My Hair in Curls: A Case Study

Subtitled: a bunch of hilarious photos of me for your Friday enjoyment

Like many babies of Western European persuasion, I was born with brown hair and bluish eyes. I didn’t have a whole lot of hair, but I was clearly my dad’s daughter:

By the time I was a year old, my hair was blonde-ish and curly, which would mark the last time I had anything resembling natural texture in my hair:


It is also worth noting that if you tickle me now, 31 years later, I’ll likely still make that face, though I’ll also likely punch you.

My sister’s hair went through the same arc of blonde-curly-straight. Here we are circa 1986, all piled into Grandpa’s lap in his oversized naugahyde chair.


I was not immune to the appeal of the 80s perm, though I’m not sure this photo captures the majesty of it – bangs AND a perm AND a hopelessly “timeless” dress at my aunt and uncle’s wedding:

Wedding photos

Apart from a brief Dorothy Hamill-esque cut, my hair remained long, thick, and straight until the late 90s. And I remained hopelessly unable to do anything with it, and so was subject to Mom’s best attempts at styling. Like this:

Glamorous 13

The sheer amount of hair also made those fancy up-dos that everyone else got for prom impractical on me. Mom set my hair in rollers, and this was all that remained of the curl within an hour, much less by the end of the night:


Man, I loved my prom dress. LOVED it. I’m still not sure why Dustin wore teal, though.

From 1997-2003, I was in a relationship with someone who insisted that my hair always be longer than his. It took 80 bobby pins to secure my hair for Mary’s wedding, and for Noelle’s, the sheer mass of my hair made me taller than the gentleman of the same height who escorted me down the aisle. When we broke up, I immediately chopped my hair short-short, then was too poor and inept to maintain it, which resulted in a year or two of experimenting with styles intended to keep my hair off the back of my neck, and that would occasionally result in lovely waves:

great hair

I was also swimming every day and riding my bike everywhere, resulting in lovely bleached-out streaks that I haven’t been able to replicate since. And then I chopped it off. Like, OFF. And kept it that way for four years:


I’ve been growing it out for a while now, and this time around, I’m determined to actually learn how to do something with my hair. I bought rollers, and dammit, I’m learning how to use them. What I haven’t quite figured out is how to make the curls stay.

Exhibit A: Foam rollers that I wore out to breakfast and then for the entire five hour drive to Chicago for Keem and Paul’s wedding. The curls lasted through a museum visit, a shitty bar, the ceremony, dinner, and a lot of dancing. Total time: 6-8 hours.

Vintage E

Exhibit B: Foam rollers that I wore out to the store while prepping for my birthday party. The curls lasted through dinner, dancing at Innjoy, and part of the night at Neo. Total time: 4-5 hours.

Birthday Curls

Exhibit C: Hot sticks. The curls lasted through dinner, occupying the loft, and a super shitty bar experience. I have no idea how to use the hot sticks.

Exhibit D: Late evening foam rollers for my friend’s DJ night at Neo. Pinned-up curls lasted (well, sort of) til 2am on a very sweaty dance floor. Total time: 4 hours.

Pinup hair?

Exhibit E: Hot rollers for Annette’s birthday. Note that my hair looked AMAZING when I left the house, but that the curl was almost completely gone by the time I got to the train. Total time: about 10 minutes.

Monroe hair

Exhibit F: Hot rollers for the Panic! 6th anniversary. No photos, alas, so you’ll have to take my word that I set my hair for 20 minutes, then danced at Panic, slept on it, and still had texture and a little curl all the next (95 degree) day.

Exhibit G: Hot rollers for New Wave Prom at Neo. 10 minutes to heat the rollers, and 20 minutes in my hair between my house and Neo. Photos forthcoming, but curls lasted barely an hour on the sweaty dance floor.

So what have we learned here? I have no idea, but I was amused by pulling all of this together, and there are now naked photos of me on the internet.


0 thoughts on “My Hair in Curls: A Case Study

  1. First: it’s hilarious to me that I could do EXACTLY the same post, except in the opposite direction. (Like: here are all the times I tried to straighten my hair, and here’s how little time it lasted.)

    Second: who knew why Dustin did anything? 🙂

    Third: I unfortunately have zero advice about how to put texture/curl IN your hair, but I wish you much luck.


  2. i second sarah’s comment that i find it funny that much of my life has been spent trying to get texture OUT of my hair.

    the grass is always greener.

    once your hair gets a little longer you could try braiding overnight for waves.


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