Elizabeth Willis Barrett……….July 2017
I was in a church kitchen the other day, again washing dishes with the other OMAs. We call ourselves Old Married Adults—OMAs— to distinguish us from the YSAs—Young Single Adults, whom we are serving. Some take umbrage at the moniker. They don’t see why “old” has to be thrown in our title. Maybe we should be called “AMAs” for Awesome Married Adults. That would work. It’s just that old is opposite of young and married is opposite of single. We can’t be called “the adults” versus “the kids.” Some of them are more “adult” than we are.
Anyway, I was in the kitchen and one of the large plastic see-through salad bowls was on the counter. One of the YSAs made the comment that it looked like an old-fashioned hair dryer—there’s that word “old” again—and it made me think of the many ways hair care has changed in my lifetime. My long life time.
When I was little, Mom would wash my hair in the upstairs bathroom sink. I don’t know what brand of shampoo she used, but she rinsed it with vinegar water. Vinegar is good for getting out all the soap. Then she would roll my hair up in socks. Yep, socks. I didn’t remember quite how she did it so I went to my go-to place of learning—YouTube. There are several tutorials on how to curl your hair with socks. It turns out great. If I were really brave I might go for a curly style and do it with socks. Maybe I’ll try it on my granddaughters first.
I used lots of other rollers through the years: sponge ones which were easy to sleep on; plastic ones that weren’t; orange juice cans for more volume which meant you had to sleep on your face. It was later that I started using a bonnet style hair dryer which eliminated the need for awkward roller sleeping.
One of my roommates at college had an antique curling iron that she would heat on the stove and then curl her hair with it. That was waaaaaaay after they had been invented but way before electric curling irons came out for the masses. Sometimes if I was at work at the university’s Listening Library and had a date that night, I’d call one of my roommates to quick plug in my hot rollers so they’d be ready when I got home.
My hair was so fine and limp that I often had a perm. Those didn’t always turn out well, so I was especially glad when everyone started using blow dryers and you could blow volume into your hair while you shaped it. The wedge was probably my very best haircut. Doesn’t someone want to bring that back?
If I had an elephant-sized memory, I would systematically go through the years and give a history of hair care from my vantage point. That was my plan when I started this essay. But I find I can’t do it because I can’t remember. A great memory was not one of the gift lines I stood in before arriving on this planet and my vantage point is very smudged.
So to put it simply, hair care has changed. I’m grateful for the sprays and the gels, the weaves and the cuts, the rollers and the brushes—all designed to prevent bad hair days. And as most know, when your hair looks good, it’s more likely to be a good day—even if you’re an OMA.