Tonight I told my daughter she could brush my hair while I read Mysterious Benedict Society to her. I do this about once every other year, because it is a recipe for eye-watering discomfort and eye-popping frizz.
You think I'm exaggerating, right? You're thinking, "Oh, that Jamie; she's always so dramatic." But no. Look:
You guys, I spent the first TWO DECADES of my life thinking it was a hygiene fail if I didn't brush my hair at least once every day. Why would my parents want me walking around in the world like this? Were they secret members of the Roseanne Roseannadanna Fan Club? It also reminds me a little of the Klimt Judith painting, only with less decapitation.
I thought occasionally about auto-decapitation in junior high, especially in the spring when the returning humidity hit hard. My hair would attempt to fling itself aloft like the fledglings, except it did so while still securely attached to my head. You might think that a haircut would be a better remedy than auto-decapitation, but maybe you have forgotten what junior high was like.
If you are the parent of a girl with curly hair, I have some advice for you. First, take her hairbrush outside and set it on fire. Go.
Are you done? Good. Next, get a copy of Curly Girl and heed its advice. In a nutshell, don't work against what God gave you. If you don't dry it out, it won't fly away in search of hydration (i.e., co-wash instead of shampooing). If you can teach the hair to be friends with its neighbors, then it won't feel the need to flee the premises (i.e., ditch the mainstream anti-frizz products). This picture was taken on a sweltering humid August day immediately after a terrible haircut, and it makes me say, Dear 1982 Jamie, one day your hair will lie down in an approximation of flat. You just have to set your hairbrush on fire first.
This evening I wasn't really thinking about the terrors of junior high with gravity-defying hair until my 17-year-old said, "You know, I think I'm glad I missed out on the curly red hair thing. Straight blond lies-flat hair is good for me. But I probably carry that gene, right?" Genes are complicated, I told him, but it seems likely that if he marries a redhead they might encounter this hair again.
I'll keep my copy of Curly Girl at the ready. I'll be like Edna Mode, announcing "No brush!"