While at the Buffalo Bill museum, I couldn’t help but notice his son Kit’s extremely unfortunate hairstyle, which, even for the time period, he looks very unhappy about. Kit, I feel your pain, as this reminded me of the worst forced haircut of my youth. In the summer of 1994 before 7th grade, my mom, unhappy with her own short haircut, badgered me into getting my own hair cut short so we’d “be twins”. At twelve, I was hardly the paragon of obstinacy that I am today, and eventually I was dragged into “HairCrafters” (don’t think elite master of a craft when you see the word “crafters”, instead picture the hodgepodge glitterglue kind and you’ll be more on track) with a picture of Ellen DeGeneres. I was parked in a chair, my mom pointed at the picture and instructed the stylist to “give [me] that” and eighteen dollars plus tip later, I was just at the beginning of a three year long nightmare hair journey, although I didn’t realize it at the time.
Mom, proud of what she’d wrought, proceeded to take me from house to house in the neighborhood to show off our new twin status. I stood there in the summer sun while my mom chatted with the neighbors and the kids, normal kids, splashed in the pool and had fun. Although I was invited to join, my mom told me I shouldn’t because she didn’t want me getting it wet and ruining “the cute style”.
She had me so convinced that I looked great that the rest of the afternoon, I rode around on my bike with my helmet carefully strapped on, the better to surprise reveal to my friends when they came to their doors. Publisher’s Clearing House, I wasn’t, and I couldn’t quite understand their nonplussed reactions. Later, when I arrived at home, I’d found that in a hot afternoon of summer bike riding with a helmet, the sweat and immense amounts of hair product had plastered my new short locks onto my head, like a shiny, sticky skullcap.
Short hair and I were never meant to get along: my hair has that natural sort of half-assed wave, is possibly sentient, and if so, is definitely an asshole, and what looked cute on Ellen looked horrific on me. This was also the period of time when the crunchy bang wave hit Wisconsin, and I really, really wanted to fit in with my peers, so each morning, I carefully hairsprayed and gelled my bangs into the crunchiest wave I could muster, the humidity taking its toll on the style no fewer than five minutes later, allowing random pieces to escape and curl across my forehead in a particularly uncool manner. Add to this the fact that I had braces, owl glasses, and my mom still dressed me (to this day I cannot look at a pair of patterned leggings or a beaded vest without breaking out into a sweat), and we had the perfect storm for yearbook photo day. That is the oldest looking twelve year old I have ever seen. When I signed my friends’ yearbooks that year, I actually drew on more hair to hide that solitary forehead bang, like they couldn’t see my solitary forehead bang glaring at them in real life at that very moment. It took three years to grow that hot mess out, and then it started falling out, so where there was once a crunchy bang wave, I now have a bald spot. Hair, you are SUCH an asshole.