Tonight we were watching the Football Hall of Fame game on TV. My husband and I started to reminisce about the days when we lived in Canton, Ohio, and he worked as Shmoozer Golfer and Banquet Attender for Ameritech and we got to do cool things like go to the Football Hall of Fame dinner.
We didn’t go to the actual game, because we had a baby, a toddler and a little kid, so we tried to limit the number of social events that we went to, lest we fall asleep in the middle of the halftime show and Walter Payton’s speech.
But we did go to the big induction ceremony and dinner on the night before the big game. I bought a new dress, a peach two-piece silk number that I wore with pearls and off-white shoes. I didn’t look too much like Barbara Bush. We got a sitter. Well, we asked my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Jim and Sheree to drive up from Youngstown to babysit. They obliged.
At that time I was getting my hair cut by a guy named Kenny, a flamboyant hairdresser who wore camo fatigues and leather and who loved to make fun of barbers. I loved Kenny. I had a haircut appointment for that afternoon, which I thought was good. New haircut, shiny new dress, someone to take care of the kids. Life was good.
I got to the hair salon and Kenny asked me what he always asked me while cutting my hair. “What are you doing tonight?” Normally my answer was “scraping banana-cheerio paste off the high chair safety strap” or “balancing my checkbook” or “watching the Power Ranger episodes we taped” or “if I can stay awake during this haircut, probably take a nap.”
But this time I said, “I’m going to the hall of fame dinner.” Kenny’s scissors stopped briefly. I think he was surprised that I’d be invited, but he believed me. He kept snipping and we kept chatting and I got lost in the zen of having someone touch your hair and scalp for money, and I almost didn’t notice that Kenny was pulling pieces of my hair up and backcombing them, much like . . . what the . . . this reminds me of . . . rattingmy hair, something Janet and Connie and I used to do when we were 7 and were playing out our fantasies of being Nancy Sinatra.
“What are you . . . are you ratting my hair?” I squeaked at Kenny.
“I’m giving you big girl hair,” he said. “If you’re going to the hall of fame dinner, it’s time you acted like a big girl and had big girl hair.”
Emphasis on the “big.” This was the first - and obviously the last - time I had ever had my hair done, with the exception of when I was 6 and was the flower girl in my cousin Sandy’s wedding, and that doesn’t count because I was a minor and my mother and my aunt ordered it.
My hair was huge. And hard as a rock. When I asked Kenny if it was going to stay so big all night, he said, “Oooooh, yeah. It’s not going anywhere.”
When I walked in the house, my family stared at me.
“Shut up,” I snapped at them and walked into the bedroom to get dressed. Through the snorts and giggles I could hear the baby burst into startled tears and Sheree said, “I think she looks beautiful.”
I was tempted to stick my head under the faucet and start over, but the whole Nancy Sinatra thing was kind of calling out to me. I struck a These-Boots-are-Made-for-Walkin’ pose in front of the mirror and thought, yeah, I’ll do it.
I kept the hair and am glad I did. That was 15 years ago and my hair is the only thing I remember about the Football Hall of Fame dinner. Sadly, it’s the only thing our whole table remembers, too.