When my friend Sarah and I were fifteen and attending the same church, we hated each other for six months over some tubby kid with red hair and pimples who thought he was Joey Tribiani. When we finally figured out he wasn’t worth it and started hanging out, we realized we were kindred spirits. Sarah and I were both card-carrying Hair Wreckers.
Hair Wreckers are created by their mothers. When a little girl is forced to endure the humiliation of years of bad haircuts and hairstyles, she spends the rest of her life unable to leave her hair alone, striving constantly to achieve Pantene model status, hoping to alleviate the painful childhood hair memories. What she becomes is a Hair Wrecker.
Sarah and I together managed to attain new heights of bad hair that never would have happened alone. For instance, one day when we got tired of putting scotch tape on the bottoms of the paws of Sarah’s mean cat, we decided to dye our hair. I was already in the advanced stages of hag-head, having tried to chemically straighten my permed hair, perms having gone suddenly out of style. The result was that I had some fried, straight hair, some fried, frizzy hair, and some fried, curly hair. Dying it couldn’t make it any worse, I thought to myself. Sarah and I wanted to be cautious, so we chose dye that was only a few shades different than our natural color. We ended up with hair the exact same color we had started out with, just a bit more damaged.
A few years later, bored with our current hairstyles, we decided to get haircuts. I ripped a picture of Jennifer Aniston out of a magazine. This was after she had grown out the “Rachel” cut and had long, sleek layers, but the woman cutting my hair took one look at the picture and exclaimed, “Oh, I JUST learned how to do this at a seminar last weekend!” and took her scissors to my hair. I stared at my reflection when she was done. What stared back was a sad Afghan hound, short layers jutting out crazily. Sarah, two chairs over, had skipped joyfully into the salon with an exact idea in her head. She wanted the “Maddy” haircut, from the now-defunct “Mike and Maddy” talk show. Maddy had a cute, piecy crop of highlighted hair that showcased her big brown eyes. Sarah wanted that hair, and wanted it BAD. The problem is, Sarah’s hair is a separate entity, not subject to the commands of her brain. It is a reddish-brown, coarse, curly mop of stubbornness that no one person has ever been able to subdue. The Maddy cut was no exception. Sarah ended up with a wavy helmet of hair that was more suited to a 55-year-old Disco King. As we sat morosely in my room, we reasoned that maybe our cuts weren’t as bad as we thought they were. To test our theory, we went to Medieval Times, a monthly field trip for us. Every female in our section, including the ones wearing Depends and Polident, got a flower thrown to them except us. We stared at each other in dismay. If the skeezy Medieval Times knights didn’t flirt with us, we MUST be hideous! There was nothing to do but wait for the haircuts to grow out.
The following years were filled with phone calls that went something like this:
“Um…I did something.”
“WHAT. WHAT did you do? Did you wreck your hair again? You did, didn‘t you?”
I have scorched my scalp so badly it felt like a too-small swim cap when I tried to go blonde on my own. Sarah became a hair-double for Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride, complete with two poofs of parted bangs because she took advantage of an $8 Bo-rics sale. We eventually started taking pictures so that when we were tempted to mess with our hair, we could look back on past mistakes and abstain. But, alas, Hair Wreckers are like drug addicts. It is a life-long affliction. Sometimes you fall off the wagon. Every time you see someone with great hair totally different from yours, you are overcome with the urge to dye and cut. Just the other day I stood, scissors in hand, ready to make myself some Salma Hayek bangs, but I managed to let the atrophied, common sense part of my brain have its say, and I put the scissors away.
Maybe Sarah and I will start HWA; Hair Wreckers Anonymous. There will be only three steps in our program:
1. Apologize to your hair.
2. Promise your hair that the only things you will do to your hair on your own is wash it and brush it.
3. Promise your hair that when you absolutely MUST do something to it, you will go to a professional who meets the following criteria:
- charges more than $11
- is recommended by at least two people with good hair
- watches other channels besides TV land and the History channel
By doing this, we will make the world a visually better place by averting our self-inflicted hair disasters. Thank you.
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