Bad hair days didn’t exist during my childhood.
If my hair dripped from swimming, I solved the problem the way our spaniel did: Shaggy and I stuck our noses out the station wagon window and let God blow slimy locks dry.
My mother, however, used brush rollers that jammed into her cranium like a medieval iron maiden’s spikes.
She tried to teach her daughter well. By federal law, every grade school girl experienced two Toni Home Permanents per year. Little did we know “Toni” was an acronym for Toxic Onion Nuclear Inhalant. We’d inherited the ancient First Principle of Hairstyles: if it’s natural, if it’s easy, then it’s all wrong.
Afterward, though, I liked wearing curls like everybody else’s. I cried, however, when my brother’s wavy blond hair was whacked into a crew cut — like everybody else’s.
During the 1960s, thousands of young people, including my brother and myself, freed ourselves from hair oppression. Away with Toni Home Permanents! Away with crew cut wax! Death to hairspray!
The Establishment fought us, comb and scissors. They excommunicated us from schools, football squads, and church quiz teams. We sang our “Hair” anthem with noble defiance.
My mother pleaded, “Honey, your hair’s already straight. Why set it with orange juice cans?”
I gave the obvious answer: “Because soup cans won’t stay up.”
Poor Mom. What a square.
At a pajama party, hip friends and I made a radical discovery: wearing younger siblings’ underwear on our heads would keep soup cans up all night.
My clueless mother didn’t “get” my soup cans. Nor why my friend Linda fried her curly locks on an ironing board. You’d think Mom, who’d suffered years of brush roller agony, would share our vision for hair that defined a new dawn for all humanity.
Decades later, we of the “Hair” generation are mostly thankful to have some.
We highlight our gray, lowlight it, blow-dry, messy bun and shave it. We color it pink, green and purple, hoping we’ll look like … our grandchildren.
Hasn’t worked. Maybe I should try soup cans again — with underwear on my head.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What did/do you endure to maintain trendy hair?