Sunday, March 24, 2019
Today I am grateful for muscle memory, U-tube & natural ability. Wow! That’s a load to bear on a Sunday morning. I tried to pick one but it didn’t fit the bill. I needed all three.
I was asked by a good friend to do the hair for the prom, of the German Exchange Student who is living with her this semester. Wow! (There will be a lot of “wow’s” through this piece, because it’s my word of the day.) The girl could not afford to get her hair done professionally because it’s so long and of course that costs more. A lot more.
You already know I said yes, although after doing so I wondered if I had lost my mind. I have not done hair professionally for 33 years. Himself gets a haircut. A few others have, too. I might have done a style now and then, but never, ever in my life have I done hair this long. It was brushing her hips, well below her waist. Wow. (Told you)
Before even saying I’d do it, I had her look for pictures of styles she liked and send them to me. Okay, partially down with the top pulled back. Easy peasy, right? Except her hair is curly and all of the styles were of straight hair. That meant I’d have to straighten it first, which, full confession now, I had never done before in my life. Wow.
Also, when I became a hairdresser it was all about brush rollers, pin curls and sitting under the dryer for 12 hours. It was about “teasing” and “backcombing” which is basically the same thing. It was about wrapping huge curls aka Barbra Streisand in “Funny Girl”. It was nothing like I was about to do.
Also under the full-disclosure heading, I learned to use a curling iron on the job. It was just getting popular when I was about to leave Wisconsin and move east. While I know the concept and can manage, I’m not great at it. I’m reminded exactly how clumsy I am whenever I watch my hairdresser fly through someone’s hair with one. Wow.
When they arrived I had everything set up on the kitchen table, not because I wanted to be prepared, but because I was scared to death. Himself thought I was opening a salon. Clamps, clippies, combs, a flat iron I didn’t know I had, but probably someone who stayed here forgot to take with them. If it was you, I have it, so let me know. I found a very old curling iron and electric rollers. . . just in case. Baffle them with equipment when you’re not sure if you have the necessary skill. Wow.
The sweet young thing and my friend arrived and I sat her down to talk about what she wanted most. I always did this when I worked as a hairdresser, because half the battle is communication. Middle part, side part, looser curls, tighter curls, ears showing, not showing, etc., etc., etc.? Then when I get some answers I talk reality. Will it work with their hair? Back in the day every white-haired-100-year-old lady wanted a cute bowl cut, “just like that ice skater, Dorothy Hamel.” I’d tell them, “I only do the hair.” Wow.
I had asked my friend to bring a flat iron and curling iron, too, not at all sure that mine would work, but mine were already hot so I started in. I swear I almost had to lay on the floor to brush that hair all the way to the ends. Even though I was cumbersome with the tool, I managed to get all of it pressed straight so I could begin styling. Hello arthritis in my hands! Wow.
Since I had never done this style, with the twist-braided-sort-of sides, I went on U-tube a few days ago and watched about a hundred videos of people doing long hair. All in fast motion and all on hair a foot shorter than my girls. Geeze. Slow it down so an old broad can get a clue. I picked up just enough to think I could do it, which is probably why you hear so many bad singers on U-tube. Ha-ha-double-wow!
My friend had to go run a few errands, which is a good thing, because at one point I panicked so badly that I got the flop sweats. Good thing there was no mirror and I was standing behind her. How in the Hell am I going to manage all of this hair and cover all of the pins and rubber bands? My U-tube experience showed me how to cut out the rubber bands out so I felt very smug about that part, but boy, twisting that hair gave ME the bends.
U-tube also reminded me that curl will fall out of long hair unless you make big pin curls and clip them until it cools. I knew that, but had forgotten, just like I have forgotten how to say, “No, I don’t think I can do that.”
After my panic-sweats, I got a grip and was wielding the curling iron like. . .well. . .like an arthritic old lady who understands brush rollers. . .but it was working. I sent my young client on her way with bobby pins and clippies holding up the curls. When she was dressed and ready to go, I instructed my friend to remove them, but don’t brush. Just move them around with your hands.
I had put more hairspray on that hair than it had ever seen before, so I was concerned it would look crunchy and I wouldn’t be there to fix it. No worries! It turned out great and I couldn’t be more pleased. Neither could she which is the absolute BEST!
She was thrilled. And nervous. And excited for her first dance, in a new country, with a nice boy. . .and a pretty, different hairstyle. Whew. It’s amazing what muscle memory, U-tube & natural ability can accomplish when set to a daunting task! I needed every one of them! Wow! Wow! Wow!