Friday, February 19, 2010

Flashback Friday: Hair beads

I’m pretty bland when it comes to hair styles—I’ve always been nervous about cutting, colouring, or trying out new styles so as a general rule I just don’t. Ever. My brother David once accused me of having the same haircut since I was eight years old. And, partially, he’s right. Only partially, though, because aside from occasionally having bangs, and excluding the bald baby years, I have had the same hair style my whole life.

The thought of trying something different terrifies and thrills me but it’s doubtful that I’ll ever try anything new because I have never set foot inside a real salon. Ever. At least not for my own sake. I can only vaguely remember the last time someone other than a friend or family member (or myself) have cut my hair. That’s a distant, foggy memory and I can’t seem to even recall if it was me getting the haircut or if it was someone else and I was simply tagging along.

Perhaps I’ll get brave enough while I’m here to try something new but I doubt it since my hair is just starting to be a decent length and I have no one to back me up besides Andrew, who tells me I look nice even when I know I don’t—it’s sweet, but kind of lessens his credibility. Plus, he wears socks and shorts, so there’s that.

The only person who has ever been able to get me to do anything wild and crazy with my appearance is my sister Abra. I have always trusted her fashion sense and she has this remarkable ability to transform me from drabby to glamourous in 5 minutes flat.

I just don’t have those skills.

Trust me.

Or just ask Andrew—he gets all compliment-happy when I put my hair in a half-ponytail. And if you don’t want to believe him since I recently discredited his fashion sense, there’s this: I don’t own a blowdryer. I got one for my birthday when I was thirteen but I think its use was limited to treating swimmer’s ear and drying off the cats after their baths.

After being attacked by Winter (one of my (sister’s) cats) too many times it blew up. It has never been replaced.

I still have the curling iron that came with the blow dryer. It’s somewhere, not here, and I think I’ve only used it a handful of times in the twelve years I’ve owned it. Also, I still have the hairbrush that came with the set. It’s here and I use it often.

Anyway, Abra was the one who helped me talk myself into highlighting my hair for the first (and only) time. I remember severely not liking it, probably only due to the fact that I’m terrified of changing my hair, probably because I’m terrified of learning to maintain my hair, which I am already no good at.

Abra has always been my hairdresser, starting from when I was really young. I remember crying over her pulling my ponytails too tight and she would tell me that “pain is beauty,” or something along those lines. And I always, always trusted that she knew best even when, perhaps, I shouldn’t have.

One year she got a hair bead slider, probably for Christmas, probably from Auntie Arlene. It’s basically a gigantic needle threader for hair—you put the beads on the threader, pull a section of hair through a loop at the end, slide the beads onto the hair, and presto! Beaded hair was never easier.

Some pony beads came with the threader—they were blue and white and kind of frosted and so cool!

Abra easily convinced me that I should let her bead my hair. She chose a section of hair, two inches or so away from my forehead, and in a matter of minutes it was striped blue and white from top to bottom, the whole length.

It took a little getting used to, but soon I was a pro at remembering to move it out of the way when I brushed my hair and everything. I was hot stuff.

Little did I know, having that many beads pulling on my hair for so long was taking a toll on my scalp. Slowly, but surely, my roots were giving way.

We headed to my grandparents’ house for the weekend, as we often did—usually only for a full day on a Saturday or on a Sunday after church; occasionally we’d stay overnight and go to church with my grandparents—and I was enjoying a game of ping pong in the basement with someone, either one of my siblings or one of the Torrie cousins. Rather, I was likely enjoying rallying the ball back and forth with someone since my table tennis skills are sub-par and I couldn’t play an actual game to save my soul (then or now).

On a particularly spectacular leap-spin-reversal-twiddle-lob-smash combo that I had practiced really hard at (or not), I was shocked to hear the sound of something smattering against the autumn forest muraled wall next to the ping pong table. Worried that I had broken something…

…Confession: once I played ping pong with a big, yellow plastic t-ball ball and broke the light bulb above the ping pong table and then hid the ball in the under-the-stairs playhouse. I will not name my accomplice. Sorry, Grandma…

…I searched around for whatever it was that had broken. Blue and white beads were scattered across the room, stuck at odd angles on the horrible shag carpet (that my grandma brushed with a hairbrush on a regular basis, no joke). It took me a minute to realize that the beads had come from me. I was a little saddened that my super-trendy-cool hairstyle had met an untimely demise, and set about collecting the beads so that I could return them to my sister.

As I sifted my way through the high-pile carpet, trying to find every last bead, I came across a hideous-looking hairy thing. At first I thought it was a rat’s tail. Disgusted, I picked it up to examine it.

It was my hair—a plastic elastic still held it together in a neat clump.

I dropped it and ran screaming to the bathroom to examine my scalp. Sure enough, there was a little bald spot where my strand of beads had once been. I was mortified.

Needless to say, that ended my ventures in hair beads.

And did you know that the rubber on ping pong paddles is called “pimpled rubber?” Here I thought I was the only one who couldn’t get over pubescent acne.


  1. Well dang. I was hoping for pictures. However, it did answer a question I was meaning to ask, whether or not I need to pack a blowdryer. :)

  2. I wanted a picture, too. But wow, I never would have thought that could happen!

  3. I'm a sucker for any story that involves ping pong. It's actually more common to call that kind of rubber "pips-out." I have to admit, though, that I'm more of an pips-in player myself.

  4. Poor Andrew..(for his lack of fashion sense). Poor Grandma...(for her icky carpet and broken light). Poor you...(for a sister who taught you that pain is beauty. My sister's phrase was "it hurts to be beautiful".)

  5. For those of you wishing for pictures: Imagine my hair as is, only with a strand of beads in it. There you go. Sadly this story was taken before the use of digital cameras was widespread. Also even if I did have a picture of it, I wouldn't have it with me here so you'd be out of luck, anyway. Sorry.

    @ Spencer: Now I will know what side you likely hit the ball with and your twiddling won't fool me. So apparently I'd be able to better determine how the ball will land on my side of the table and be able to beat you. But probably it won't help me at all to know that about you. I'm more of a desperately hit the ball with any part of the paddle kind of person.

    And in Andrew's defense, here is a conversation we had last night:

    Andrew: You need to change that part about shorts and socks to past tense. And they're not fake compliments.

    Me: I know they're real compliments, but you still wear socks with shorts.

    Andrew: No, I don't!

    Me: glances at Andrew's legs

    Andrew: Okay, but this is practical! It's so the mosquitoes don't eat me! And you wore beads in your where's your fashion sense?

    Me: It was the nineties. Beads were cool. I had a fashion expert telling me so. You wore shorts with socks and sandals in high school. That? was never cool.

    Andrew: So.

    Me: So.

    Power goes out.

    Both: Whatever, let's go to bed.