Braids: a random babble

Sunday January 29, 2006 @ 01:08 PM (UTC)

One of my mission statements back when I started this crazy thing was to remind my distant friends to be glad that I’m all the way across the country from them. Today I thought I’d pursue that mission statement with a very random series of thoughts.

I know I’m not the only girl in the world who is so addicted to changing her hair that she wishes she could just press a button and have an entirely new hairstyle every single morning. One of the most frustrating parts about the syndrome is missing your long hair when your hair is short — and for me, at least, the big thing I miss is braids. I don’t miss brushing it out or conditioning it or my mom complaining about the long hairs clogging up the vacuum (let me tell you, it’s hard to argue with the blame assignment when everyone else has a maximum of five inches on top.)

I miss braids. Little braids swinging in amongst the rest of the mane, big heavy braids to mess with while you’re thinking, twin braids to make you feel six years old and full of mischief. Even now, with that lovely ‘new hairstyle’ feeling in my tousled head, I can’t watch Xena without noticing braids on either the W.P. or the annoying blonde and feeling just a bit wistful.

And of course, the cream of the crop, French braids. I remember when French braiding was a coveted commodity. A few moms, mostly moms with gigantic broods of girls, could French braid, and the rest of us would peer covetously at their daughters’ beautifully woven tresses. As you got older, some girls learned, and you might come home from a slumber party with a gorgeous, slightly aching braid; or a disappointing, lopsided one1. At some point, my father studied a picture and reverse-engineered the French braid. Then, for special occasions, I could sit down in a kitchen chair under good light and have my hair operated on. He used two combs and a rattail, and your hair was taut as a drum when he was done. It took hours, but you could sleep on those babies for days and they’d still look pretty keen.

Then, of course, I finally taught myself — years after my first frustrating attempts on the rebellious hair-substitute of Samantha Parkington — spurred on by the reflection that a French braid was as close as a time-starved college girl on a Halloween budget was going to get to Carrie Fisher’s hair in the Hutt Leia costume. (It may have been improvised and ragtag, but that was one of the best Halloween costumes I’ve ever had…and to those three or four people who didn’t know who I was? When you die and Yoda’s Force ghost says ”’Hated all that nerd stuff’ did you?”, I’ll be the high soprano singing ‘Another One Bites the Dust’ from behind the Pearly Airlock. Or, if I’m not dead yet, I’m sure some other geek will be there for me — but I don’t know the pitch of his or her voice, sorry2.) The only problem with French braids is that, when you’re in your twenties, you can’t wear them to work or people talk all day about how you look like you’re fifteen. Or maybe that’s just me.

What’s the point? Was there one? Well, I guess it was just to say: if you have long hair, appreciate the simple joy of braiding, of shaping, creating, and controlling that often rebellious medium. Because for every one of you loving your braids, there’s a gal (or guy) with a short haircut, however stylish, who’s thinking wistfully of those long, smooth plaits of yesteryear.

1 Unless you went to a slumber party with a certain flower-named friend of mine. Then your hair would neither ache NOR disappoint. She could even make two French braids that TURNED INTO one French braid. MAGIC.

2 I don’t hate non-geeks. I’ve just never trusted them, and I never will. I can never forgive them for the death of Captain Kirk’s son.


Yes, her hair was always lovely. It seemed to always be done beautifully, yet have just enough wisps to make it look like she didn’t try too hard. I miss that flower friend. What is she up to?

She is getting an advanced degree in organ performance, after getting bachelorseseseses in Math and in Organ Performance. I talked to her on the felly tone yesterday :)

There are some places in this country, just West of center that I doubt braids will ever go out of style, because people are too busy thinking they are in the Wild West to be concerned with style. You could always move there :) Or braid your hair because you can, and if anyone questions your age just stick your toung out at them.

Or I could just never have a conventional job EVER AGAIN…hmm, I still haven’t blogged about that.

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