When I was a little girl, I had straight hair. Sometimes it was long straight hair, sometimes it was short straight hair. Either way, it was straight, which did not bring joy to my tiny little heart. See, my mother – who is half-Italian – had gorgeous curly hair. In my eyes, it was the perfect curl. To add insult to injury, my two older brothers inherited the curly hair as well. Not that they ever appreciated it like I would have.
As a child, I would have done anything to have curly hair. My mother told me that if I ate the ends of the bread, it would make my hair curly. She lied. I spent many a night with my hair done up in curlers, so I could have that elusive curl for a little bit.
When I was ten, my mother had twins and of course, my sister’s hair grew in curly. I remember looking at my mother and saying “If [my younger brother] has curly hair too, I’m going to kill you!” (He didn’t, until very recently.)
When I got older, I tried perms, which never really last in my hair. My mother would assure me that my hair was gorgeous, tell me stories about how she’d take a clothes iron to her hair to make it straight (literally lay her head down on the ironing board!) But I still coveted the curly hair, even knowing that my straight hair was still pretty darn great.
Now I was a teenager in the late 1980’s. Everyone else had big hair and lots of permed curls. Me? I had straight hair. My hair refused to stay in a curl via iron or perm. I wasn’t that fussy of a girl anyway, so I came to terms with my straight hair. Really, looking back at life, I am happy I don’t have any embarrassing ’80’s hair pictures. I have my straight hair to thank for that.
But a funny thing happened a few years ago. Straight hair came into fashion, and a wave developed in my hair. At the time, I wore my hair pretty long and natural, which was fine except for this section in the back that looked like a couple of speed bumps along my scalp. Eventually it came time to trim the mane, and I told the stylist that I had this wave to my hair, could he work with it? I was okay with losing some length as well. He took it to below shoulder length, cut it in a magical way, and a quarter sized dollop of hair gunk later, I suddenly discovered I had curls! Soft wavy curls, but my very own natural curliness happening.
My hair wavers between straight and curly. I have to work just a little to bring out the curls, but it’s worth it. On misty rainy days, my hair actually looks better and better. In Ireland, my hair was absolutely fabulous, and I suddenly knew what a friend of mine meant when she once said she had Irish curl – it’s when your hair curls up with damp and humidity.
I’m not sure what caused my hair to go curly – a fluke of age, hormones, giving birth to two ultra-girly girls…who knows? But I’ll take it.