Saturday, October 3, 2009

Timeless style: Coif as crown

My oldest friend, Lois' mother, Mary, was a Jackie-esque type of the original Palm Beach school of dressing. Mary had a mantra about hair, "Always do your hair and make sure it looks pretty. Your hair is your crown."

I caught myself repeating that to my two-year-old this morning: The one who refuses to have any sort of accoutrement in her hair. Drives her mad. Luckily, she was born with pretty-as-it-is hair.

I was not similarly lucky. I have a lot of hair, it was a mousy, dull color, and it is unbelievably high maintenance. When I have a great deal to do in getting ready for a party or event, I mutter unpleasant things and still expect it to behave. I can get it to do the right thing, but I exhaust myself and a solid hour of my short life fighting the Battle of the Coif.

I have come to see it as my largest chore each day, but it has to be done. It is a thing that should not be overlooked. In the world of hostess as taskmaster, physical appearance is job one. The well-travelled path here, I believe, is the best one.

Consequently, I do not mess around: It is blown out professionally for nearly every occasion. Big or small. A small price to pay to have my one and only true crown looking polished. I sense many others feel the same, yes?

It is blown out early in the morning before parties of my own; late in the afternoon if I am going out. If I am planning on having a baby, it is blown out the day before or morning of my due date.

Here is what I discovered about that: When you have a baby, people are coming over. Seriously, I mean it. Like people have never been over before, and with cameras, thousands of them, when you just gave birth. And maybe one could think, I won't be vain that is not the important thing, and they would be right at that moment. And maybe the will be right until they clench their teeth a little looking at their photos next to their new (cleaned, polished, pretty'ed up) baby girl. Who, I might add, looks a world better than Mom even after that hellish ride down the ex-utero cyclone-coaster.

Alright. It might be a compulsion, this looking neat and feeling in control thing. But if it is, I am keeping it. I am disinclined to allow myself to feel crazy about anything in my environment even after having a child. And my crown, well, that is a big thing to be off kilter. The first time I did this, I was so glad, it never occurred to me, though it should have, that people would take a million photos; I only thought I would not have to worry about getting it in order for a couple of days.

I try to be a realist. I understand perfection is largely unattainable, especially with a coif. But I am pursuing it nonetheless. I relentlessly court the seemingly impossible.

I like my look to tell people I have a handle on things. But I am not foolish enough to expect my Daughter's look to say the same : Childhood should have leeway.

I have some evidence I have charted the right course. There are a million examples of icons paying careful mind to their hair; Appreciating that it is the first and last thing a person notices about you, and understanding that being well turned out is essential to the message one sends to others, especially when you've invited them into your home.

And a million examples of how they did not falter as time moved on, no?


My Castle in Spain said...

am so with you on this subject! i go weekly to my hairdresser just to have it properly blown out and's one of these necessary luxuries isn't it? :-)
Have a great week end!

ps: i do so wish though women wear hats more often!

Bonjour Madame said...

Spoken like a true Southern woman! I'm getting my hair cut and colored in about an hour and I'm looking forward to it. How do you feel about sticking with a certain cut that flatters you? Nothing that would look dated or in a rut, but just something that is sort of a signature cut? I'm flirting with the idea right now because I've found a very simple cut that works on me, but I'm still toying with the length of it. I did a post yesterday on someone with a great haircut. It's so chic.

Kathy said...

Thank God for "Pretty as it is hair" Some days I'm just to busy in my studio to think about hair...Natrually curley, and my husband loves it curled all over, sort of on the edge of out of control. Some days I'm comfortable with the rational.." If he's happy, I'm happy!... works for me...xoxo~Kathy @ Sweet Up-North Mornings...

Suburban Princess said...

Some people mocked me for taking makeup and a blow dryer to the hospital when my son was born...I think those people dont care how they look. The photos I have of me in my pink satin jammies, hair done and a little makeup on make me so happy! And they make others very jealous lol!

susan said...

Make your bed. Do your hair. Put on matter what :)

LPC said...

Here in California we take pride in rumpled locks and childbirth without drugs. However, I NEVER sent my daughter to school without well-brushed hair:).

Lylah Ledner said...

i love this......and, so where is your link back section for me to post this on my blog? if you don't have one would you add one for me, please? would love to post this...thanks....

xoxo having a hair day myself...lylah

The Countess of Nassau County said...

I'm howling over this one.

In between contractions I blew out my hair, curled my eyelashes and shaved my legs. Damn if Mom didn't look as fantastic as that kid. Some of the comments made by observers post delivery included.

"Oh my God, look at your HAIR, unbelievable"

"Do you have mascara on?"

"I hate you"

"Jesus it could be your x-mas card picture".

...and ladies, there is NO excuse for not showering after the birth.

Lily Lemontree said...

I never thought about getting my hair blown out before going to the hospital to have my children, what a great idea! I don't think it dawns on women how many photographs of them will be taken on these special days and just how wretched one can look after childbirth (especially when snuggling beside a beautiful, fresh-faced newborn). I will have to pass this along!

Tracey said...

Ha! That is so funny that you got your hair blown out before giving birth! But, you're right, there are a lot of pictures being taken, it would be nice to at least think your hair looked good :)

:) T

little augury said...

Terrific post- you are on top of things-I can only imagine every almost mother wishes she had thought of this. Lucky little daughter yours-when you are born with perfect hair-it's easy to be nonchalant! GT

Jane (Frugal Fine Living) said...

Your hair sounds very much like mine. You need one of these: Trust me, it will change your life!


little augury said...

Oh -love a good hair tool,thanks Jane! GT