Thursday, August 9, 2007

what I now know about hair

A couple of people have asked about the photo, so perhaps it could use a bit of explanation. My hair is not straight; it’s naturally messy-curly. While I was getting my hair cut that day, Miranda the stylist (think Shakespeare, The Tempest) asked if I had ever straightened it. Too much bother, I said. So she proceeded to bother. Those chairs are like dentists’ chairs, you know; once you’re in, you can’t get away until they release you.

I learned that the professional procedure for straightening curly hair involves at least three different glop products, a large round brush and blow dryer, followed by a flat iron. Since I figured this might be the only time in my life I’d have straight hair, I asked my son, home from college for the summer, to take a photo. In the first set of photos, I looked like a nut-case dork with a strained smile. Nobody would want to believe she really looks like that and certainly nobody would want anybody else to think she looks like that, with or without straight hair.

Inspired with sudden brilliance, I fetched Matilda the corn snake from her afternoon nap in her terrarium and voila, as natural a smile as you’ll get from me when there’s a camera nearby.

Another observation about straight hair: recently I attended the Willamette Writers Conference. Lots of native or naturalized Oregonians went to this conference to pitch their work to editors and agents, most of whom come from the east coast. It was not difficult to spot the female out-of-towners; they were the ones with the professionally straightened hair that acquires a polished, precise look. It’s very attractive and, by comparison, the rest of us looked like slobs. But that’s the Pacific Northwest for you.

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