Thursday, August 13, 2015

Seventh Grade Hair

We lounged on the couch together, her head near my lap.  The boys were out of the house, and we were having a girls’ movie night.  I picked the movie, a favorite of mine from the 90s.  She didn’t like it much, as evidenced by the many times she got up to do something else while the movie was playing, and the repeated questions she asked about the story.  I was keeping her there by playing with her hair.



Her mid-back length, in need of a trim, bleached by the sun hair.  I twisted it, braided it, curled it around my fingers.  I gathered it in my fist and admired her thick, straight ponytail.  I relished in the awareness that she will still lie near me like this and allow me to touch her; blessedly, the angst that comes with the teen years has not yet arrived.  I still have time to wind her hair around my hands.

She, like many of her friends, wears her hair like this: long and straight.  In a cluster, these girls are nearly indistinguishable.  They all have that hair, those clothes, those shoes.  It’s the middle school summer uniform of 2015: long hair, busted tees, flip flops.

I think back to my own summer before seventh grade.  I had permed hair, a poufy business-in-the-front-party-in- the-back mullet that I sculpted with a curling iron and hairsprayed to within an inch of its life every day.  It was the ’do of the rural tween girl then.  Watch any movie from the 80s and you’ll see us in the background players, the scene fillers who weren’t a part of the main action but were included for cultural perspective.  The main characters didn’t wear their hair like we did.  We took a hint from the movies and perverted it to the curly helmet we all wore on our heads.  En masse, our mothers succumbed to our pleas for perms, and we mastered our curling irons and thought we looked fantastic. Before I knew it we were growing out our bangs and perms.  By senior year, our hair was completely different.



Did anyone wear their hair different than mine in seventh grade?  Probably, but I can’t remember many.  My memories are fuzzy of one girl who didn’t have bangs to tease and spray – probably her mother wouldn’t let her get her hair chopped in a thousand layers to coax in nine different directions.  Probably she was told that her unmolested locks were beautiful the way they were, loose and free. 

The way I tell my daughter that her hair looks great the way it is.  I love this sun-kissed look, I say.  No, you are not getting it colored or highlighted – you don’t need it.  Remember how you tinted the ends with Jello and they got crunchy?  Processed hair is expensive and time-consuming to maintain.  I should know; my appointment is tomorrow, and I’ve carved a three-hour block out of the day for it.

You need a trim, I tell her.  I know, she says.  I have split ends.  Nothing a good six-inch chop can’t fix, I tease.  She looks at me to see my smile.  You’ve got a month of summer left, I say.  Unless it really bugs you, you can get a trim in a couple of weeks. 

Until then, leave it.  Stand in a circle with your girlfriends and wear your hair together.  That long, straight hair from the summer before seventh grade will be gone in a moment, a breath.  We don’t know what next summer will look like, but it will never again be exactly like this.

*******

This post inspired by:

Mama’s Losin’ It

Prompt #5:
What grade is your child going to be in? Share a memory you have of yourself at that same age.

19 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness, I love this. I thought I wouldn't care about hair, but Abbey's is SO MUCH a part of who she is and what she likes, and when she finally decides to chop it, I will cry. (Inside. Not to her.) I hope the rest of your summer is filled with sun-kissed hair and moments of quiet on the couch.

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    1. What a beautiful comment, Angela. Thank you. I like the idea of a new look, but like you, I'd be sad if she decided to change it. I hope we have more of those moments, too. xo

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  2. I love that you can still spend that time with her... Katie's hair is much thinner than mine ever was, which is both a blessing and a curse. But I don't think I would EVER let her perm it. It has a natural wave to begin with and it's just. so. lovely.

    Beautiful words, my friend...

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    1. Thank you, Elaine! Can you imagine if perms came back in style like they were in the 80s? I shudder to think about it.

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  3. Oh, this is so sweet. My poor girls with their unruly, curly/wavy hair, that I'm sure they will be begging to straighten by middle school.

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    1. Thank you, darling. We all want what we don't have, huh? I always wanted curls. Still do.

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  4. I got a perm in the 7th grade, too! Mine wasn't as stylish as yours as it didn't have the rocking mullet styling, just a mass of curls frizzing out all over.

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    1. The wild, Kelly LeBrock look? Or more Annie? I had both of those, too.

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  5. Is it me or are our children going to look back and not at all be ashamed with their hair like we are?
    What is up with our 80's perms??
    I had the same exact cut, style and perm as you.
    Exact.
    But seriously, I love this so much.

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    1. I think maybe my children will question their fashion choices more than their hairstyles. Lucky for me, I get to do both. Thank you! xo

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  6. My sister had that EXACT hair cut! And she has never lived it down!

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  7. My ended up looking like that in grade 9 I think, it was after a botched hair cut that was way too short and with my curly hair it looked awful....I did purposely perm it in grade eight when it was longer though.

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    1. That's a good excuse - a botched haircut. I should use it to explain away a lot of my hairstyle choices

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  8. So lovely.

    I had the permed mullet! I need to find the pictures. I'm pretty sure that was my style for a trip to Disney World - talk about an entire vacation's worth of pictures marred by my questionable style choice. You pulled it off, though. Your look was what I was going for, and not quite achieving.

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    1. Thank you! I have so many pictures ruined by fashion and hairstyles. So. Many. Why weren't people kinder to me?

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  9. heaven help me, I had that same hairstyle, but I never had to beg my mom for a perm. She was so self-conscious about her fine, limp hair that she bemoaned mine and eventually I had to fight her about NOT getting a perm.
    She also chased me out the door with a stick of Erase for my under-eye circles (thanks, genetics.)

    Weren't the 80s fun?

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    1. So fun! My daughter is a Puritan when I think about the beauty regimen I suffered as a child.

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  10. I adore 7th grade you (and you now, more).
    When I was 12/ 13, I had long hair, which had to be in a ponytail daily thanks to silly school rules. Ah, hair. I love playing around with different styles now.

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