Monday, October 10, 2005

Big Hair in Cowtown

For all it's other renowned and contrary traits, Texas is home of the "Big Hair" gals; beauty pageant queens deluxe.

Yup, I guess we are known 'round the world for having gloriously bigger-than-life tresses. I think this trend probably got started in the 60's when Lady Bird was First Mama, and "back-combing" (read "ratting") was just the thing to give you nice poufy, helmet hair. Then, there was the cutesy flip. I could never figure out why girls would make this big mound of matted-then-slightly-smoothed hair and clip in a tiny velvet bow on the side or just above the bangs like a poodle just out of the grooming parlor. I guess it gave perspective to this architecturally designed coif. Surfer chicks like Annette Funicello or Deborah Walley wore these do's, even though they didn't hail from Texas.

But something happened in the late 1960's to Texas gals' big hair. Suddenly, the groovy thing was to have fresh, natural hair, including legs and armpits. Pouf was out, long stringy locks were in. Clairol Herbal Essence made us all believe we needed to smell like a woodsy forest and patchouli instead of hairspray and Dippity-Doo. We had to get down to earth. For some reason, I always think of Joan Baez or Cher as the prototype for this era of hairstyle. I had baby-fine blonde hair as a teenager (still is blonde with a little help from the beauty parlor to chase the VERY few wisps of gray away), and it was just plain homely laying there all flat against my head. My Mama had a vendetta against "hippie" hair and mine would have won the blue ribbon at the county fair for straightness. When I was little, she would insist on at least twice a year perms, but instead of the lovely curly locks pictured on the box, I got frizzed, fried, duck fuzz. And why is it, you gotta wait a whole week to wash your hair after perming it? Walk around smelling like a toxic chemical plant in Oklahoma. Always had this vaguely skunk-like stink to it when you sweated for at least three months after this tortuous beauty treatment. I digress.

Permed Pattie

Then, a Corpus Christi girl put Texas hair back on top. One name says it all, Farrah. Suddenly, blonde "wings" were all the rage, and Aquanet shareholders were estatic and singing "We're in the money".

Thanks to television, Texas hair was on its way to salvation. After Charlie's Angels, "Dallas" hit the bigtime, with bigger than life characters, and of course, with bigger hair than ever.

Occasionally in my office building, I see a woman I call "Barbie's Grandmother" prancing across the skywalk bridge. This lady has got to be in her late 60's, but even so, her big platinum teased hair can still grab men's eyes. I catch 'em watching her pass by. In the elevators, they take quick little sneaks at The Hair, and I would love to be privy to their testosterone thoughts. Doesn't hurt that she has a figure any 20 year-old would die for (hell, any of us would die for). Her hair probably accounts for 40% of her total body weight, and her fingernails for at least 20% more. I swear she must be the last living paying customer of Loni Anderson's hair stylist. I think I will nominate her as the Patron Saint of Texas Big Hair. At the very least, she deserves to be on the new Texas quarters instead of the boring state outline with a star. Now, that would be a coin to brag about.

Big-haired Texas gals, I am proud to be in this Sisterhood.