By Mir
February 21, 2013

As soon as we started having full-cast rehearsals for The Vagina Monologues, most of us noticed something weird: We had a disproportionately high number of redheads in the cast. Now, I’m guessing not all of them were natural redheads, but still. Only something like 1% of the world’s population has red hair, and according to Wikipedia (“they can’t put anything on the Internet that isn’t true”), here in the U.S. only between 2-6% of the population is red-headed. In a cast of 28 women, we had 8 redheads. That’s almost a third. Apparently when it comes to talking about their lady-bits, redheads are much more likely to do so. You know, based upon my completely unscientific, anecdotal observation.

I am currently somewhat obsessed with hair. I have made my peace with my own hair color; since giving up dye and cutting it all off last spring, I have come to love my silver streaks. I feel more ME, again, somehow. I don’t know how I’ll feel when I’m ENTIRELY gray, but right now I’m digging it. (Though I am maybe a wee bit jealous of all those beautiful redheads….)

So on the color front, huzzah! It’s all good! The problem is that I’ve reached the PLEASE KILL ME portion of our growing-out-my-hair program.

Oh, I liked it short, I guess. It was a fun change. It was relatively easy to care for and felt alien and exposed enough that I even regularly wore mascara (WHOA) for several months. But—as always happens—time passed and I started feeling bushy, and because my hair grows at warp speed, I realized that if I was to maintain my sassy ‘do, I would need to have my hair trimmed every 5-6 weeks. Which just seemed like a hassle.

[Moral of the story: No matter the color or the style of my hair, nothing is as important to me as how lazy I can be.]

So I let it grow for a while and once I well and truly had some bizarre afro/mullet combination going on, I went back to my stylist.

“Same cut?” she asked.

“No,” I said. “I loved it, don’t get me wrong, but—”

“—you want it long again,” she finished. A good stylist totally gets your neuroses. I nodded, we discussed just kind of thinning out some of the puffiness, and I got a trim that was supposed to kind of keep me set until December or so.

“I’ll come in before Christmas and get another trim,” I promised, because I am a big fat lying liar. Shocker: I haven’t been back, since. Really, this is a compliment to my stylist; she did such a good job, it’s been growing out ever since without any weirdness.

BUT. You knew there was going to be a “but,” right?

I’m back to periodically straightening my hair, which is kind of an enormous pain in the behind. Even with it barely reaching my shoulders (while straight), I still have a LOT of hair, and it’s very time intensive to wrangle it into submission. On a regular day—working at home, no super-important-to-look-awesome events on my calendar—I can’t be bothered.

Of course, during the show I went ahead and straightened it for the run, and that was when several of us discovered that—in addition to our windfall of redheads—here was a group of women dedicating all of this time and energy to a charity organization to empower women, and clearly we’re all self-actualized and whatnot, surely, AND YET. Nearly every woman in the cast with straight hair curled it for the show. Nearly every woman in the cast with curly hair straightened it for the show. We all laughed about it, but seriously. WOMEN. GET YOUR SELF-ACCEPTANCE ON.

Oh, I have to do it, too? Sure thing. Lemme just go put down the flat iron, first.

All of this brings us back to the current state of my hair: BLEAH. It’s not short. It’s not long. It’s beyond the ‘fro stage but not quite to the long-enough-to-kind-of-weigh-itself-down stage. It’s a mass of curls without direction. It kind of sucks.

Now, I could go back to my stylist, and she could maybe shape it up some so that it’s a little less wild, but really, this is just an unavoidable stage of growing out curls. I happen to know that this period of time—when my curls reach longer than my chin but not quiiiite to my shoulders—is just… ugly. Blocky, untamed, and accidental-looking. And as a bonus: Not yet long enough for a ponytail (the rescue move of long-haired ladies everywhere). On truly terrible days I can sort of wrangle a headband, kind of.

Maybe I need to buy a hat? A series of hats? A wig? A clue? I’m pretty sure this is 800-odd words about hair that could’ve been spent on something that actually mattered, like… curing cancer or figuring out my favorite flavor of ice cream. You know, important stuff.


  1. jodifur

    I dye my hair and I love the color but to be honest it is kind of an expensive pain. Every 8 weeks to the stylist and wow…that bill! Yes I cold stop but I’m too vain to go gray at 37.

    Bangs! Get bags! All the cool kids are doing it. (Me included.)

  2. JennyA

    Agggh, I need a cut too, but my fabulous stylist also did so well last time that I’m going on, I don’t know, like 5 or 6 months. But terrorist fist-bump for eschewing color! I gave it up about a year and a half ago and there are plent of silver strands in there (WTF, genetics, I’m only 35, is that normal?) but it feels like me.

  3. My Kids Mom

    OK, Amazon-crazed woman. Order yourself a book. Today. http://www.amazon.com/Curly-Girl-Lorraine-Massey/dp/0761123008/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1361466851&sr=1-2&keywords=curly+girl. The book is highly recommended by most curly headed friend. Me, I have straight hair and I use all sorts of crap to “give it volume” but I’ve also mostly come to an understanding with it and found a cut that works. As for the color, God colors it for me and does a fine job (at a good price!). I’ve decided that I’m ok with letting my hair go gray because I’m all “aging is fine and normal and all that” but then I see little crinkly lines around my mouth and face and I freak out.

  4. Brenda

    Oh, hair. My hair is sort of in-between. Some days it lies pretty flat, some days it’s awfully wavy, almost curly. Which means most of the time (because I’m lazy), it’s rather frizzy and a bit messy, or it’s dirty enough to be smooth but then it looks greasy. My hair cutting regime goes like this: grow hair long, really long, maybe for about two years. Chop off enough to donate. Repeat. I honestly can’t remember the last time I got my hair cut or even just trimmed for any reason other than I was donating length. I do periodically dye it reddish, but I use the semi-permanent so I don’t have to upkeep. That’s how lazy I am.

  5. Courtney

    One of my friends swears my keratin treatments when her somewhat curly hair gets to a weird phase.

  6. suburbancorrespondent

    So jealous of your curls! I don’t have straight hair, I don’t have curly hair or even wavy hair – it’s just bumpy hair. No fun. But it IS nice and thick, so I just try to appreciate that I haven’t had to deal with the menopause-induced thinning hair syndrome.

    Keep your curls and get a cute hat.

  7. Janine

    I have a friend who has very thick hair, not so much curly as it is poofy. She got a keratin treatment and her hair is now as straight as mine (pin straight) and silky smooth. Costs an arm and a leg though, but works really well. They said every 3-6 months depending…on what exactly, I am not sure. I am betting it has a lot to do with tolerance though.

  8. Sassy Apple

    ‘My Kids Mom’ is right. You must read Curly Girl. It will set you free :)

  9. Brigid

    Curly red-head here. Well. I grew up as a red-head. Now I use a bit of help, but it’s just to get back to my pre-pregnancy color. (My hair got darker with each pregnancy. Bummer. I feel since I grew up red-headed and endured all the torture, that I should get to enjoy it now that I’m older and wiser.) But I totally get straightening shorter hair. When I have short hair I either blow it straight or hit it with the flat iron if I’m feeling fancy. Once it gets to my shoulders it’s all “be free and curly.” My head is shaped oddly so I can’t wear any kind of headband, but I have found bobby pins to be a lifesaver lately. You can just stick ’em wherever you want and add more or less depending on the humidity…

  10. Juli Ward

    I have always wanted to go to a wig store and just try on every wig to see what I would look like with different hair. Does that sound odd? And why haven’t I done it yet?

  11. Katie in MA

    That’s what I call my ballcap-friendly stage. Seriously – how do you not own a BoSox hat?! It’s my new answer to keeping my (recently straightened) hair out of my face while I run.

  12. Juli

    It’s not about self-acceptance It’s just the the prettiest hair state for most hair is smooth with a lot of body, which naturally curly people achieve with flat irons and naturally straight achieve with curling irons. (or blowdrying, hot curlers, etc.) It’s not that each wants what they don’t have. They’re just trying to meet in the middle.

  13. karen

    Keratin treatments are the way to go… the price? RIDICULOUS!!.. but the way your hair comes out will make you fall in love with it. And, I think you do it only every three or four months, or when you feel like it. My daughter has it done for her long wirey curly hair and it looks beautiful and so much healthier, even, with the treatment.

  14. Aimee

    Well, I just had my very first (and I’m 44!) blow-out and flat-iron on my curly hair on Sunday, and I freaking loved it. It also helped that I got great color and a great cut. But I’ve never seen myself with straight hair, and I’ll tell you, having it professionally done beat the heck out of what I did when I was six or seven, which was to drape a white pillowcase over my head and pretend it was my long, blonde, straight hair. Not that the pillowcase wasn’t AWESOME, mind you; but this is better. Today I left it curly and I like it this way too.

    This weekend, I might go absolutely apeshit, flatiron it and then put curls in WHERE I WANT THEM. There’s no stopping me now.

  15. katspeakz

    I got my first perm at 10 after *begging* my mom for months to let me because I wanted curly hair desperately. I started to embrace my straight hair in my teens and now just accept it as part of me. But my daughter has the most beautiful curly red hair that falls halfway down her back in ringlets. The day she asks for a flat-iron, I know my heart will break. Right now I have her convinced that her hair is wonderful, but she’s not yet five. Her curly haired cousin in kinder comes home and asks her mom to make her hair “smooth and pretty”.

  16. Amy

    I have no hair antidotes. However, I am a redhead (as you know) and my best friend is also a redhead…and we talk about our lady parts all. the. time. It doesn’t even matter where we are. We could be slap in the middle of church and if we felt the need, we’d discuss lady bits freely.

  17. Amy-Go

    So getting a haircut every 6 weeks is more hassle than this much fretting? And styling? Honey please. I get my sassy red head cut every THREE weeks (you want to talk about hair that grows at warp speed, call me) and the rest of the time I do absolutely. Nothing. To. It. Ever. Don’t own a brush. Haven’t used a blow dryer in YEARS. That right there is my own personal definition of hassle free hair. And if you’re thinking “every three weeks? Is she freaking made of cash or what?” The answer is no. I go to a barber. An old fashioned men’s barber. Cheap, quick, easy. And fret free.

  18. Rocky Mountain Woman

    I dye my hair and have for years. Not quite ready to be gray yet, but I’m slooowwlly getting ready…


  19. Jessica

    I’m from the land of “thick but stick straight” hair. My hair won’t hold a curl at all. I always thought I looked better in long hair and always thought I preferred long hair, until I got sick of the ponytails (not just the savior of long-hairs, but the go-to for me when it’s long: pony or bun) and cut it off for Locks of Love. Since then, my hair has gotten shorter and shorter. I’m right now between chin and shoulder length, and I think I’m good with this length. I can’t put it up, but I don’t need to. I have some serious layering going on, though, to keep the poof out of it (poofy AND stick straight? It just looks like a broom), but I’m good where I am. (I’m never having bangs again. Ever. I got rid of them in college and haven’t looked back since. Stick straight AND glasses = in your way all the time.)

    I’m not gray yet, but I’m just going to embrace it. I’m so low maintenance (read: also lazy like you) that it’s ridiculous, and I figure I can’t start dying it or I have to maintain it or have that weird “getting rid of a dye job” layer of roots and the like. (I’m super lucky I got my dad’s side of the family’s hair, though. My mom’s side were all gray before they were 20, except the guys — who went bald.)

    Good luck! And I’m still jealous that you have any curl at all. But that’s the way it goes. (We were just discussing this at work on Monday: curly hairs want straight hair and straight hairs want curly. I guess should just be happy I have hair on my head!)

  20. Sharon

    The more gray, read mostly gray now, my hair gets the more severe it looks when it’s short. I like it longer, read over my ears and almost shoulder length, but it grows so fast that every 3-4 weeks is optimum to keep the right length. I’ve had six different people cut it in the last two years trying to find someone who understands cowlicks, course gray wavy hair. The best I can do is a woman barber for trims and the cosmetology school for shaping twice a year. More expensive does not mean better style in my area ~ someone tries some new layering treatment and in two weeks I look like a mop on legs. I wouldn’t care how much it cost if I could find someone who could cut it once a month and make it look consistently presentable.

  21. Flesher

    Seriously, all you really have to do is implant a straight-haired woman’s brain in your head and you would be fine. The real question is, “Is hair dysmorphic disorder contagious or just a part of our society?” Inquiring minds want to know.

  22. Lindsey

    Completely agree with the Curly Girl Handbook My Kids Mom recommended. Changed my life! Truly! I’m loving my curly hair now. :)

  23. Lucinda

    Apparently we all have a lot to say about hair. I have very straight but very fine hair. As a child of the 70’s and 80’s, I am just happy that very straight hair is finally in style. Dealing with my hair has never been easier. Or more stylish.

  24. Kate

    Yay for redheads! I’m part of that 1% worldwide and so proud. I also, however, notice when there is a strangely large percentage of reds in one place. Disneyland is such a place. Maybe, besides chatting about the girlie-goods, they also tend to be WEALTHY!! Not me, but who knows?!

  25. Heather

    I’m a redhead and I definitely talk about my lady bits more than some of my friends … I’m also an EMT so I think I have less of a filter LOL

    I am lazy and don’t really care what my hair looks like. I might straighten or curl it once or twice a year … otherwise, it’s wash and go … and maybe put it in a ponytail.

  26. Nic

    I live in Texas where most woman are blonde – dyed usually- and I’ve always been in the minority as a redhead. Then I went to college in North Carolina and I was stunned was I saw that 80-90% of the women were redheads! Only a couple blondes around, weird. I have the most frustrating hair ever, it’s very fine but I have a lot of it. More strands per square inch -I’m told- than normal. It’s not straight but not curly either . It’s kinky. And gross. I’ve never been happy with it but there’s no way I’ll pay for the fabulousness I’m sure can be achieved by paying a stylist’s mortgage. Oh, and thanks mom’s side of the family that turns us females all grey by 26. I’ve been coloring forever. :-(

  27. elz

    I went red (the first time I’ve dyed my hair!) last year and never looked back. It’s a whole different me, a revitalized me. My saving grace is a blow dry place near me that runs crazy good deals b/c I can NOT blow dry my hair pretty. It doesn’t help you now though. Actually head scarves are supposed to be very on trend for Spring.

  28. Brigitte

    I’ve noticed that thing about straight-wanting-to-be-curly and vice versa too. I think it’s so funny, especially as when I was a kid, with my kinda wavy hair, I desperately wanted it to make up its mnd and pick one or the other.

    Luckily, I grew to love the wave, if not the frizz, and being remarkably over-the-top lazy, never cut or color it. Just sit on the sidelines and laugh! ;-D

  29. Annie

    Hairpins. I have medium length curly hair, and hairpins will save you. As a bonus, you can pretend you’re a Gibson-Girl from the 1880s.

  30. Mary Barnmaven Peret

    I’ve been straightening my hair too, Mir. Mine’s not as curly as yours, more wavy, but yeah, I hate the way it looks if I let it curl when its not quite long enough to tie back. And I just don’t do headbands, I don’t have the face for it. Its almost long enough for a pony tail these days, but on a weekly basis I’m tempted to cut it back to an inch long.

  31. Anna

    Yes- Curly girls want straight hair, and girls with straight hair want it curly. It’s crazy.
    I have fine, straight hair. I went to the hairstylist just this week… after six months. It looked terrible, but I couldn’t be bothered to go. It feels SO much better.

    Go. Really.

  32. Amanda

    Tie it up in a bandanna? I’m currently also too lazy to go spend 2 hours getting my hair cut (yes, it really takes that long without a wash even), and am growing out my bangs. I can’t decide if it makes me look older without them or not. I may have to resurrect them.

  33. Kayt

    I’m in my mid-twenties, and I’ve had a small but noticable streak of white since I was sixteen. I like having it, and frankly, I have a baby face. It’s nice to look at bit older when you’re a mother of two.

    I recently cut eight inches off for charity, and I was looking at my hacked off ponytail, and woah! There were some other streaks of white in areas near the back. And the other side. And worked in around my almost black hair. I was pondering if my streak was just mixed when the ponytail got cut off, and my oh so helpful hairstylist/sister in law said “You didn’t know? It’s been like this for YEARS.” Well then. ACCEPTANCE ACCEPTANCE OMG SO MUCH GREY.

  34. Margaret

    I have a copy of the book so highly recommended. I’ll send it to you if you would like. Along with another item I have had for about a jillion months.

  35. Valerie

    Absolutely HAVE to comment on this! :) Ok, so almost two years ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and since it went to two lymph nodes, I had to have chemo. (Quick aside: I’m feeling great and cancer free. YAY!)

    Anyway, I lost my hair. When it came back, as is often the case, it was chock full of curls. Most of my survivor friends have lost their curls, I have not. My hair had a good deal of wave to it before, but not like this–not even close.

    And I am so grateful to have hair again, I truly am. But it is driving me CRAZY!!!! I can’t do anything with it. Like yours, there is so much of it. The only time I can get it to look cute (and yes, my opinion of what is cute tends to differ vastly from all those lying liars who tell me it looks “fine”) is if I let it air dry for about 20 minutes, put some gel on it, let it air dry for about an hour and then use a hair dryer with a diffuser on it for a couple of minutes. Oh, did I mention that I have to be at work at 7:30 a.m. and that I am NOT a morning person? :)

    I seriously never thought I’d say it, but it was much less stressful getting ready for work when I only had to choose which scarf to wear that day. (Though dressing up and going out sucked big time.) So, sure, you could devote 800 words to curing cancer, but take it from this cancer survivor… hair is a giant pain in the you-know-what! :) I vote for ice cream!!

  36. Pip

    Ooh! Ooh! I have self-acceptance! I haven’t had my hair professionally cut since March 2010, and it is a wavy straight and it’s staying that way :-D Although I do need to get it trimmed, because, yowch, split-end-apalooza.

    Also, I very rarely wear makeup, and I only feel like I’m slightly overweight too.

    Unfortunately I don’t like my face any more, so that’s a bit of a bugger to my self-acceptance dance of glee.

  37. 12tequilas

    I have curly hair (which, like Brigid’s, is red but got darker over time, so when I see pictures of my old fiery hair I’m all “wow! did I really have *that* color?”). Anyway, what about hair product? I recommend John Frieda’s Frizz Ease Spiral Style Curl-Defining Spray Gel. At $6.00 or less, it’s a bit more affordable than keratin.

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