Big Hairy Deal

If I had to classify my relationship with my hair, I would say “it’s complicated.”

I’ve gone from disinterested (childhood) to horribly dysfunctional (middle school) to high-maintenance (college) back to ambivalent tinged with annoyance and a strong desire to try and bring back the stylish babushka of my grandma’s youth (now and forever going forward.)

But it turns out I have a long history of hair animosity.

I’m told I didn’t have hair until I was about three years old and was often affectionately referred to as a cue ball with kielbasa legs. While all the other babies were wearing little butterfly clips in their hair, I had a bandana stylishly tied around my noggin.


One vote for the babushka.

When I did finally get hair, I still wasn’t that fond of it. One afternoon when my grandpa was “watching” me, I took the scissors and cut off my ponytail, along with several patches of fur from our dog Grover. Ever the organizer, I carefully placed the hair into envelopes and then proceeded to deliver them to my mom upon her return.

As you can imagine, she was thrilled.


I resorted to more headwear.

My Barbie dolls and any other toy unfortunate enough to have anything resembling hair suffered a similar fate, albeit without the advantage of being able to grow their hair back. This left several scalped carcasses to be used as the perfect plastic projectile for when I was feeling ignored.

But there was a brief period of time in my early 20s  in which my hair was my “thing.”

I went to an overpriced salon and spent $120 every six weeks to get tinfoil wrapped around my head and eavesdrop on the conversations of rich people while I sipped my glass of sparkling water with cucumber.

I’ve done everything from platinum blonde to a dark purple shade called “Orchid.” Now when asked what my natural hair color is, I swear the “Jeopardy” theme song plays in the background.

I stopped going to that salon almost seven years ago when things like mortgages took priority over foils and fancy trims. My natural brown hair is simply there, annoyingly so, mocking me with it’s thinness and a wonky cowlick that prevents me from that trendy side-swipe bang look that would cover my large forehead.

But as long as I don’t look in the mirror, my hair and I get along fine now.

You learn to pick your battles and I waved the white flag years ago—and now might just use it as a babushka.


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39 responses to “Big Hairy Deal

  1. I have had a life-long love/hate relationship with my hair. Throughout my teens, it was a huge ball of frizz, completely out of control – it was the bain of my existence.

    Nowadays, I just roll with it, my hair sticks out all over the place and it never looks presentable, but hey, that’s me.

    My girflriend loves my hair, she says it’s wild, like my soul.

    (Which is just a polite way of exclaiming that I look like I’ve been dragged through a bush backwards).

  2. Ha, love the jeopardy line! I have been graying since I was about 23, so I’ve been a slave to blonde-tin foil procedures forever, that cost like $170 after tip 6 times a year. Just recently, I realized I was finally gray enough that it could be confused for blonde highlights for quite some time, So I think I can get the visits down to like 3 times a year without looking like a homeless person. Hurrah!

  3. Ha! My hair is fine and kinda limp…I’ve recently started doing hot coconut oil treatments at home, which is…messy. I used to highlight it regularly but I haven’t in months now – I’m contemplating growing it out because I can’t freaking afford to get it highlighted as regularly as it needs to be. Majorly annoying.

    • Highlights are a pain in the ass, if only because your roots show up so easily. At least with color you can kind of pretend that it fades.

  4. Usually this would be a post too girly even for me but this morning as I got up, my 8-year-old met me downstairs. She has this thick head of curly dark hair that looks like Lenny Kravitz’s old dreadlocks when she wakes. She’s a tomboy and wants her hair in a ponytail 95 % of the time because she hates dealing with it. I teased her about it and I saw it hurt her feelings slightly. Then she said, “you know, I looked up Lenny Kravitz on Tay’s computer. I think he looks awesome.”

    I had been put in my place.

  5. Bahahahaa. I just finished writing my new “about me” page, in which I describe wearing a babushka scarf just like this one around my head as a kid after an unfortunate “incident” in which my cousin chopped off all my hair. You really ARE my Polish twin! 🙂 I wish I still had that scarf because my hair is pissing me off lately. I CANNOT WAIT to chop it off after the wedding. You’ll be getting an envelope in the mail soon, LOL.

  6. I have the same cowlick. I’ve embraced the fact that I have curly hair and just throw mousse in it and hope for the best.

    • I wish I had curly hair, but that’s how it goes. You always want what you can’t have…like curly hair or a professional hockey player to stand around and tell you you’re beautiful in his glorious Canadian accent.

  7. I, too, have a cowlick. I say it’s the curse of the intelligent! By the way, I bought your book on Amazon and am in the process of reading it.

    • The curse of the intelligent? I’ll buy that! We also say that about the hereditary bump on our noses, but that one is iffy…And I’m honored you’re reading my book! Every copy sends a much-needed donation to the Humane Society 🙂

  8. Whereas you didn’t have much hair as a child, mine grew like a jungle. I have lots of lovely hair that doesn’t appreciate rainy, humid days and can be a bit of a “I give up” hassle. I can almost see myself back in my college years (3 years ago) when I fretted about my hair.

    I still do, come to think of it. 😛

  9. I always felt Blah about my hair, until a few months ago when I couldn’t help but notice it falling out in clumps. At first I assumed it was post-pregnancy hair loss, my head just returning to “normal” after my follicles spent 9 months holding onto each hair like a winning lottery ticket. But we’ve overshot “normal,” and as it continues to thin out for unknown reasons I’m pining for the days of Blah.

    • You should look into that, as even though you probably know, hair loss is a sign of a lot of different things/deficiencies. Then again, maybe your kids just force you to pull out your hair 😉

  10. I was born with enough hair for all of us. My hair looks good maybe one day a week. That happens on accident when I lay on it just so while I’m sleeping. I have zero patience to even attempt to style it, which is sad ’cause my stylist is very talented and gives me such a great cut, I feel like I’m doing her a disservice by just letting it go all wonky.

    • I always pray I never run into my stylist in public, as she’ll probably refuse to work with me going forward for fear that I negatively reflect her talents.

  11. I always had long hair until my early twenties. It was then that I began to “trim” it until I found myself one day resembling Sinead O’Connor. I love the look of long hair, I think it’s sexy and beautiful but I found it to be too high maintenance for my taste. It turns out I’m a wash and go type of gal. I also started going grey in my 20s and in my 30s went thru a au natural period where I stopped dying my hair and some people loved it, others hated it. For the moment, it didn’t bother me and then one day I decided to dye it again. When it comes to hair, I don’t put much thought into it. I don’t make appts to cut it on time, I don’t dye it when I’m supposed to. I just wake up one day and if I feel like cutting my hair, I make a phone call; hence, the 5 hairdressers I have just to make sure one of them is available at a moment’s notice because if I make an appt for the following day, chances are I may not go – I may have changed my mind or didn’t feel like sitting in a chair for an hour or so or whatever. Same goes for dying my hair. Right now I’ve had a box of dye on top of the bathroom sink for months waiting to get into the mood of dying it. So I hear ya…..I hear ya….

    • I’m pretty much the same way. I like the idea of long hair if only because of the ponytail option, but I don’t have the patience anymore. Plus, I’m not sure my hair would even grow if I let it. I also have issues sitting in a chair for a long time to get it done and never make my appointments until a week after I probably should have. We might be hair soul sisters.

  12. Oh yes, I have had issues with my hair for as long as I can remember.

    Now a days, I usually just rock a ponytail and call it a day.

    But if there’s a special occsaion that requires I “do” my hair, it’s hot-rollers and hairspray to the rescue.

    And also, my grays are getting worse and worse, I try to maintain coloring my roots. And luckily one of my best friends is a stylist so I never have to pay more than 20 bucks for a cut & color.

  13. I had really long hair until I was 6 and my mom cut it VERY short. I started a new school and everyone thought I was a boy. My parents made us keep the short styles for “ease” until we were in our early teens. So I became somewhat obsessed with my hair once it became “my own.” Every trim was majorly anxiety producing. I had big perms and was an expert with the curling iron. Now, I get my hair cut about twice a year (long to medium), am lucky that I only have a few gray hairs (in my mid-40s) and — I wash it about every other or every third day because it takes too long to dry/style. I try not to wear it too often in a ponytail (except when I’m running), because my wonderful stylist insists that a ponytail is not a style and I want him to like me. 🙂

  14. Carrie - Cannibalistic Nerd

    I also didn’t grow any hair for my first three years. My mom taped bows to my head and there was a lot of “isn’t he cute”s. Now, I shed like crazy. I joke that if anyone ever kils me, they’d be done in by the follicle evidence.

  15. girl you know my hair has been through the rainbow, but lately I’m totally embracing my natural color. Except when the grays stark poking out, then I give it a little “help.”

  16. omg. You’re an adorable baby, Abby. I want to see more of those pics!

    I never did care about my hair until I started hanging out with more Koreans…ack. Going to Korean salons suck because they will tell you all the things that are wrong with your hair (and somehow convince you to buy hair treatments and what-nots). I never know how much WORK goes into maintaining hair the “proper” lady way.

    I lost my hair during my ED days, so now…I kind of appreciate them a lot more.

  17. I didn’t have hair for ages when I was a baby. My brother’s nickname for me was “Bo Hickey.” I guess he was some big fat pro football player with no hair. You’ve got to love older siblings. I have fine, thin totally straight hair and for years my mom allowed me to get perms when I was young. They only made things worse. So, I understand your pain. The only thing I do pay for are highlights at least a couple of times a year. Mousey blond is bad on me. Bad!

  18. My hair drives me insane – It has always been thin, fine and straight. Then I cut it short and found out it is actually wavy with cowlicks. SO I can’t wear it long (looks terrible) or short (looks terrible and sticks up). UGH

  19. kelleysbreakroom

    That last picture made me laugh out loud. I know what you mean about hair! My hair right now looks like I should be the back-up singer for Willy Nelson or something. It’s too long and frizzy. Icky.

  20. I so agree that avoiding mirrors is a great help when it comes to appearance and peace of mind issues. At least it works for me

  21. I feel ya. My mom mused to scoth tape a bow on my (bald) head so folks knew I was a girl.

    I’ll just leave it at that. *sigh*

    ~ A.

  22. So funny! I had one doll when I was a kid and she was practically scalped! Thanks for the laugh – came from Finding the Funny!

  23. StoriesAndSweetPotatoes

    I wish I knew how many times in my life my hair has actually been cut because I bet it’s alarmingly low. I let it grow all year then chop it all off. Haircuts are expensive…or maybe like you I’ll just start doing it myself?.. I love these old pictures of you. 🙂

  24. You rocked that babushka.

  25. I have long hair that has loose curls. Which sounds much more glam than it is. I dread getting haircuts because 1) the stylist always insists in blowing it out (why? What’s wrong with my curly hair? I like it curly!) and 2) the haircut always turns out bad a few days later. I don’t know why, but I drop $60 on a cut, look fab for a day or two, look terrible for two weeks, then okay for two, and then fab – right before I am scheduled for another cut. WTF?

  26. You put your hair in envelopes? Hmm. All I really get from this post is the missed opportunity to be a first-rate serial killer. Such a shame. 🙂

    I spend $20 every 3-4 months to get a trim in my friend’s kitchen. As long as my hair is “long”, people don’t notice my lack of styling so much.

  27. But man, you were so cute in that bandana! 😉

  28. Sigh. I have the premature grey gene thanks to my mother. And my hair is also a Jeopardy question to which I do not know the final answer. BUT I can’t afford a salon so am a slave to the box color and since my hair is “Dark Brown” no other color will soak into it without bleach. fml. I have ALWAYS wanted what I couldn’t have, which is platinum blonde hair and I am pissed that Madonna can do it and I can’t. SO my game plan is to eventually start going to the salon to get light highlights. I will continue getting more and more highlights so that eventually my hair will be blonde……yep. And I think babushkas are super cute. And in my old age of 37 I feel like my hair is going from frizzy with a chance of luster (via straightener) to frizzy with a 90% chance of cottony. Why is my texture turning all soft feeling but cottony looking? I think it is old age. I think I saw a commercial once for a product for making old hair look young again. But I can’t remember……..what it was.

    • Whether it’s wine or hair color, there’s nothing wrong with getting it from a box. However, I wouldn’t recommend the wine immediately before the hair coloring…

  29. First of all, that bandana is hot. Bret Michaels would be proud. Secondly, at least your hair didn’t have a midlife crisis and in the 8th grade decided to give you the bird and turn curly one one without notice. So while you were still blow drying your hair straight, your hair everyday was saying a big “Eff you” and stuck out 8 inches past your shoulders like the biggest fur ball of fluff ever. So glad I found your blog Abby! You are hilarious 🙂

  30. My hair has been a curse my entire life, even though everyone always says how much they love it. Being Spanish, my mother would not let me get it cut when I was young. the longest I remember it being was down to the middle of my thighs. Every time I sat down I ended up giving myself whiplash and the weight of it cuased me to have frequent debilitating migraines. At 13, I had a friend chip it off up to my chin while spending the night with her and I proudly walked up to my mom to show her she couldn’t dictate my hair style any longer. Then I proceeded to hide in my room and cry for the next year while I tried to find ways to make it grow faster.

    I prefer the length to about the middle of my back. The older I get, the younger the longer lengths make me look. But on occasion, (like if I get preggo or have a really severe attack of PMS – it seems to always be hormonal) I go and chop it off again, to a ridiculously short length. This always results in the months of hating my hair and wishing it to grow back fast. Then I ask myself, “why?” No answer yet….I just chalk it up to boredom.

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