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hair whoreMy sister calls me the Hair Whore. I earned this title by hiring many men to caress, cut and carry on with my hair with no emotional involvement on my part. Of course, some stylists do capture my heart for brief periods of time, but I seem incapable of forming a long-term commitment no matter how fabulous I might look exiting their salon. It’s not that I am cold, I have even written a “Dear John “ letter to one man, but the truth is I never give them more than a few chances to create the perfect halo for my face.

I wasn’t always this fickle. There was a time when my head belonged exclusively to Patrick. A flaming red head from Ireland who escorted me from pre-pubescent Farrah Fawcett wings to a Dorothy Hammel bob and back to semi–tamed curls. Patrick had vision. He could see frizz as silk and dead ends as fringe. Sadly, as good as he was he still offered only fleeting reprieves to the war I raged with my curls.

I was ten years old when my mother took my sister and me into the back bedroom over the garage and ironed our hair. I kneeled in front of the ironing board and leaned my head back so she could hoist my hair up onto the flat of the board. First the towel was lowered and then the hot metal machine forced my wiry mane into submission. The result exquisite. From the back my sister and I could have been Chinese instead of the wavy-haired Jews we really were. Shiny shanks of hair fell nearly to our waist and with a proper flick a wave of brown silk rolled over our shoulders. There was a catch however; one drop of rain, one waft of mist and renegade curls took over our head.

Although the iron failed the “I wish I had straight” lament went on. Blow dryers, soup can rollers, gravity defying wraps that stretched hair from the back of my head to the front worked…albeit briefly.

By the time I reached college I decided to go natural. I left my dreams of “field hockey hair” that being straight blonde, tied back with a grosgrain ribbon that swayed from side to side as I ran down the field, back in high school. I wore long skirts, wrote poetry and let thick curls do their own thing. My mother was aghast. I was more Medusa than pre-Raphaelite. Some men loved the look and luxuriated in my mane but when a boyfriend marveled at my “Jewish hair” it no longer seemed sexy. I begged my roommate to iron my hair; she declined so I did the only sensible thing.

I went to New York’s Bumble and Bumble salon, sat in Duane’s chair and said,” Take me, I’m yours.”

I guess this is where the whoring began. Duane gave me a truly terrifying haircut. I looked like Martha Washington and even more unsettling was that soon after Duane’s shears created this new look I had to sit for my senior photo. Now, unrecognizable coed stares back from the space above my name in my yearbook for all eternity.

It is said, that hope springs eternal and so I continue to seek out new stylists always believing in their potential. In the last few years Ken, Chris, Shimon, James and Brad have coifed me. Their scissors have slid toward my nape and sculpted some truly interesting looks. I have been hennaed, dyed blonde and streaked burgundy. I have been bobbed, layered and even “Friended” (the style was much better suited to Jennifer Aniston). My husband says that no two photos show me in the same “do” and even I can’t remember liking a style enough to repeat it. Changing my hair has become a sick habit I can’t kick. Recently after spending two hundred dollars to correct a color mistake that had cost me three hundred, I walked outside into a rainstorm and felt my blow-dry curl into oblivion. Like a user on the skids, I sat in a vestibule longing for more…more heat, more straightening goop, more spray and more time with Salvatore to redo my do! As I wandered through the streets of Boston, mascara dripping down my face, hair plastered to my forehead I realized that I had to change my ways. Somewhere between Salvatore and the local barbershop was the man (or woman) for me who would help me accept my curls and be a friend to my frizz. Needless to say, I have already booked an appointment with Dave or is it Emillle?

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