It occurred to me the other day that I have often gotten what I've wanted in life.
Oh - not EVERYTHING. Just some key things that, at the time, seemed impossible (like living on an island - and moving to the east coast) yet ended up happening anyway - just not always when I wanted them.
An example: when I was about 5 years old, I was a Shirley Temple fan. A BIG Shirley Temple fan. And I wanted curly hair like hers, but my hair was long and thick with only a slight wave to it.
My sister, Cindy, who - at 3 years old - didn't know Shirley Temple from Shirley Booth, had a head full of natural ringlets. And I hated her for it. And I hated my mother for allowing it.
Mom did her best to appease me by curling my hair with rollers, even pin curls - but within an hour after taking them out, my hair would fall - slightly wavier, but no curls. God bless her, she did try!
Then the 60's arrived - and the "mod" look came in: long, straight hair, parted in the middle.
Now that I was older and well beyond my Shirley Temple ringlet phase and straight hair was in, you would think that there would no longer be an issue. You would be wrong. By this time, puberty had changed my long silky hair into a frizzy nightmare - neither curly nor straight.
And it was imperative that I have straight hair - that was THE look. EVERYONE had long straight hair: Peggy Lipton from the Mod Squad; Ali MacGraw; Cher; Jean Shrimpton (top model from London) Julie Christie; the girls in the Beatles movies - and everyone I went to high school with.
I tried everything: ironing, sleeping on rollers made of orange juice cans, chemical straighteners
and spending hours under the bonnet dryer in my room.
After a night of sleeping with my head 4 inches off the pillow, I would go to school.
First period: PE - and swimming! I remember the straight-haired girls bent in front of the air hand dryers in the bathroom - all of their hair flipped forward as they brushed it vigorously. Then they would stand up straight and their long, straight, silky hair would fall into place like a damn Breck commercial and they would saunter off to class.
But I hadn't gone through hours of drying and lack of sleep only to have to go through the whole day looking like the Bride of Frankenstein. So - to the annoyance of my completely unsympathetic PE teachers, I refused to swim - and got very good at running track.
Later, when blow dryers came out, I tried blow-drying with round brushes, with flat brushes. It worked - sort of. Unless it was humid or it rained - and then it was back to square one.
Fast forward 30 years. I'm in my 50's now and no longer obsessed with my hair. It is what it is - and what it is - to my utter shock - is CURLY. I mean RINGLET curly!
What the hell???
I wake up in the morning with a head full of curls - natural ringlets. They're adorable - except for the fact that they're GRAY.
And my sister - she of the cloud of ringlets I so coveted? Her hair is now STRAIGHT!
I'm not making this up. I got what I wanted - just 47 years late.
Now I live in Virginia - a place where you can step outside at 1 am and your glasses can literally fog up with the humidity - and wreak havoc with your hairstyle.
Except mine. I have naturally curly hair!