For the past year or so, Alex has been begging me to straighten her hair.
Now, I love Alex's curls. I love her curls with a white-hot passion. So to be honest, every time she asked I've come up with every excuse I can explaining why straightening her hair wasn't a good idea. "But your curls are awesome," I would whine. "They're so ... exciting!" And she'd stare at me with exasperation.
Finally, about a month ago, I decided that for her birthday, I would give in. I was being clever, you see: I figured that (a) it would allow her to finally get the straight hair she so desired, and (b) hopefully, once she saw how long and involved the process would be to straighten All Of That Hair (particularly since there was no way I was going to let any chemical come anywhere near her head), she would think twice about ever doing it again. Besides, given that the last time I'd had Alex's hair trimmed was ... well, never, I figured it couldn't hurt to have her get her curls straightened for the purposes of giving her a haircut. And so, I called my trusted stylist, Bernie, and made an appointment for her birthday.
This afternoon, we arrived at the salon, and Bernie greeted us with her trademark smile and a huge hug. And after consulting with Alex about her style preferences, she got to work.
I was a little worried when Alex got her hair shampooed. She couldn't stop smiling. "It's like a spa!" she said.
I have no idea how she knows what a spa is like, but this was exactly the opposite reaction I was hoping for. My heart sank.
Then Bernie started putting curlers in her hair.
Alex was skeptical.
Although I have to say that seeing her in all those curlers made me giggle. She was like an old lady trapped in a 7-year-old body.
Then Bernie put her under the dryer.
At first, she didn't mind it -- she played with SpinArt on my iPhone. But after about 20 minutes of that, then practicing her spelling words, then looking through a magazine, with the hood getting warmer and her cheeks getting more flushed, she was starting to get over the salon.
"Beauty is hard," she said.
Nice, I thought. My plan is working. There's no way she's going to want to go through this again.
And then, just as I was reaching around to pat myself on the back, Bernie appeared with her magic wand.
With a flourish, in 20 minutes, this:
Alex was beside herself.
Bernie finished up with a quick trim -- she cut off about an inch of Alex's hair, but it was still to the middle of her back. It was right about this moment when Alex decided that Bernie was officially her fairy godmother, and my hopes that I would never again be bothered about straightening her hair were dashed forever.
Still, I have to admit that I do love her new look, and for a one-off special day, I can't protest too much. While there's no way this is going to become a habit, I suspect that this will become a yearly tradition on her birthday, and heck, she'll probably need a trim by then anyway.
Besides, one drop of water, and those curls are going to come right back.
And in this humid city? Their return will likely be sooner, rather than later.
I predict around noon tomorrow.
Images: Photographed with my Nikon D300, 50mm lens. aperture 1.4, shutter speed 1/100, ISO 640
Song: The only one which is really coming to mind is Whip My Hair by Willow Smith, but to be honest, that song is such an annoying earworm, you should just trust me that it's a good thing I'm not linking to it.