty with your handsome sons and your new hairstyle looks lovely on you. Your mom was quite a character and you always made me laugh with the stories you wrote about her. They were always full of wit and love.

    I have worn my hair in many styles (and colors) over the years. I had a Sassoon, a Fro, a Farrah, a pixie, a shag, a wedge, a bob, long, short, Asymmetrical, middle part, side part, and crimped and permed, Today, I am just happy to have enough hair to cover my scalp. Life giveth and life taketh away.

  14. The new style looks great! I am the complete opposite. I change my hair color (slightly) every 3 months and am always trying new hair styles. It drives my family crazy but I tend to rearrange furniture often too.
    I did love the shag!

  15. Arleen - Thank you so much! This is one of my favorite pics of the boys! My hair was always wavy, so I also had a Farrah hairdo. Funny the older I get, the curlier my hair becomes. You’re not giving yourself enough credit, as your hair looks great. You always make me laugh, Arleen!

    Doreen - I love how you’re able to change your hair color and move your furniture every few months. I wish I had your creativity! Thanks for the kind words, Doreen!


  16. While I change my colour often, I am so careful about altering my cut too much, as my hair grows so slow, and takes so long to get back. However, my girls are so different, so I have to say in our house not hereditary. Two years ago one of my girls went first from long hair to shoulder length, then pink, and next she shaved it all off. NOT hereditary.

  17. What a great picture of you and your sons, Julie. You look wonderful! And of course the story was fun to read and the ending made me laugh.

  18. Rhonda - WOW! I bet your daughter had a good reason for shaving her head. She was probably showing support for a friend who lost her hair to cancer or another illness. I know you’ve raised wonderful daughters, and what a truly selfless thing to do! Thank you, Rhonda!

    Julie - Thank you so much, Julie! Our boys both have summer birhdays that are one week shy of three years apart, and we were out celebrating in that photo. I always liked the barbershop story, so I’m glad I found an opportunity to sneak it in.


  19. I enjoyed reading this. For years I fought with my curly hair. Finally, I gave up and let it do its own thing. Much easier that way.

    1. Connie - You’ve had curls since I’ve known you and you’ve always worn them well! Thank you, Connie!