What Does Your Hair Say? Homeless Skank or Jackie O?

Barbie, are you using product?
It’s weird to me that I now put stuff on my hair to make it look greasy. Oh, I know, not greasy really, but shiny and separated, like my hair looked from 1968 through 1978, when I had greasy hair. Despite my washing it with the harshest Suave shampoo every day, sometimes twice, I spent my entire puberty with oily hair. And this was a time when the dry look, the wispy waif look, and the my-entire-body-is-stripped-of-all-moisture-and-could-blow-away-in-moderate-winds look were in.

In 6th grade, our sewing teacher, Miss Compton, spent two days talking to our class about personal hygiene. The fact that she was the sewing teacher tells you something about the middle school I attended in the ‘70s. But I digress. I can still remember Miss Compton saying, “You may be asking yourself, ‘How often should I wash my hair?’ “  I remember it because I looked around the room and no one seemed to be asking themselves how often they should wash their hair.  “How can I determine if she’s hinting that my hair is dirty?”  maybe.  “How can I become invisible?”  “Does Tim White like me?” or maybe “Why are we talking about washing our hair in sewing class? When can we finish our scarves?”
So what was Miss Compton’s answer? “When it’s dirty!” she said cheerfully. For me, that would have been shortly after arriving in my first period class, less than an hour after I washed it that morning before school. My hair produced so much oil, my sister Pam once suggested I make the salad dressing for dinner, “because she can just wring out her hair for the oil.” How did I manage to get through my teen years with that kind of abuse?

So I finally manage to tone down my scalp to the point that it’s like normal people, and now the dry look is out and greasy, skanky hair is in. I pay $8.99 for this stuff that’s basically hand lotion in a bottle, to moosh through my clean, just-washed hair in the morning, to make it look like it needs to be washed again.

I’ve talked before about my obsessions. Can’t remember if I mentioned that I spent about 2 1/2 years obsessing over The Torch Has Passed, a large, maroon, commemorative Time-Life book about the assassination of John F. Kennedy that my mom bought. Other kids were out playing kickball in Janet Balestrino’s driveway, and I was home staring at the pictures of Jack and Jackie’s Camelot. There’s a picture of Caroline Kennedy picking her nose with a white glove on at the funeral, there’s a picture of an empty rocking chair, and there’s a full-page color portrait of Jackie Kennedy in there . . . OK, now I’m sure I’ve written about this before. Stop me if you’ve heard this . . . and she’s got the shiniest, blackest hair, it’s absolutely glistening. I wanted that hair so damn bad, it’s not even funny. I would have killed for her hair. The nails she can keep - they’re bitten down to stubs. But the hair, I had to have it. 

Now I realize she must’ve plastered her head with more pomade, Dippity Do and Aqua Net than the White House had ever seen. 

I think that’s the look we’re going for now. Although on me, it looks more like the homeless women who used to try to buy controlled narcotics at the drug store I worked at in high school.

“Jackie, is that you? Oh, never mind. Call the cops.”