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It’s troubled me since I was a child. I’ve always envied lovely, beautiful, trouble-free hair beginning with my mom’s fight with my hair every morning before kindergarten as she vigorously brushed through my “rat’s nest” (her words), to my youthful longing to have Marcia Brady hair, followed by the desire for Dorothy Hamill hair to the coveting of the crème de la crème of all hair–Farrah Fawcett.

Growing up, no one had dark curly hair unless they were on Soul Train.

Still to this day, my hair troubles me. So, last week I chopped off my hair. I went from this:

To this:

I got lots of interesting reactions from the change. Most people exclaimed, “I love it!” Then there were those who said, “Don’t take this wrong, but it’s really slimming.” I’m okay with that, I think. (Wait, are you calling me fat?) It’s better than the opposite, I suppose. The most interesting reaction was when someone came into my office, closed the door and said in a delicate, quiet voice, “Your hair looks great. Is everything okay?”

I laughed and assured her, “Oh for Pete’s sake. No. I’m not going through a divorce,” because that’s what brooding, downtrodden women do when breaking up. I continued, “Steve and I are still madly in love, though he’s out of town and hasn’t seen this yet.”

(I imagined this for the husband airport pickup: Stand next to all the limo drivers who hold signs for their passengers and I’d have my own sign with “Don’t worry sweetie, it will grow back.“)

So, as I was looking through my iPhoto catalogue I noticed that I’d been through a lot of different hairstyles over the years and felt some were deserving of awards. Here I present the Most Outstanding Achievement in Hair Over Four Decades awards (cue drum roll):

Best Pat Nixon Look at Age 3
What a perfectly coiffed three-year-old!
Most Outstanding Skin Smoothing Technique
In order to make sure that my hair stayed in place all day, my mom put me in ponytails that were so tight, I would never have to face a Botox treatment later in life.

The Best Achievement in Layers
Layering the hair certainly helped with the rat’s nest issue,
but it mostly just helped me achieve frizzy hair faster.
(Sorry about the tiny photo. This was my Senior photo from my high school yearbook.)
The “Why Am I Not Dating? Award” goes to…
Just days before I went away to college I chopped off my hair. Bad call.
This hair explains why I didn’t date at all my Freshman year.
That and the unfortunate argyle sweater I’m wearing in this photo.

Best Big Hair Ev-uh!
Thank goodness for big hair girl bands. (Heart! You girls are my heroes!) And shoulder pads. Frankly, the whole 80s! And guess what, I didn’t have to tease my hair to get it to be big and poofy. It just did it all by itself. I went from growing up envying others to having girls envy me! This photo is from my Senior year in college.
As you can see, I let it grow out since my Freshman year.

Best Use of a Barrette Award
The barrette became my best friend. I pretty much had this same hairstyle during all of my 20s, once I moved to California. It was easy peasy to take care of.
Shampoo, run gobs of product through hair with fingers, put in barrette and
go out the door. I didn’t even own a hair dryer.
(And no, going outside with wet hair does not give you a cold.)
Most Likely To Succeed Award
This is my “professional” ‘do that I started sporting once I decided to get serious about my career in my 30s. This photo is a little deceptive. It looks a little bit coiffed, but it’s not. I still maintained my same ritual as above–shampoo, run fingers through with product
and out the door. Still no hair dryer needed.

Best Achievement in Luring a Man
This is me in Scotland. I had just met the man who would two years later be my husband. If ever there was a time that I needed the best hair on the planet this was the time and it certainly delivered. Look at how perfectly those curls rest on my head!
Oh shame to have scorned them when I was younger.
Steve (the man) kept referring to them as springs. (sigh)

Your Hair Is Taking Over the Planet award
This, my friends, is my biggest nightmare.
After I met Steve, we dated long distance for two years, visiting each other in five different countries during that time. This was in Calgary, AB the day after a big snow storm. But the day was warm and the snow melted/evaporated so quickly the humidity in the air created this crazy mess. My hair is like a Chia Pet. It gets bigger as the day goes when moisture is added. It’s a wonder Steve still married me after this.

Best Wedding Day Dream Hair
Bless her heart–that Annie at Sieren Salon made my hair look fantastic on my wedding day. I wish this could be my hair every day.
Every girl should have awesome hair on her wedding day.

Extreme Makeover — Hair Edition
I can’t tell you how excited I was when I learned about the Brazilian Blowout. I did this for almost a year and I loved it. Too bad it’s really, really bad for hair stylists. Frankly, it’s not safe. It’s got formaldehyde in it, much to everyone’s chagrin. And the FDA ruled it not safe. But I’m waiting for a product to come out that’s much safer and when it does, I’m there in the chair again!
Here’s a version of the straightened look, but using a curling iron to give me a few sassy waves. Hey! It’s almost like Farrah’s hair!

And that, my friends, is Lisa’s hair over the years.