by Hannah Binder
Point Blank Perspective is a blog addressing common places, events, and experiences that we encounter in life. These are described in a column-style with a blunt and one hundred percent upfront attitude.
I would like to file a complaint regarding the promises your hair products have made to me and left unsatisfied. If you could be so kind as to forward this on to the correct department so that my almost twenty years of disappointments could be properly read, groaned over, and tossed in the trash, I would greatly appreciate it.
I am a loyal customer of your shampoo and conditioner specifically manufactured for curly hair. I follow all the rules and read the Tresemme pledge on the bottle every day as I massage the conditioner into my hair. However, my hair has never, not once, been ‘salon worthy’ after stepping out of the comfort of my own shower.
Where have I gone wrong? I have experimented with different climates, hoping that perhaps I was putting too much stress or not enough (you never know with curls) on my hair. I moved from the arid and yet mild weathered California to the Bible belt humidity that was hot enough to make a camel sweat to Maine where the summers have settled into a moderate humidity and the winters force my hair into the safe harbor of wool and fleece lined beanies where they are sheltered from the ice flying towards my skin (and my soul) at temperatures that would make Santa shiver.
On especially self deprecating days a naggy Jewish grandmother voice hollers up from the depths of my conscience, using a megaphone no doubt, to tell me that all my hairstyle problems are due to junior high when I flat-ironed my hair every day for school. But what the naggy grandmother voice that is unfortunately my conscience doesn’t comprehend is that there was a resurgence of the 70s styles during my middle and high school years, creating a rather unforgettably abhorrent experience for those of us with curly hair. Perhaps you, oh fortunate hair product employee, will understand my follicle mistakes with greater empathy because you are younger and closer to remembering what it was like to be twelve.
On other days when I am in the mood to blame someone (these typically coincide with especially humid days when I cannot control one strand of my hair and am forced to attempt to restrain the pounds of hair within a tight French Braid which is no easier feat than trying to tame the loose frizz due to the sheer immensity that is my head of thick and bountiful hair–yes, I know, I’ll be thankful for it when I’m 80 and all my friends have lost theirs) I recall the day when a hairstylist who lacked fluent linguistic skills as well as the health insurance to afford her glasses, threw me out of the shop on account of ‘spotting the bugs!’. In proper English terms: she thought she’d seen head lice crawling around in my hair. My mom, a compulsive cleaner and everyday vacuumer, dragged me out to the car where she instructed me not to move a muscle while stopping at a convenience store for lice shampoo. Knowing the gravity of the situation that could commence if creepy crawlers really had taken up residence in my Flashdance-ready head of hair, she took me home and bent me over in the shower where a complete decontamination of my scalp took place. The entire bottle (mind you, my mom hadn’t actually seen anything on my head when the hairdresser tried to point to the bugs but no chances were being taken under my mother’s roof) of RID was dumped on my head and scrubbed into my scalp until it was raw. But the process was not finished. Accompanying the bottle of shampoo was a ‘comb’. Whoever named it a comb obviously had never felt it used on their own head. It was a purple plastic rake that must have been made of military grade PVC or at the very least the kind of material used for Toughbook computers now. My mom took this rake through each piece of my hair, careful not to miss a strand, and combed out absolutely nothing. After the toxic and bloody process it was decided that actually I only had dandruff. “Whoops,” my mom said, adding Head and Shoulders to the Target list, “better safe than sorry!” However she was not the recipient of such a mortifying and painful superficial experience and I am still bitter towards that hairdresser. If I were to run into her on the street, I would pass along this lament and undo my hair from its ponytail (with two hair ties not one) and show her the lion’s mane I lived with on account of her professional claim leading to the destruction of a once manageable head of hair.
I know what you’re thinking. I was born with this, there’s nothing I can do about it. But that’s not true, oh unfaithful employee who’s no doubt stopped reading my letter. Some try to hide early childhood pictures because they don’t want loved ones to see the embarrassing photos of their youth. I choose my childhood pictures wisely and sparingly because it’s like looking at a photo of a lost family member or a beloved pet. Look at that silky, shining head of hair, I cry out, just look at it! Remember those days before puberty funneled every curled hormone North? If only I’d been more thankful for the days I could run a brush through it and not resemble cousin It.
Don’t get me wrong, I love getting compliments, and they are fairly regular, on my natural curls. But if people realized the struggle that curly haired women face every morning perhaps they would accompany their ‘I love your curls! Are they natural?’ with maybe some flowers or a big black umbrella or a card that reads ‘My condolences for the loss of your beautifying sanity’.
I write to you today, Tresemme Customer Service Specialist (if there is such a title, you deserve it) to beg the question, how does your hair look every day? Is it mandatory to look breathtaking, modelesque, because you work for a hair product company? Was it an effortless interview for you to prepare for? Combing (I twitch ever so slightly at remembering this word) your hair with just your fingers and setting out on your day. Do you wake up on the weekends and shuffle out to breakfast without lynching your hair in a bun because your bedhead would scar those you love too much? Or is it all just a breeze for you? A manageable head of Keratin Smooth or Luxurious Moisture or Frizz control. If it is, please lie to me in your response.
Give me some leg warmers and I’ll be ready for the 80s