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?