I have curly hair now. It used to be long and straight–well, I could straighten it–forming a nice, blonde Lego-like helmet that gave me lots of options: bun, ponytail, braid, clip, or a head-turning mane. Then, two months ago, I cut it. Lo and behold, my hair is curly as fuck.
This is a problem, because–as the Bible tells us–hair is a glory to women. And, as the Bible commands us, I’ve been online dating for awhile now. This new hair is not helping. It does not photograph well, meaning I have no recent (flattering) photos of me to post on my profile. Rather, my hair photographs as though I just awoke from a nap on the beach. Or I am being set upon by disorganized nesting birds. Or I’m applying to clown college. I am every man’s dream!
“How can hair change from straight to curly?” you might be wondering. So was I! I asked the Google, but deep down inside, I already knew: it is most likely caused by hormonal changes related to menopause. I have some lab confirmation of just that very process, even though I am–to use scientific terminology–too young for this shit. My curly hair, as effervescent and youthful as it can make me seem, is actually the physical manifestation of my dying junk. Which makes me hate it all the more.
And yet, I have mad respect for my hair as a literary device, because it is the perfect manifestation of my inner struggle. Like me, the person, I don’t know what this hair is supposed to be. My old hair was professor hair: orderly, manageable, and legible. On a good day, it said to the world, “My hair is supposed to be this, and today I got it about 85% right.” My new hair is whateverthefuck. It is illegible. There is no “ideal” state to style for, and it looks different every time I leave the house. I don’t know what it is supposed to be, so it forces me to make peace with its misrule. I suppose I am learning to surrender control, to the humidity, the concentration of the mousse, the whim of the follicle, and all the other variables that conspire to make me look like an old hag wearing a grapevine wreath or, on a good day, an aging [non]manic pixie dream girl.
I am getting used to it. And I am grateful to have hair at all, not to mention money to make it pretty and colorful and breath to complain about its foibles. It’s all good, right? It’s only hair.