To all the girls I've loved before
BY JENNA WASAKOSKI
At some point in the late ’80s, the Cabbage Patch Kid franchise produced a variation called “Cornsilk Kids.” Unlike the original terrors with hair spun of yarn, these had more human, silky hair said to mirror the feeling of cornsilk, I guess. I mean, come on. Did you come from the cabbage patch or the cornfields? Children from cornfields weren’t high on the list of things that should be trusted back in the day.
Identity crisis aside, like many Barbies before her whose bangs I chopped when I found a pair of non-safety scissors, I proceeded to try to give my cornsilk kid an inverted bob — a hair cut which became trendy years later, because you know, at 8, I was really progressive and trend setting (just kidding, I had a mullet and I was a disaster).
So, after I chopped off her silky strands in a way which looked as if I stuck her head in a blender, I tried to “curl it under” with a hot curling iron. It melted like a slice of cheese, thus ruining whatever her name was, which is great since they’re now selling on eBay for upwards of $200.
I’ve been ruining hair since I was just a wee little girl.
So, I eventually, in about fifth grade, sought the care of a professional — not therapist, that came later. I went to my first hairdresser.
Hairdressing is a world I’m not sure men understand, but an appointment is pretty sacred time spent between two people. There’s gossip, therapy, small talk and sometimes great philosophical exchanges.
Generally, someone finds a photo, or a pin on Pinterest in modern times, and they request of said hairdresser to recreate the look on their head. The problem is, if someone takes a picture in of Megan Fox, and they don’t end up leaving the salon looking like Megan Fox, they’re all, “I hate my hair.” Unrealistic Hollywood standards strike again.
I’ve been around the block when it comes to hairdressers and I’ve truly adored them all. My problem is, I’m so indecisive. I’m constantly changing my hair color. I believe it’s been every color but green (oh wait, it was green for an hour or in an attempt to strip out navy blue).
It’s hard to part ways, though.
Leaving a hairdresser is almost like a breakup. You share a lot while you’re in that chair and you develop a relationship, but there comes a time for some people when they need change.
Making an appointment with a new hairdresser feels like signing up for the married and cheating site, Ashley Madison. It feels like pure betrayal and there’s a level of guilt knowing the one who was for a good amount of time in charge of what your head looked like was going to be wondering why you haven’t called for an appointment.
So, you move on with your new stylist. But then, the day arrives where you see your “old hairdresser” and they see your new hairstyle and there is a moment of awkwardness worse than sitting through a sex scene in a movie while watching with your parents.
But I’ve whole-heartedly respected and appreciated every hairdresser who has ever touched a strand of my hair. They’ve taken me from black to blonde to magenta to brown to navy blue. I’ve been highlighted in a cap, foiled, ombred, permed, balayaged and sewn in extensions. For all their hours of work, I have much love for them every blessed one of them.
But now, I’m back to my back-alley approach of hairdressing: Doing it myself. It’s just safer that way. It’s not that I didn’t like anyone’s work, it’s that I’m so crazy indecisive about my hair, I can’t really subject another human being to my nonsense. Then, I have only myself to blame when I fail at rose gold balayage or my hair falls out and I start wearing wigs.
So to my mom, Maryann, Tina, Christie, Tammy, Ashley, Amy, Erin, Trina, that one lady in Baltimore who cut off a foot of my hair and anyone I forgot, thank you. For your under-appreciated artistry and talent, know that I realize I drove most of you crazy, but I think the world of all of you.
Hairdressing requires talent, patience and drive for ongoing education to stay up-to-date with trends. Being a stylist is truly a craft and it should be recognized as such.
(Jenna Wasakoski is an assistant editor at The News-Item. Her lifestyle column appears Thursdays.)