Everyone rebels in their own way. My particular teenage rebellion began as most do, with a dare. Not any dare, but a double-dog dare, and not a double-dog dare from delinquent peers, rather a double-dog dare from an adored sister and a rascally mother.
At the time of the dare I had waist-length blonde hair. I was leaving to spend a month in France and as we said our good-byes, the dare was dared: “We double-dog dare you to cut your hair off when you are in France.”
The dare coincided with another event: Prince Charles and Diana’s wedding. It was inevitable.
The handsome Frenchman oolala’ed over my hair as he washed it, “But how could you cut such hair? A trim, yes, but cut it off…?”
The dare burned. “Cut it off.” I commanded.
I walked out of the shop with my foot-long ponytail in a bag and my hair looking like the Princess Diana’s. It was bad, but not as bad as my friends’ reactions when I got back to high school.
“You are so different!”
“Your hair! You’re not you anymore!””
I was angry. I was more than long hair. I went to see my friend Jessica, who had carefully trimmed an inch off the ends for the last year.
“Let’s perm it.” I said. I even had a picture; some model with curls shaped like a beret tilted saucily over one side of her head. My friend loved a challenge, “Let’s do it!”
I looked like a poorly groomed poodle – not my friend’s fault. No, it was my face and my hair being forced to curl when all it wanted to do was to hang straight. Imagine an Afghan hound with curly hair.
My friends couldn’t look me in the eye.
I went back to Jessica.
“Let’s show them! Let’s dye it, just the front part…how about pink?”
“How about pink with a purple underneath? I just learned how to do that!”
“Go for it,” was my grim reply. It was the 80’s.
I knew it was bad, but I didn’t realize how terribly dreadful it was until, decades later, I ran into a high school friend and he introduced me to his wife and the second sentence after the introduction was an explosive laugh that he tried to pull back in as he said “Thank goodness your hair is straight again…it was…” Then the poor man, now a grown-up, and a respected one, too, could not help himself. The giggles continued off and on during our conversation, his mental index finger pulled by magnetic memory to where my curls saucily sat on my forehead.