Long, beautiful hair,
Shining, streaming, gleaming....
ROSEMARY HARRIS: Not any more. Some of you may know that last month I got the worst haircut of my life. Worse than the night my mother cut my hair - memorialized for all time because it was the night before my fourth grade class picture was taken. At least my mother didn't charge me $500+. Are you still with me? My first car only cost $400. The car was a Volkswagen 412. Metallic green and I loved it until one day I let a boyfriend drive it and he came home without it, saying it had died on the road. I never believed him and I never forgave him.
Nor will I ever forgive the team of stylists who perpetrated this mess on my head. Okay, the 500 bucks wasn't just for a cut. It was for something called An American Wave. On the salon's website it looked for all the world like a gentle body wave, something to give my stick straight hair a little movement. And it looked doable for my hair with my face. I wasn't hoping to look like Beyonce or Gwyneth Paltrow. (Or this model!) Just my hair but better.
My hair has a little movement like Gene Krupa had a little movement. Like Parkinson's is a little movement. And the cut? if I blow it straight, I look like the Golem - with a mullet.
I left the salon in shock. It was Memorial Day weekend, my husband was picking me up. No fool he, he offered to take me out for dinner and a drink. In the car I couldn't stop looking at my hair. It was a cross between Tom Hanks in Castaway and Tina Turner in Mad Max.
I scoured the internet for solutions - vegetable oil and saran wrap seemed to be the one most people voted for. It was a good thing Bruce was going out of town for the weekend. Mayonnaise. Over the counter keratin treatments. Moroccan oil. Coconut oil. For the past three weeks I have put so much oil on my hair that all I need is some balsamic vinegar and croutons. Nothing has really worked. My American Waved hair was more like French Fried.
In a few weeks, the weird cut will grow in a little so that the too-short bangs no longer make me look like Margaret Mead or Keeley Smith. The rest of the cut will take a couple of years to undo. The Un-American Wave? I may try a straightening treatment at the end of the summer when my hair has recovered som ewhat from the shock.
I did complain to the salon, btw, and the owner,a celeb stylist, called me over the holiday weekend and told me to come back in, but frankly I think he made it worse. I did get a world class blowdry which apparently is the only way I can go out with this hair and not scare small children. So I'm keeping a low profile until Bouchercon. I'll be the one wearing the hat.
JAN BROGAN: Oh where to begin..where to begin....Should we start at the beginning, when I experimented with Sun-IN on my hair at about age eleven? I had light brown hair and my mother was blonde, so I thought by rights that I SHOULD be blonde. So I progressed from lemon to Sun-IN to Clairol highlights and often wound up with two large orange circles on the side of my head. So attractive. I also once dyed my hair a color I thought was auburn, only to turn out like a Lucille Ball redhead. After that my husband and daughter staged an intervention and exacted a promise that I only have my hair PROFESSIONALLY colored from then on. But I have to say, Ro, all my disasters were my own fault. If I had paid someone $500 for it, I would have staged a riot at the salon.
ROSEMARY: I was calm in person. On the phone..less calm. I've tried to take pictures but who wants to have this head out there on the internet?
DEBORAH CROMBIE: Oh, I did Sun-In, too, and lemon juice. It must have been a generational thing. I'm a fairly dark brunette, so it just turned my hair orange. My mom, bless her, pretended not to notice. I have just enough wave to be neither straight nor curly, and always envied girls with hair like Ro. I used to iron mine when I was a teenager. Now we have electric flatirons, the greatest hair invention ever after the blow dryer. My hair disasters started by about the age of three, when my mom would cut my bangs in a perfectly straight line right across the middle of my forehead. What was she thinking??? One time I got a pair of scissors and tried to improve them. Big trouble that time....
Recent hair disasters? Two years ago in London I went in Toni & Guy in Chelsea to just get a little trim for my bangs (fringe, in Brit speak.) The stylist mutilated my hair, short on the sides, longer in the back. I looked like I'd had my hair cut with a bowl over my head, but wavy. My friends in London were kind but it was horrible, and it took at least six months to grow it back to any semblance of a normal cut. Someday I'm going to kill that guy off in a book...
RHYS BOWEN: Oh Ro, I feel for you! And $500 too. Talk about adding insult to injury. I've never had a disaster of that magnitude but I did have my hair permed in Italy and it turned my super-straight hair into something like an Afro, and so dry and brittle that it snapped when I brushed it. And there was one cut.... the hairdresser didn't speak English well and when I said "I'd like it fairly short on top" he heard "I'd like it very short on top." I watched as he cut a large section to within an inch of my scalp. I screamed but it was too late. A large section was within an inch of my scalp and the rest had to match. I think Pinhead described the look.
But the good thing with hair--it grows out.
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Well, hair disaster? Had to be when I was fourteen-ish. I decided I wanted a Sassoon, and since Vidal Sassoon was on Carnaby Street and I was in Zionsville, Indiana, my solution was to do it myself. SO I cut off one whole side of my long brown hair, up over my ear, and cut the other side shoulder length. I don't even want to think about how I handled the back.
My mother came in, SHRIEKED, and left the room. I mean, from her point of view, I must have looked completely nuts, right? I'd cut off one whole side of my hair. What else would a nutcase do?
We compromised on a sort of serf-like bowl cut.
A more recent disaster, which wasn't recent, was the colorist guy who decided to take the gray out of my hair-- be this was twenty years ago, and he make it ALL BLACK. It was horrific. And do you know how long it takes to grow that out? And there's nothing you can do but wait.
Ro, it cannot be that bad.
ROSEMARY: I got my hair cut in Spain once. Corto, no mas corto. They understood better than the guy in NYC.
LUCY BURDETTE: I think my most traumatic was in seventh grade. I looked for the photo but mercifully couldn't find it. All I wanted was the stylish cut that slanted from back to front like the cool girls had. But my mother wanted more for the money I guess, so I ended up with yet one more pixie cut. You will see that this picture (maybe 2nd grade?) is a close runner-up: The home-cut bangs with divot in front and the Toni permanent wave in back. I should say half a Toni, because my sister and I always had to split a box:).
ROSEMARY: Lucy, you look adorable! And look you already had your Author pose with your chin resting on your hand!
What was your worst hair disaster?