My hair is easy. Wash. Dry. Or maybe not even dry. Allow to dry. I like to think that it looks vaguely presentable almost all the time, for at least the first five or six hours post washing. 

Then there are the inevitable days that come around every now and again where I want to do something different with my hair. I get all nostalgic for the perfect Shirley Temple curls I managed to create on my head for one magical evening when I was 18 and about to attend my senior prom (see photo). This was a miraculous occurrence. Never before or since has my hair looked so pristine and perfect. Despite many, many attempts. 

Senior Prom Hair

One such attempt took place this very morning. I woke up a good twenty minutes early (already asking for trouble) for the explicit purpose of having enough time to create that ringlet effect with my rather stubbornly thick and frizzy mess of hair. Things started out well. The first few ringlets were quite reminiscent of the soft curls I once managed to sport to my own tremendous pleasure. But they went south fast. 

It began to look as though I was creating a nest on my head. Also, I couldn’t always get the curling iron around the bits of my hair in the back so in the end, the back of my head was a mess of ringlets, natural wave, and board straight from the blow dryer. And I burned my ear somewhere along the way, cursing vehemently. 

Okay, but LizHarrell is nothing if not resourceful in a pinch. So I thought of it in terms of survival. My options: 

  • Re-shower.
  • Run a brush through the mess and hope for the best.
  • Pull it back as much as possible.
  • Keep fiddling with the curling iron until I have no choice but to leave for work.
  • Call in sick.

Easiest option was to pull it back, so I tried it. To my distinct surprise, it didn’t look so bad. I left a few tendrils hanging in the front. Rather whimsical and sweet. 

Still, it wasn’t what I’d been going for. I kept repeating the phrase, “This was an ill-conceived idea and was poorly executed,” as if I was critiquing myself on The Next Food Network Star or something. I berated myself all the way to the gas station where I absolutely HAD to stop for gas. It was at this point I glanced up into the rear view mirror. What the heck? My pretty, whimsical ringlets were board straight. No, I take that back. They were weird wavy. And hanging right in my eyes. Fantastic. 

The curse of the poorly ventilated vehicle strikes again! That, and humid July weather that is hot and damp at 7 AM. 

And trust me, I didn’t stop thinking about the epic failure of my hair all day long. I ran to the restroom just to ponder my reflection more than once. 

It wasn’t that it looked that bad. In fact, it looked alright. But it wasn’t at all what I had been going for this morning. Not even remotely close. And I was disappointed. Still have no idea how I managed to pull off the ringlets the first time around (nearly ten years ago now), but there really was something magical about the way it all came together that night. For once, when an amazing hair day would be exceptionally useful, it worked out. 

Ever since then, however, my attempts have just left me with a worse-than-normal hair day. I think the moral of this story is, don’t worry so much about your hair. It’ll make you crazy. And it’s really quite vain. So stop. And if that doesn’t help, just look back at those senior prom pics and realize that really, your hair kind of looked like a fro. Then you won’t care so much. I promise.