July 2, 2006

Hair Apparent

Gimme head with hair
Long, beautiful hair
Shining, gleaming,
Streaming, flaxen, waxen
__________ HAiR: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical

Hair. A life-long preoccupation of mine. As a child, I craved long chestnut locks, later, long straight blond hair. No wait. Curly--curly and auburn, that's what I want. However, I have nondescript light brown hair which I have worn short most of my life. First, I had the 60s Pixie, and then the adult versions; with flippy bangs in the late 70s, mullet-y in the early 80s, then short and spiky, moving on to the 90s horizontal shelf in back and finally casually disheveled in the new millennium.

I also have what a friend termed "terrier hair"--hair so straight, thick and coarse that, if it were longer, could string violin bows. This texture provides my hair with its own force field. It repels foreign objects. No bobby pins, barrettes or doodads for me. I could feel the force of gravity on my Farrah Fawcett bangs, before the pssssssst sound of the curling iron died away. In my brief high school years with long hair, I once tried a ponytail. It was about the circumference of my wrist for a nano-second, and then, sproing, the rubber band broke under the strain and shot across the room.

Additionally, I got the whole genetic package: the Hobbit feet; the upper lip which cries for regular waxing, sugaring, bleaching; the eyebrows like two parted lovers, reaching to embrace across the bridge of my nose.

Now, in my 40s, I have the hair obsession under control with the help of my hairdresser and an array of commercial products. What I hadn't reckoned on was life with two adolescent boys.

"Look at my arms!" Jeff exclaims after swimming. "Wow," I agree. "Fur." I look closely at his face with what I hope appears to be a fond maternal gaze. I am scrutinizing him for signs of nascent uni-brow.

Hart gingerly fingers his upper lip. He is dismayed by the faint shadow there. "See, I have it, too. Everyone does." I console. "It looks much better on you."

Alas, it gets worse. A friend who shares my birth date confided, "I am really going gray." "Yeah, me, too," I said, thinking of my dozen silver strands that I occasionally notice when looking in the rear view mirror (IF I have the sun roof open). "No," she said, cocking an eyebrow meaningfully. "I am going gray EVERYWHERE."

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