Friday, July 23, 2010

The Blogger's Complaint, Or, Why I Write About My Bob

I think I'm running out of stuff to write about.

You may have experienced this yourself--as friends and family turn in increasing numbers to the web, one's supply of possible posts dwindles. It's not as if everyone I know reads this blog, but Murphy's Law guarantees that the minute I write something interesting about someone, he or she will find it and read it. By something "interesting" I don't mean writing vapidly about someone's niceness or generosity or even intelligence. I mean writing smirkingly about a person's quirks and inconsistencies and crazy-making habits--the kind of stuff one wants to read about.

I could write about strangers. When I worked in DC I wrote an article about the faces of the people on the Metro--and nobody got mad at me, since nobody on the morning commute knew my name. But living in monastic seclusion in Vermont as I do now, I don't just see enough strangers to keep a blog going.

I suppose I could write about world affairs, contemporary culture, philosophy, and our changing relationship to the printed word. However, Colette said that abstract ideas suited her as badly as a pair of earrings (she hated her ears), and I know that that particular kind of earring doesn't suit me either.

As a result, I find myself writing about the minutiae of my life--swiss chard and phoebe poop and dog hair. Today, scraping the bottom of my brain, I will write about My Bob.

Or, to be precise, My Curly Bob. For years I have worn my hair in a sedate, straightish bob. But making my hair go straight requires paying close attention while I'm drying it, especially in summer, when my hair acts like a hygrometer--you can tell the ambient humidity by the degree to which it deviates from the vertical.

I was feeling slightly bored with the world yesterday when I went to my hair appointment, so when the hairdresser held up the black cape and cocked her head with an expression that clearly said "same old, same old?" I blurted "Do you think I could have a...a...a Curly Bob?"

Her face lit up. "Yes!" she said. "We could do more layers! That would give your hair more curl! We'd have to cut it shorter, though."

"Go for it!" I instructed her, feeling proud that I had brought a degree of professional challenge into her day.

When she was done cutting she brought out her diffuser. "This is what you need to use if you want an informal look. Just hold it steady and then scrunch the hair in your hands, like this," she explained, squeezing chunks of hair in her fist. When the scrunching was finished she looked in the mirror and backed off a couple of paces. "That's probably a bit too informal for you though. I can give it more definition with the curling iron."

She worked for a while with the iron and put it down, "There, what do you think?"

I laughed. She had made some loose spiral curls close to my scalp, but had purposely left the ends sticking out in various directions. My hand flew up to fix those ends, but I stopped myself. "Here I go," I thought, "trying to get my hair to look the way it did in high school."

In those anxious adolescent years, I used to put exactly twenty-seven jumbo rollers in my hair every single night. The resulting controlled look was a metaphor for the control that I was failing to achieve over life, and contrasted starkly with the chaos inside my skull. I had hypocritical hair.

Now, just like those ladies of a certain age who continue to wear the hairdos of their prime, I was trying to coax my hair into a demure bubble. But I would not fall into that trap. "It looks great," I told the beaming hair dresser. "I like it a lot." And I walked out, with those ends sticking out at crazy angles.

This morning I did not brush my hair. Instead, I pushed it around with my fingers a bit, and did some more scrunching. And it occurred to me that with my curly bob I have finally achieved honest hair, because its chaos matches the state of the brain beneath its roots.

11 comments :

  1. I bet you look delightful in your new Bob.

    PS I've got a partially completed hair post in my drafts.

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  2. You are rocking my world. Your hair, always beautifully dried (so smooth, yet so full!) has been nothing less than a vision of serenity in coiffeurage. For one who has long lived under hair that curls wildly and sticks out at all angles (let's not even go into my adolescence, but trust me there was a lot of hair and no, absolutely no, curlers…) your hair has inspired an aspiration prayer for hirsute Enlightenment: Some day, I tell myself, I, too, will have peaceful Buddha-hair, like Lali's…

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  3. Elizabeth, I'm with you. I have always greatly admired how PERFECT Lali's hair always seems to be. She must spend at least a half hour blow drying it. Or an hour. Or just be lucky. Here, she tells us she is not lucky.

    I got my hair chopped on Tuesday. On Thursday, after I washed it, I found the stray long hairs that now wanted to live on the other side of the part, and went to Tim's appointment so she could cut those off (she was expecting this). But she looked at what she'd done and how it looked now that *I* had washed it/blown it dry, and it wasn't doing what she expected it to do at all. She played around some more. I fear it is not perfect. But this will likely be my high school reunion hair cut.

    Lali, I can't wait to see the curly bob. Can't wait. I'm guessing that that will happen at a certain wedding party.

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  4. Honest hair. I need that.

    I wrote yesterday on FB that I had been fussing with my hair in the gym, one eye on the clock in case I took too long and ended up with another parking ticket. I laughed with one of the other women and said "I don't know why I bother on a day like today (rain). It'll just frizz up as soon as I walked outside."

    She laughed with me, then as she was walking out of the changing room, said "I decided that, once my hair grew back, I would never complain about it again."

    Honest hair. She has it. I don't.

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  5. Elizabeth and Indigo, obviously the hair is always better on somebody else's head. And truly, it didn't use to take me long to dry my hair, but I did have to pay attention.

    Mali, hair must be in the air. Dona's planning a post about it, and you have one too. Tell me what FB is, so I can read it.

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  6. BTW, even though you (like most of us) feel confined by what you can write, you write about everything else so well that the rest of us never notice your frustration...

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  7. Indigo, you are kind. Now that I've written about hair I'll have to go on to eyelashes, or maybe earlobes.

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  8. Thanks, Anonymous. I need all the help I can get.

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  9. Oh, you gave me such a chuckle today! Thanks for that!!

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