Tuesday 4 August 2009

Ironing out who I am

The questions I am probably asked most in my life are ‘London paper/ London Lite?’, ‘would you like a blueberry muffin with that?’ and ‘have you ever had your hair straightened?’

The first two I answer without difficulty- to the first person who asks me about a paper it’s likely to be yes, to the ten people who subsequently ask it’s a ‘no thank you’- I would like to say ‘why would I need two?’ but it can’t be the most fun job. To the second question it’s usually a ‘no’, even when they ask me three times (it’s not like I’m going to think about it at 8.05 and 30 seconds and think no I’m not hungry/ going to ditch the healthy eating this early in the day but at 8.05 and 45 seconds I’m going to go sack it all, I’m starving I’ll have 2 blueberry muffins and a side of fruit toast with lashings of butter and jam- but I guess they have to try).

The third question makes my blood boil far more than the first two. I’m afraid the implication is usually that straight hair is by far the more superior type of hair to be born with and it would be a life changing event if I suddenly became enslaved to a pair of straighteners and many different kinds of solution.

The truthful answer is yes of course I have had my hair straightened, it generally takes one hairdresser about an hour of back breaking blow drying and a whole bottle of heat protector but it can be done- and I do get it done periodically when I feel like a change or have a special occasion.

I also sometimes wear my hair straight at the top and wavy at the bottom- and I quite often wear it curly. Now my hair does have the potential to look like Monica’s in that episode of friends where the humidity factor is 100% but when I wear it curly it’s mostly in ringlets with some Frizz ease (unless I’ve been caught in a sauna).

When you look at celebrities working the red carpet or on your TV screen you do actually see plenty of people with wavy or even curly hair- but out in the real world of the UK Summer 09 the prevailing hairstyle is still the ironed straight look which has ruled since GHD’s became available everywhere.

I resent the constant implication that I haven’t noticed that my hair is curly and that if I straightened it I would morph into a goddess overnight. I like curly hair and it’s part of who I am. Carrie Bradshaw, a modern curly haired heroine, talks about her curls when she discusses why she and Big didn’t work out in series 2 of Sex and the City- and thinks about not being able to be tamed or turned into the sort of clean but slightly less interesting perfection that Natasha, who he is marrying, embodies. Taking the curls away from me would change who I am, sure I can pretend to have straight hair sometimes the way I can pretend to be brown by loading on the fake tan- but it isn’t who I am and sometimes I want to have curly hair and let the ringlets tumble down freely because I’m lucky to have them. So there!

Monica with frizz picture courtesy of here

Carrie picture courtesy of HBO


Metropolitan Mum said...

Yes! Let them tumble. Having straight a hair as hair can get, I always wanted to have curls. There was a desperate attempt (aged 7) to put them on rollers, which I borrowed from my doll's beautycase. The toy rollers went in very easily, but didn't come off. At all. They had to be cut out. I learned to live and love what I had (i.e. lost).

Marie said...

I have maddingly wavy hair but ultimately I love it. Curls I think are more fun. Apparently straight haired brunettes are seen as the most serious followed by curly brunettes, straight blondes and ending of course with curly blondes. So I agree with letting them tumble free, I love curly hair!

Unknown said...

I wavy hair and I love Carrie's curly hair, so wear you curly hair with pride. Also I just resent people for thinking hair needs to be homogenous.

Rose said...

MM- oh dear that sounds a bit traumatic. Like the time I cut off my fringe aged 6 not really listening to my Mother about how growing it out would be better and had tufts for a few months!

Thanks for the curl support- in my experience people with properly straight hair are kind to the curlies, it's people with waves who aren't. It's like how ex smokers are much more militant about people smoking than people who've never smoked I think!

Marie- yes it can be maddening, but then people with ultra straight hair say it's maddening that it doesn't curl. I guess the truth is we all tend to want what we don't have to some extent0 but I've made my piece with the curl- except on very humid days!! I'm a brunette curly but not a serious one!

Jen- yes it's the 'we all have to have one style' thing that annoys me- and it's not a fashion thing because curls are quite fashionable- it's the mindset of a certain kind of person who thinks we all have to look very similar and that's beautiful. Anyway I am loving the support for curls!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Speaking as someone with straight, straight hair..... I would absolutely adore posessing curly hair!! In fact, I tie mine up when it's wet just to be able to have waves when it dries. Be thankful for your curls!!

vicki archer said...

We always want what we don't have when it comes to hair - you sound very sane Rose as you are happy with what you have. I love curly hair so enjoy....xv

Rose said...

Pamela- Ah thanks, I am thankful for it- but straight hair is lovely as well, just not the people who want us all to have the same hair do!

Vicki- it's completely true we do always want what we don't have. Have curvy figure, want boyish figure, have boyishg figure and we long for a Jennifer Lopez derriere and so on. Thank you- I am moderately sane most of the time! I am also lazy, i don't have the time to be straightening for an hour every morning for it only to go curly as soon as I go near any moisture of any kind!!

Jayne said...

Really enjoyed reading that! I just wish my hair would decide one way or another what it wants to be - instead I get hair that's gone free-range - bits wavy, lots frizzy, some straight, some just contrary. I have thick reddish long hair, and everyone always tells me how lucky I am with it, but I know they look at me pityingly and think how much better they could style it, and it is wasted on me as I cannot style it at all. I have gadgets such as nice things to tie in it, things to make it go in a bun, things to make it do marvellous things - and I end up in a knot, or somehow have tied my fingers into the style. I usually let it do its own thing - and it shows!

Rose said...

Hi Jayne- thank you! I'm afraid I'm going to be like everyone else and say how lucky you are. Long red hair is wonderful- I would love to have hair like the girl in the film Perfume. Sometimes free is good I think, it would go with that kind of hair- Boticelli- esque!

Tania said...

Oh, let it run free! ;-) Curls are nice.
I was just thinking the other day how 'fake' straightened hair can look. I was watching a tv show, and one of the characters has shoulder-length hair which looks far too straightened and over-producted. It always strikes me as odd that his hair looks like he has to spend hours on it, but his clothes are usually so casual! He had a boxing scene recently which got his hair wet and messy, and the natural curls came out. I thought it looked much better!

Rose said...

Hi Tania- ah thanks, they are free today!

Yes I do agree it can look a bit ridiculous when people are in gym kit with perfect hair, make up etc. I think it's really the we all have to be the same that interests me- and when whatever the norm is changes and why too. It's like because we all have the same hair, fashion etc we can't see the beauty in other things sometimes. Maybe. Or maybe a bit full of myself!!

The Daily Connoisseur said...

You go girl- embrace your curly hair! I, too, have naturally curly hair but have come to the conclusion that it is easier to maintain if I blow dry it twice a week. I found then when I would wear my hair curly every day I had to wash it every day (way too drying and damaging for my already frazzled locks).

Rose said...

Hi Daily, and your hair looks lovely straight so that's great