Like most women — not all, but most — I am in a constant battle with my hair.
I could soften that and say with a thoughtful look, “I am in a constant conversation with my hair”, but that hip-sounding statement — aside from sounding pretentious — is simply not true. A conversation is defined as “a talk […] in which news and ideas are exchanged.” Believe me: No new ideas have been exchanged between me and my wimpy hair since the 2nd grade when Mom let me perm my bangs. Now that was a conversation! But that was a long time ago.
These days, my relationship with my hair is absolutely a war: It’s my wimpy hair vs. me. The war is my wimpy hair trying to be its wimpy self and me, doing my best to eliminate the wimp release the tousled, volumized woman within me just dying to get out.
The good news is that lately, I’ve been winning. I’ve got a round brush and I know how to use it. I have a great curling iron. I like my shampoo. And it’s exciting, because lately, four or five days out of the seven-day week, I have at a Decent Hair Day. Sometimes, it’s an actual Good Hair Day, and last week, I had a Great Hair Day … until I went outside.
Oooh, was I mad!
My hair, which looked so boss when I rode the elevator down to the lobby, was toast within five minutes of being out in the city’s early spring weather. Wind, mist, more wind: My hair didn’t stand a chance. And as I walked to class, trying to turn my head with the wind (as opposed to against it) in order to keep at least a few carefully-combed strands in place, I thought of my grandmother, Gramma Graham, and her plastic bonnets. In an instant, I finally understood what I always saw as so old-lady-ish, so old-fashioned. No, no, I thought, as I tried to hold down the awesome “swoop” thing I had achieved with the back of my hair, she was right. Gramma Graham was so right.
I thought, “I need a plastic bonnet. Any bonnet. Bonnets make sense.”
And they do. They protect your face from the sun; they protect your hair from the elements. They can look rather beguiling if you want them to. Bonnets are cross-cultural, too, as many cultures feature bonnet-like headwear. The bonnet, man. The bonnet! Let’s bring it back. I like my hair right now. I’d like to see it live longer than 20 minutes.
I think about my Gramma Graham and I miss her. She was a good woman to the core. Ethical, loving. She loved my mother and she loved me and my sisters. And she had great hair, too; not wimpy at all. Gramma actually went prematurely gray at age 30, and no one has ever looked more beautiful, I think, than my gray-haired, thirtysomething grandmother did in the 1950s.
The bonnets she wore are long gone. But practicality is easy enough to find, and reasons for connecting with your family are everywhere, if you’re looking.