I wasn’t allowed to dye my hair growing up. It wasn’t a ‘religion thing’ or a ‘Conservative thing’ or an “afraid of chemicals” thing – my parents just told me that I wasn’t allowed. End of story. My mom said I had “beautiful hair” and dying it would be like “ruining it”.
These kids today walking around with “Mermaid hair” will never know the struggle.
I mean, I get it. My natural hair had “dimension” (I think that’s the word that hair-people use). So many shades of brown – natural highlights, natural LOW-lights – just growing out of my head. And it was healthy! Ugh. SO HEALTHY.
But, you know, I was a teenage girl and thought that dying my hair was the equivalent of a Mia Thermopolis make-over. (Dye hair = look like Princess of Genovia.) But my mom wasn’t having it. “Pick your battles”, they say, and this is the one that she picked.
A lot of parents put their foot down about partying and premarital sex, but my mom has never been like a “regular” mom. She’s a cool mom.
(Also, I didn’t get invited to parties in high school and boys didn’t talk to me. So if she really wanted to put her foot down about something, the hair thing was kind of all she had.)
Oh, but not just any wooden shoes — platform shoes. With a heel. A large, wooden, platform heel.
I KNOW. I blame Lizzie McGuire. Because I was fifteen and saw Hilary Duff wearing them in a Candies ad and thought that if she was wearing them, then I should wear some too. (They must be “in”, right? This is Candies. I’m not over in the old lady section of Kohls- this is the JUNIORS section. EVERYTHING in the Juniors section is cool. I’m practically shopping in Hilary Duff’s closet, I bet she wears these every day.)
So I bought myself some wooden shoes with a platform heel. Whoever said advertising doesn’t work has clearly never met a desperate-for-style fifteen year old girl walking around Kohl’s with her mom.
I learned to drive while growing up in a very small town. Like, the kind of small town Carrie Underwood sings about with back roads, Jesus, and dating the varsity quarterback. We had a “drive your tractor to school” day once a year. We had ONE STOPLIGHT.
Needless to say, we didn’t have a lot of traffic. Because we didn’t have a lot of people.
So when I moved to Chicago last month……. Well, I think you see where I’m going with this. There were a couple of things they must have glossed over back in driving school. Things like:
1) I don’t know how to parallel park. I think they tried to teach this at some point? Maybe there was a video on it? I remember there were orange cones, but I don’t remember having to actually park.. parallel-y. Instead I grew up where we had these things called “parking lots”. And nobody ever held up traffic trying to squeeze their mini-van into a five foot slot next to the sidewalk.
2) The cab drivers play chicken with the pedestrians. And everyone is weirdly okay with it. No one seems worried that their about to die.
3) People honk. A lot. Mostly at me, because I drive like a grandma.
I wouldn’t call myself a nervous flyer, I’m more of a nervous airport go-er. Because airport security has a special way of making me feel like an international terrorist. Not on purpose, it’s not as if they’re eyeing me up and down with a couple of pitch forks. The majority of TSA agents that I’ve met were actually very nice. But they have a job to do, and they take it seriously. Which is a good thing, because if there’s anything that would make me a nervous flyer, it would be some crazy guy on my plane.
But – let’s be real here – if you think I know how to make a bomb out of a bottle of shampoo, you’re giving me too much credit. I write my own fashion blog and keep selfies saved on my phone, I’m not the kind of gal who would dump my salon-brand-argon-oil-no-frizz shampoo down the drain just to start concocting a missile. I’m WAAAY too vain for that.
But TSA figured, you know, better safe than sorry. Who knows? The next world renowned international terrorist could be a twenty-six year old girl from the Midwest traveling with fancy shampoo and wearing a Calvin Klein dress.
Because that was my real mistake. Wearing that dress to the airport. Who wears a dress to the airport? Beyonce?
I’m sure my dad wasn’t the first parent to tell his teenage daughter “no” when she asked him for a pair of ripped-up, faded, holy jeans. “They have holes in them,” he’d say. “Who would pay seventy dollars for a pair of jeans that have holes in them? I can’t even donate jeans like that to Goodwill.”
Dads. They just don’t understand fashion.
I bought my first and only pair of “holy jeans” for the same reason that I bought a velour tracksuit (circa 2003) and a whole bunch of big sunglasses: because Jessica Simpson wore holy jeans and tracksuits and big sunglasses and she was Jessica Simpson. She was married to Nick Lachey. She was in that movie Dukes of Hazzard. She thought tuna might be chicken, which at the time, I thought held a solid argument. The can really does say, “chicken of the sea“.
So when I saw Jessica Simpson wearing jeans with holes in them, I decided that I had to go out and buy some jeans with holes in them. Because Jessica Simpson made them look chic. And effortless. Like she was fashion-y, but she wasn’t trying too hard to be fashion-y. It just happened. She just woke up, threw on whatever was laying around, and BOOM! Instant pin on Pinterest.
Of course Pinterest didn’t exist back then.) So I didn’t know what kind of “holy jeans” to buy. I had to rely on episodes of Newlyweds and the Juniors department at JcPenny to guide me on my style choices. Which is how I ended up with my very own pair of holy jeans – and they didn’t come from my attempt at spending hours with scissors, sand paper and a copy of Seventeen magazine that featured an article about using sand paper and scissors to rip up your jeans. (This was a real article, by the way. I remember, because I asked my dad if he had any sand paper laying around in the garage. #JustGirlyThings)
I don’t know how to French braid. Fishtail braid?
Regardless, I can only do ONE braid. The easy one. The one with three strands of hair and a normal amount of fingers. No YouTube tutorials required.
I don’t know if being a halfwit when it comes to hair is all that uncommon. It seems like when I talk to… well, basically anyone who can French braid their own hair, they seem shocked that I don’t know how do something so simple. Like I’m telling them that I don’t know how to use a comb. “REALLY?” they say, as I explain how my hairstyle skills rival that of a Stay-At-Home Dad’s. “But it’s SO EASY!” they say, and I feel like I must be doing something wrong. I must be making it more complicated than it needs to be. Maybe I’m adding too much hair. Maybe I need more fingers.
The day that I learned the easy, no-frills, nothing-fancy-about-it braid was a big day for me. I think I was ten or eleven. Up until that day, I can remember taking two strands of hair and twisting them around until it resembled… I don’t know, something, a pretzel twist maybe?… and then trying to convince people that it was a braid. But not like, a regular braid. Like a COOL braid.