Anyway, at the appropriate time, my mother decides I need bangs, too. Probably around age two or so, when I finally had enough hair that it was getting in my face and she was tired of trying to keep a barrette in it. I could ask her--she's in town right now--but it's really not important. Anyway, she takes the comb, runs it through my hair in the wrong direction so that I look like Cousin It, and whips out her scissors. And before she can make that fateful cut, my hair springs in eleventy billion directions and she realizes I have a giant cowlick on the front of my head that will make bangs more than unfortunate, it will make them nearly impossible. And my mother, being the wise and judicious woman that she is, promptly puts away her shears, uses her trusty comb to part my hair in the center of my scalp, and sends me off to terrorize my siblings. And there my hair stays for much of my childhood.
Many years later, after a few ill-advisied but thankfully short-lived spiral perms and a life time of waffling between the chin-length blunt cut and the scraggly shoulder-blade-brushing snarl, I was ready to take my hair's destiny into my own hands. At the wise and experienced age of fourteen, I threw caution to the wind, along with the advice of my mother's hairdresser, and gave my cowlick the proverbial middle finger and forced her, with many assurances that I knew what I was doing, to cut me some bangs.
Fourteen is not a kind age to most people, especially six-foot tall, chubby, awkward girls just starting a brand new high school. Why I thought I needed to make that transition worse by having the Terrifying Claw of Human Hair attached to my pimply forehead is beyond even the wisdom eleven years distance has brought me. All I know is that I had far too much faith in hair products I had never successfully used up to that point. Spoiler alert: I did not master them until WELL after those bangs had rejoined the ranks of the regularly lengthed hair. Who am I kidding? I still haven't mastered them.
I should mention that it was only THE CLAW on the days I made an effort. Since I was fourteen and getting up early has never been my strong suit, let's just say those days were rarer than they should have been. "Well, great!" you're thinking, "That means it wasn't always The Claw." And you would only be half right, my optimistic friend. No, on the days that I didn't make an effort, they alternated between frizzy and greasy, plastered to my forehead and hanging limply, pathetic and gross, but ALWAYS, always with a giant bald spot on the left side of my head where my cowlick, not able to send the short hairs high into the air in a cascading fountain of teenage angst, would split them like Moses at the Red Sea, if Moses was vindictive and my pimples were the Israelites.
As you can imagine, freshman year of high school was not my favorite. But what your imagination is forgetting is that year was also the year of the INEXPLICABLE hair butterfly. You remember those, right? The hair clips that had metal butterflies covered in glitter and attached to springs so that they jiggled in "life-like flight" when you moved? Anyone? Bueller? Oh, they were the worst. And I thought they were BEATUTIFUL! I wore them more often than I care to admit. And just to give you a REALLY accurate mental picture, at this time I had yet to let go of the scrunchie as a valid ponytail holder. I preferred the homemade CROCHETED scrunchie, if I'm being completely honest here.
This was a BANNER YEAR for me in the hair department, is what I'm saying. I was so sure that with the right combination of will and hairspray, I could tame the giant cowlick on my forehead. I was so incredibly mistaken. And EVERYONE knew it. Everyone told me I would regret it and I swore I would not and "I can just grow them out if they don't work." HUBRIS, thy name is Teenage Girl! There is no time span in the world longer than the time it takes to grow out really unfortunate bangs. I wish someone had told me that. Oh. Right...
I've blacked out how long exactly it took me to get rid of the bangs, but I know that there are far too many photographs in existence to let anyone forget about them for many years after they stopped being visible. I've thought about destroying them all, but I know I could never get to all the high school yearbooks from that year without seeing a lot of people I'd rather never see again or committing a lot of felonies I'd rather not commit.
I bring all of this up, because I'm thinking of getting a haircut this week. What do you think I should get done? Obviously, I'm not to be trusted with a decision of this magnitude.