Have you ever found yourself wanting to look like someone else, even if the person you're wanting to look like has been compared, repeatedly, to a drag queen? And then you feel kind of weird and ashamed because - really? Have you been harboring the "hot tranny mess" gene all this time and somehow never noticed? But finally you look deep within yourself, to the source of your attraction, and realize that you just like the hair. Whew! You just want her hair. But then, sadly, you are made aware that Drag Queen's gorgeous curls come courtesy of some uber pricey hair extensions. You quickly switch hair models, but every time you find a new head of hair to covet, you learn the truth: EXTENSIONS. Every last one of them.
So what's a girl to do? I've been waging a battle royale with my hair for...well, ever since the 8th grade; that's the first time I can remember messing with it. The summer after 8th grade my best friend and I thought it would be a great idea to use that Clairol Herbal Essences wash-out hair dye to turn my baby-soft, thin, naturally blonde hair maroon. We waited until the week we were going to camp, followed the simple three-step process, and voila - purplish red hair. After 14 shampoos or however long it was supposed to take, my hair looked somewhat normal - but with a decidedly mauve tint. No problem, I thought - I'll just highlight it! I was always jealous of my friends who highlighted their hair. All those different colors, and you could even do stripes! How fun! It was on that fateful day, as any of you who fight the good fight of hair-color maintenance know, that I screwed myself forevermore.
I've been growing my hair out now for about two years. Yeah, I'd say either two years or the entire last decade; it all kind of runs together. Right after college, drunk on excessive freedom, I went through a hair phase best summed up as LET'S CUT IT ALL OFF. I met a hairstylist friend named Lily, and she and I bonded over our respective goals: she, to achieve the coveted Level 4 Stylist and I, to have as many different haircuts in a year as humanly possible. After a series of increasingly shorter crops, I ended up with this cut. And after that had grown out enough to do ANYTHING with, I went back to the Toni & Guy in the mall to visit Lily and her manager told me she had gone to jail. Surprisingly, Lily is not the only hairstylist I have had who has ended up in the clink. Is it a hazard of the job? Hairstylists, what gives?
Now I'm stuck in this stage where I keep thinking that if my hair can just grow another inch or two, it will FINALLY look like I want. And then it does grow - another inch or two of the fine, straight, flat hair I've always had, and I am consistently shocked. I think I have hair dysmorphic disorder. I look in the mirror and see potential for fat, full-figured curls, but everyone else sees the reality - sickly, stick-straight strands. One of my really good friends, Allison, has been doing my hair for the past couple of years, and the other day as I was leaving the salon, we paused at the check-out desk to chat. Allison pointed at a picture of a hair model hanging above the desk and said that she would love to grow her hair out and cut it like the model's, but that her hair would never do that. I looked at the picture, looked at Allison's hair, and said "sure it would! Why not?" Allison sighed and explained that the hair model had tons of thick hair, and that if someone with thin hair attempted that cut, it would end up looking stringy, scraggly and awful. It was like a lightbulb of shame went off in my head, and I think Allison could see my wheels turning. "So, is that why my hair looks stringy, scraggly, and awful half the time?" I asked. "Half the time?" Allison replied. "I think that's being pretty generous, don't you?" Then I drop-kicked her and stormed out of the salon, but not before magnanimously tipping at least 15%. What? You don't tip? How rude.
Really though, I am grateful to have a friend who does my hair, someone who will tell me the truth that NO, ELISE, your hair will never look like this picture you brought in. At least not without adding in a whole lot of someone else's hair. And I don't know, I just don't think I can get on board with the idea of a normal, non-celebrity member of society getting hair extensions. I mean, what would you think, if the girl who works in the cubicle next to you, or the lady next door walked up one day with long, thick, gorgeous curls when just YESTERDAY she had normal, blah, mid-length hair? I think it could be kind of awkward.
"Soo....umm...your hair looks nice today, Elise."
"Oh! Thanks! I...uhhh...curled it!"
"Soo....umm...your hair looks nice today, Elise."
"Oh, yeah...errr....it's weird, I know. I got hair extensions. I mean, OBVIOUSLY, I did - not like you didn't know that because clearly hair does not grow this fast overnight, and. Yeah. I know it seems strange, and maybe like, WOW DOES SHE THINK SHE'S A DIVA, but really, I don't! I just...thought it would be fun? And..."
So I guess I'm just going to have to get on board with my boring hair. Unless you guys think I could pull off extensions. And trust me, I can't.