Thursday, November 15, 2007

Hair's Looking at You

I ran into the mother of a childhood friend a few day ago at a local grocery store, and she freaked because she hadn’t been to the beauty shop for her weekly wash and set. Apparently, she had just gotten back from vacation, didn’t have any food in the house and picked this particular store because she thought she wouldn’t see anybody she knew. Ha! Surprise. She forgot rule #3 about appearances: you won’t see anyone you know unless your hair is a mess, you’re wearing ten year old sweats with a chocolate stain on the seat or you’re suffering a fever blister the size of a gumball. I saw her on three different aisles and she apologized for her hair each time. Funny thing, though. I thought it looked fine straight and sleek. I didn’t know it was supposed to be curly. But then what do I know? I spend about five minutes a day on my hair. I’m not what you’d call experienced in the area of cosmetology.

What’s up with the obsession my mother’s generation has with the wash and set? I just don’t get it. I’d hate to think I had to trudge to the beauty shop once a week for someone to wash my hair, roll it on rollers and puff it up six inches high. Oh, I’d enjoy the gossip and the trashy magazines, but not the maintenance required for a wash and set do. I certainly wouldn’t enjoy the keg o’ hairspray it takes to hold it in place, and I couldn’t stand washing my hair just once a week. That sticky stuff has got to itch. Then there’s the satin pillow you have to sleep on to keep the puff from going poof. And most important of all is the rain bonnet. Mama J. is a fifty year member of the wash and set club, and she hasn’t left the house without a rain bonnet since Eisenhower was in office. I’ve seen the woman wear a Wal-Mart sack on her head to keep her hair from getting wet. A tornado could roll through town and it wouldn’t keep her from her Saturday morning hair appointment at A Beautiful You. Heaven forbid a special occasion pop up out of nowhere on a Friday, the day before her appointment, because by Friday morning the hairdo is a little flat regardless of how faithful she’s been to the satin pillow. She hates it when someone dies and the visitation is on Friday night. Granted, the deceased usually doesn’t have much say in his time of death, but a Friday wake requires an emergency hair appointment.

My mom was a wash and set woman back in the sixties and seventies. We have some fine pictures of her with ten foot tall hair. I’d show them to you but she guards them like the gold at Fort Knox. I can understand why. Over the years she got tired of all the rolling and spraying and quit the weekly appointments. Now her hair changes with the wind. Some days she poofs. Some days she doesn’t. I guess she figures she lives so far out in the country that it doesn’t matter. No one’s looking except Daddy and the deer. I’m a little like that. Most days my hair is just flat and straight. Every now and then I get a little crazy and curl it. That trend usually lasts for about three days. Then I get tired of the time and energy involved and go back to flat. Frankly, I think Dolly Parton has the right idea. She just slaps on a wig to fit her mood. I guess you have to wash and style those things, but certainly not every day. I figure I’ll be one of those old ladies with a long, gray braid. I’ll go for the eccentric look, so I don’t have to explain that I’m really lazy about my hair and so I’ll only have to trudge to the beauty shop about one every two months for a trim….and the gossip….and the trashy magazines.


Jason said...

My grandmother called it her "Thursday-Do". I love how those wash and sets have about two cans of aqua net on them. Don't people realize what a fire hazard that is? In my town the place to get the wash and set is called "Flo's Hair Palace". Cracks me up everytime I drive past.

Ami said...

My grandmother slept on a satin pillowcase and had her hair done once a week, too.

I do mine daily. Wash. Dry. Sort of curl. Go.

It makes me crazy when I can't shower every morning.

hulagirlatheart said...

Flo's....that's laugh out loud funny!