My Bad-Hair Life

Confessions of a woman for whom curling irons, styling gels and $50 thickeners proved no help

by Sandy Hingston
dog in wig image
Photograph: Photo: Dancingshiba/Getty Images

My daughter, I regret to say, inherited my hair (and my styling skills). Oh, my son’s is thick and shiny and black, like my husband’s; my daughter’s is...thin and an indeterminate brown. I’ve sympathized with her efforts to defy her destiny for every special occasion of the past 24 years: the chorus solo in sixth grade, the ninth-grade dance, the nightmare that was junior prom. No amount of gel or hairspray made a difference. By senior prom, she’d surrendered. While her peers went to salons to be primped and fussed over and have their hair swept into elaborate (if stiff) updos, she didn’t bother—she just wore it straight and down.

I recently discovered, though, that she’s not as resigned as I’d thought. A while back, she moved in with a man from Kenya. He crops his hair, but even so, you can see that it’s wiry and bursting with curl. I tried to talk with my daughter about the difficulties she might face if the relationship became long-term—two different cultures, two different races, such diverse experiences of the world. She shook her head impatiently, eyes aglow. “But Mom,” she said, “think what this could mean for my kids’ hair.” 

SANDY HINGSTON is a senior editor at Philadelphia magazine.

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First published in the October 2013 issue

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