Finally accepting myself for who I am, haglike curls and all | Lisa Scottoline

Young woman in shirt looking at the sea
Curly hair, as it turns out, is a lot less work than straight hair.

Today, we’re talking tribes.

Not Democrat versus Republican. This column is for LOL, not UGH.

No, today we’re talking straight hair vs. curly.

Let me explain.

I have curly hair. When I was little, people always came up to me and said, “Where did you get that curly hair?”

Note to adults: Don’t ask kids this question.

They don’t know the answer. They will feel dumb, and the conversation will end.

In time, I learned to answer, “From the dog,” which was the only other curly-haired thing in the house.

That got a big laugh. Which I loved.

And a humor writer was born.

But then Mother Mary told me that I got my curly hair from God, so I started saying that, which got me an approving pat on my curly head.

So there was clearly a right answer, even if it wasn’t funny.

But somewhere along the line, I got the idea that curly hair was not as cool as straight hair, no matter what God had in mind. All my friends had straight hair and so did all the girls in the ads, so I hated my curly hair and did everything to straighten it, like slathering it with Dippity-Do, wrapping it around coffee cans, and trying to sleep with them on top of my head like Martian curlers.

Like from My Favorite Martian.

Yes, journey back through time with me. I’m one-stop shopping for throwback references.

I even know the theme song to the TV show.

And if you do, too, welcome to the club. We’re half-dead.

Anyway the coffee-can trick straightened my hair, except for the weird ridges from the massive bobby pins.

Ladies, please tell me you know what I’m talking about. I can’t be the only Girl from UNCURL.

I even ironed my hair, which is the only thing in my life I’ve actually enjoyed ironing. When blow dryers came along, I blew my hair dry.

But fast-forward to modern day, and every time I get out of the shower and let my hair dry on its own, it’s still curly.

It never gives up. It has remained undefeated for more than six decades. It keeps trying to be itself, in the vain hope that I will not blow-dry it into submission.

You have to admire its persistence.

I don’t have the mental toughness of my own hair. I would quit after 10 years.

Daughter Francesca has a headful of curls, and since daughters are often more sensible than their mothers, she wears her hair curly. I’ve been watching her for the last 10 years, and she looks fabulous.

Also nowadays, when people find out my hair is curly, they ask, “Why don’t you wear it that way?”

Everybody with the hair questions. I never have good answers.

So, finally, I decided to take the plunge.

Because times change, and evidently so do I.

Just more slowly.

In truth, the message that you have to have straight hair is gone. You can have any kind of hair you want. You can have purple hair, or you can be bald.

So I’m going curly.

In other words, I’m being me.

I started last week.  It was remarkably easy. All I did was get out of the shower and walk around my house. I looked vaguely witchy, but I find that oddly appealing.

Am I a good witch or a bad witch?

Well, let’s put it this way:

I spent my entire life being a good witch. Those days are over.

That was then, and this is Boo!

Then Francesca told me there are products for curly hair, so I got one and smeared it around my hair.

I looked less witchy.

I looked more haglike, my approved standard of appearance.

And still all I had to do was walk around the house.

I know I’m supposed to like finally accepting myself for who I am.

But really I’m just lazy.

You can’t beat hair that you don’t have to do anything to.

And when it rains, it won’t be a Bad Hair Day, just a Normal Hair Day.

Because my hair already looks bad.

So far, I haven’t left the house.

I might chicken out.

But if we wait for me to leave the house, we might be waiting forever.

That’s how truly lazy I am.

Out is too much trouble.

So I’m letting my freak flag fly.


For now.

Look for Lisa and Francesca’s new humor collection, “I Need a Lifeguard Everywhere But the Pool,” and Lisa’s new Rosato & DiNunzio novel, “Exposed,” in stores now.