Saturday, September 15, 2012

A Hairy Tale

I’m not fond of change. Never have been. In fact, I’ve had the same hairstyle for twenty-five years—long, straight, with bangs. Can you imagine?
But there are valid reasons for this, I assure you.
In 1982, my friend and I went to the mall. As we strolled past a salon, she pointed at a poster. “That’s what you need, Deb.”
Don’t you love it when others tell you what you need?
I paused and eyed the woman’s picture. Dark curls hung loose around her glamorous face. She looked like a runway model from Paris.
I shook my head. “No thanks.”
“Oh, come on. It would look amazing. Are you going to wear the same hairstyle the rest of your life?”
Didn’t bother me. I didn’t want to look like a runway model from Paris.
That same evening, I mulled over my friend’s words. Maybe a change would be nice.
A week later, I sat in a chair, in the same salon. A male barber—sent by Satan, if you ask me—wrapped a cape around my shoulders. “What can I do for you today?”
“You would look great with a bob.” He finger-combed my hair.
I sighed. Why does everyone keep trying to change me?
He gave me a conspiratorial wink. “Well, what do you think?”
“No, just layer it all over, trim the ends a little bit, and give me a perm.”
So he did.
At least that’s what I thought.
Tears filled my eyes as I stared in the mirror. My long locks were gone. I looked like an older version of Orphan Annie, minus the red hair.
He patted my shoulder. “You look beautiful. You’re just not used to this.”
Beautiful? I looked like a poodle.
The evil man laughed. “The curls make it appear shorter than it really is. I have to tell you, though; I never dreamed your hair would process like this. As long and straight as it was, well, it’s just unusual.” Another pat. “Don’t worry. Once the curls loosen up, it’ll be fine.”
But he lied.

After I climbed in the car, I pulled on one of the corkscrew curls, just to see how far it would stretch. Several inches later, it popped free from my fingers, as though it were trying to escape another attack, and sprang back into place.
I vowed I’d never get another perm.
Idiot that I am, though, I decided to try it again—five years later—a body wave this time—with a different beautician.
She piggybacked rods all over my head, led me to a dryer, and set the timer. “You’re probably going to need a few extra minutes to process. Your hair’s straight as a stick.”
I held up my hand. “No, it processes just fine, trust me.”
But she didn’t.
Why don’t people listen?
Still, my hair didn’t turn out bad at all, until a few days later.
My luscious locks turned a funny shade of red.

Soon after that, they fell out by the handful, leaving me with a bald strip down the top of my head—definitely not a runway model from Paris.
I haven’t had a perm or body wave since.
But do you know what? None of this would have happened if I wouldn’t have allowed someone else’s viewpoint to get to me.
And now that I’m older, I see things quite differently.
When God prompts me to change something, the results aren’t catastrophic. Yes, I might be hesitant at first, even scared, but I later discover it was for my own good. And the things I feared the most weren’t that scary at all. But that’s because God loves me, wants what’s best for me. He accepts me for who I am.  
I just hope He never asks me to get another perm.  
Note: Today's post is part of the CW blog chain. The topic is "Change". Please check out my sidebar, further down on the right, to see some great posts by other writers.


  1. Change can do a world of good, but not if its for the wrong reasons, like giving into peer pressure.

    1. Amen to that, girl! And that's exactly what happened.

      Thanks for stopping, Tracy.

  2. Thanks for the reminder that change is good only when God prompts said change or if it's a heartfelt change. I like this post.

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it, Stephanie. And I'm glad you stopped by. Thank you.

  3. Good story and post Deborah - I've found some of my bigger mistakes have been because I worried about what others were thinking. Thanks

    1. Isn't it the truth, Bill? I think that's one of the good things about getting older. Doesn't get to us as much. Thanks for stopping.

  4. Great post, Deborah. Like Bill, some of my biggest goofs in life (and the stylist's chair) have been because I listened to other people instead of what I knew was right for me. Some lessons are only learned through experience; at least when hair is involved, it (usually) grows back eventually.

    1. LOL Traci. It did grow back, but it took a while. And like you, my biggest goofs have come after not following my heart. A lesson(s) well learned. Thank you for visiting.

  5. I so get this. I keep my hair the same. I order the same meal at the same restaurants any time we eat out. This is comfortable to me. Why risk a catastrophic hair-do or waste money on a meal you don't know you'll like? But I love how you reminded us to listen to God's prompting to change---and not to the voices of others. His opinion is really the one that counts anyway! Loved your post. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Oh, Heather. So do I. Every time I go to I-Hop, I order a Quick Two-Egg Breakfast. As I get older, though, I'm trying new things. And I'm actually liking them. Go figure. :-) Thanks for coming by.

    2. theres nowt wrong with straight hair at least you don't have to bother with hair straighteners
      biiiiiig hug

    3. Ain't it the truth, Jack? And after those two ordeals, I've never even used straightener, color, or highlights. I'm too afeared.

      Big hug back at you, brother. And thanks for posting.

  6. Oh this is soooo funny!

    Wait a minute....had to get up off the floor laughing.

    You look great in straight hair. What? You're had it twenty years? Since you're nine, of course. Thought you were 29.

    I agree with the others, change for the right reasons is good.

    1. Ahem. Why does your chortling not surprise me?

      Actually, I've had it twenty-five years. And I was 29...once...about 24 years ago. Sniff...sniff.

      Thanks for stopping, Nike. Gave me a laugh. :-)

  7. Delightful post, so much fun to read! Brings back memories - like the time I was in NYC, went to a famous (and very expensive) stylist who said, "You California gals all want to be blonde. I see you as a redhead." My family laughed at my carrot-top; I just cried. Yep, back to blonde. However, I did have a very curly perm for a few years. Got teased about that, too. Friends said I was trying to look like my teenage son!

    1. Geez, Bonnie, I feel your pain, girl! Remind me to never get my hair done in NYC. :-)

      Thanks so much for stopping by. I appreciate it.

  8. You're beautiful just as you are, Deborah. This was a fun post. Us women have been there; done that--never again until the next time.

    God-inspired changes are another matter. He makes us beautiful from the inside out.

    1. Awww thanks, Carol. :-) And yes, God-inspired changes are definitely another matter. Thanks so much for coming by.

  9. I popped over to tell you how much I enjoyed your To Review or Not to Review in the CF Online Magazine. Loved this blogpost too. I'm not fond of change either. I've had a couple of devil stylists and I'm convinced they speak their on language. We say one thing--they hear another. When I was young, my mother insisted on trimming my bangs; they were always lopsided and too short. :) Now, I cut my own hair ... and I don't care if it looks it! I take full responsibility for my scissors. ;/

    1. Hi Jess,

      So nice to meet you! Glad you enjoyed the column (and the blog). Like you, I had those lopsided cuts, way too short, when I was a kid. My mom always thought I looked cute. Ahem. :-) Thanks so much for stopping by.

  10. I was sure with you when you said other people are telling you what you need, and thinking of ways you could change. I resist change myself, especially on a whim, but when it appears I have no choice in the matter, I usually flow with it.

    ~ VT

    1. Glad you could relate, Victor. And I'm glad you took the time to stop by.