I’ll Have A Cut, Color, and Formaldehyde, Please

Posted on May 23, 2011


I have curly hair.  No, wait.  I have CURLY HAIR.  Like in “You can be a really good person and deserve good things in life, but I am Your Hair and I will screw you everyday of your life by being completely out of control and no matter what you do I will make you look like you just came out of a blender.”  That kind of thing. 

So I have a long history of curly-headedness: 

Teachers, Kindergarten through mid-elementary school: “Doesn’t your mother ever comb your hair?

Cute Boy,Atlantic City, in the rain, one evening, to my friends and other Cute Boys: “Let’s ditch the one with the Hair and go somewhere.”

 I’m telling you,these things leave scars.  So I ironed (my hair, not my clothes) and I wrapped (my hair around my head) and I went to salons where my hair was pulled and blow-dried into submission.  Which lasted until there was a drop of moisture somewhere on another continent and the Jet Stream (or whatever it is that ruins my life) carried the humidity here.  Then my hair went berserk again.

 Then I gave up.  For many, many years.  I washed my hair, I let it dry, I stopped thinking about it.  I stood in line in front of hundreds of women who cooed “Oh your hair is SO BEAUTIFUL!  I wish I had curly hair just like yours!”  At first I would answer, “You really, really don’t.”  But that was a waste of words, and contrary to what anyone who has ever spoken to me will tell you, I don’t like to waste words.  So, instead, I said, “Well,then, I truly hope that one morning you wake up and your hair will be exactly like mine.” 

Then, a month ago, I succumbed again.  I still wanted straight hair.  I heard about this miracle procedure called The Brazilian Blowout.  I already knew that Brazilians had cornered the market on butts, and so they had credibility in my book.  I wanted in.  I made an appointment. 

The salon was located at the back of a dry cleaning establishment.  This should have been my first clue.  Sure enough, past the revolving rack of shirts and blouses and the large pressing machine, were two beauty salon chairs and two beauticians who were working on other women.  So far so good. 

When it was my turn, I took my seat.  The solution was applied.  The heating iron (thankfully, not the one the dry cleaner was using) was switched on and applied to the first strands of my lotioned hair.  It was then that I became aware of a mild burning sensation in my eyes.  As the flat iron began to cover more portions of my hair, all I could think about was that this is what chemical warfare must be like.

 “Gaaa!  No!  Oooof!” I explained to the beautician, as I pointed to my eyes and throat.  

“Oh,” she said, would you like a towel? 

“Maaaaah! Yah!  Muuf!” I answered, holding one hand across my face and waving the other frantically. 

After the procedure ended, she explained, “It’s the formaldehyde.  It’s fine until heat is applied.  Then it sort of goes crazy.” 

“Whaaaa?” I asked through the towel.  “Whaaaaa?” I asked again, because I couldn’t think of anything else to say. 

Note to Readers: “Formaldehyde is a colorless gas with a strong, suffocating odor.  Among its many commercial and industrial uses is that it is used as an embalming agent.” 

So now I have a head coated in formaldehyde.  And my hair isn’t even straight.  It’s more like vaguely wavy.  I’m trying to go on with my life, but it’s tough.  I’m thinking of declining invitations to summer barbecues and not going out into the sun without a hat. I’m afraid that either would make my head spontaneously combust.  Or embalm.  Or something else really bad. 

Hair:1 Me:0.

Posted in: life, satire, women