I thought I would have a little fun at my own expense on the subject of my various childhood hair arrangements. I’m afraid I’ll have to drag my sister into this one too. This fun will also be had at the expense of my parents which is just fine with me. I hold them partially responsible for these “hairdon’ts”. Every time I have questioned them as to why I was dressed or coiffed the way I was in the 70′s, it is met with a response such as “Oh honey, that’s just what people did back then.”. REALLY?
Why DID people do this to their children in the 70′s? This is not a rhetorical question. I’m looking for answers.
Another question. Why did my father cut our hair at home? He had no discernible barbering skills and we did not seem to own any professional haircutting tools (such as sharp scissors). We lived in a college town, so certainly there had to have been some decent beauty shops?!? We were not poor, though for some reason we only seemed to own one single comb, and several of those horrible lime green and hot pink Goody plastic brushes with the pointy ends. The pointy ends of those brushes had many other applications, for example my sister once used one to express her anger over some injustice by ramming it through the vinyl headrest of our family Gran Torino station wagon.
Speaking of those brushes with the pointy handles, my best friend’s mother would subject us to pigtails any chance she could. Pigtails were very practical for long summer days spent playing in the yard. She would sit me down and furiously brush my hair into submission. Then she would wield the sharp end of one of those flourescent brushes like a shiv. She would press it against my now-stinging scalp to create a part from the middle of my forehead to the nape of my neck. At this point she would again vigorously brush and tug and wind the hair into two pigtails. As a finale to this excruciating ordeal, she would secure the pigtails with the elastics with brightly colored plastic balls on the ends requiring that she temporarily pull the pigtail even tighter. She pulled the pigtails so tight that my eyes would water, and the skin on my face would pull back into a shiny, distorted mask. God forbid we should complain. She was from Texas after all, no wussiness allowed! As soon as she had dismissed me with a loud ”RUN ALONG!”, I would disappear and release my facial skin.
My sister has graciously allowed me to include this delightful picture of her mock-Suzanne Sommers hairdo from the 5th grade. I guess this ‘do was something she cooked up on her own without my mother’s permission. Maybe she’s still proud of that. I think these side ponytails were popular for a while because I wore them too.
Meanwhile, my mother was a goddess in the 70′s. She wore her thick, jet-black, shiny hair long for years, and later cut it into a fashionable bob.
MY hair as a child however, was not goddess-like. It wouldn’t do anything I wanted it to. It was terrible when I tried to make it feather, or curl back or lay straight or be curly. Here is an example.
My mother seems to think it appropriate for women to wear their hair short at a certain point, maybe somewhere around menopause. When she has an opinion like this, it triggers a childish yet powerful urge in me do the opposite. I might end up being one of those eighty year-old women with a giant bun just to test her theory. I do admit though, that this rebellion against my mother has not worked out very well for me in the past, so maybe by the time I am 80 I will have given up on it.
The 80′s and 90′s were not always kind to my hair either, but that is a whole different post, and I won’t be able to blame it on my parents.