Saturday, February 2, 2013

My Big Bangs Theory

Las Cruces Style — S. Derrickson Moore By S. Derrickson Moore LAS CRUCES — While watching the presidential Inaugural ceremonies on my day off, I was struck by the diversity of the presentations and participants — and the strange obsession of many commentators. With a new Congress, and a rather fiery and controversial address by President Obama, what may well have generated the most comment was ... First Lady Michelle Obama’s new bangs. Those of Baby Boomers and older vintage will recall that there were other famous First Lady bangs: Mamie Eisenhower’s. I was just a tiny tot them, but I can remember that my parents really liked Ike, and my mom seemed determined to pay homage to the First Lady’s bangs through her daughters’ ’do’s, as she called them. Mamie’s bangs were short and curly, and ideal for my sister Sally’s short, naturally curly hair. To attempt a similar affect with my long, straight locks, usually in pigtails or a pony tail … well, my sibs remember my plaintive wails throughout my elementary school years: “Mom! You cut my bangs too short!” Like most Boomers, I grew up with several controversial idols with bangs: Elizabeth Taylor in her scandalous Cleopatra years, for instance. In the ’60s, the Beatles and assorted other Mop Top rock idols like Sonny and Cher made long, straight and shaggy both a political and fashion statement. When celebrity hairdresser Vidal Sassoon reached iconic status, my long, straight bangs were finally in, and I was the envy of all my curly-haired friends who resorted to ironing their locks. Mom tried to be happy for me, but I know, to her dying day, that she still regretted that I hadn’t been blessed with naturally curly Mamie-length bangs, nor the will and desire to endure what it took to achieve them by superhuman means. I’m not sure guys will never understand our big bangs theories and dilemmas, though they will take notice, and seem to admire those of us with bangs and compliment us when we adopt them. There are a lot of issues. The whole thing kind of reminds me of the old saying about the two happiest days in a boat owner’s life: the day of purchase and the day of sale. Bangs are like that, too. Most women and girls have experienced the miraculous power of bangs to transform and spice up your appearance. It’s an ageless phenomenon: adolescents can feel at once glam and secure, with a wave of hair to help hide everything from shyness to complexion issues. As you get older, bangs can conceal frown lines and help make graying hair look frosted and chic. But then there’s maintenance. You might be lucky enough to find the genius hairdresser of your dreams, but it is a law of the hirsute universe that bangs grow faster than any other part of your hairdo. Most of us try to get more bangs for our bucks and at least attempt to learn trimming skills ourselves, an avocation that can lead to online research, professional scissors, and, in emergencies or desperation, wild, manicure-scissored freakouts before big dates or job interviews. And just as familiar as the ecstasy of brand new glam bangs is the darker side of the process: the agony of trying to grow them out. In our teen years, we haunt slick magazines and online fashion sites that promise to ease the process with headbands, interim hairdos, wigs, scarves, or cute barrettes. Older hands might try perms or curling irons. (Is this the way our world ends: not with bangs, but a crimper?) And we all know that none of those things are really effective. It’s one of those things that can only be healed by time — or a haircut, reinstating the bangs. But don’t try to assign political goals or motives: they’re a daring, very individual commitment contemplated daily in mirrors, where the merits of bangs are in the eyes of the beholders. Especially when we’re late for a trim. S. Derrickson Moore can be reached at 575-541-5450. Follow her on Twitter @DerricksonMoore.

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