Bang Advice

1

I don’t remember her name. But she always wore bangs, that I remember. She wore bangs when not many fashion conscious women dared even consider it. Her haircut wasn’t always the same, neither was her hair colour, but she always wore bangs… and she looked great. Looking impeccable at any moment seemed like an effortless endeavour for her, like it was an extension of her being. From all my mother’s friends, I liked her best. Beautiful, elegant and graceful, she had an extraordinary ability to combine elements and come up with the outfits that suited her perfectly. Unlike some of their friends, she was never ostentatious, she knew exactly how to discretely emphasize her features in order to look attractive without being vulgar or tacky.

But it was her bangs I was particularly interested in that summer, and I had a good reason for it. After all, I wanted to get bangs as well, yet I wasn’t allowed to. If I wanted to be pretty, I couldn’t have bangs covering my forehead or strands of hair getting into my eyes for that matter; besides, all I had to do was look around and see that no pretty girl wore bangs, I was told. I rolled my eyes, but my grandmother had deemed the conversation over.

I loved spending time with my mother’s friends. They were an endless source of interesting information and great gossip and they never filtered their conversation when I was there. I felt like one of the girls, not just a child, and being with those wonderfully independent, outspoken women was so much fun. They were nothing like my friends’ old-fashioned, boring mothers, even if some of them did have children. So in a moment of relative silence, while coffee cups were being refilled, I walked up to her and asked her, how come she always wore bangs? In my mind, I was going to put a flattering spin on my curiosity, but before I knew it, I had just blurted out my out of context question.

She stopped smiling. She stopped looking at me as though I were some adorable doll, the way she usually looked at me. All of the sudden, she was serious and I was her equal, I felt, as her eyes were staring into mine while speaking. She never wore too much makeup, I couldn’t help thinking, and her face was always fresh and natural.

“You make your own style. You don’t let fashion or people dictate how you’re supposed to look, do you understand me? You adapt fashion to your needs, to your personality, not the other way around. You…”

“Don’t depress the girl,” the one who was always the loudest and the most direct of them interrupted, giving her a friendly nudge. “She just always wears bangs, it’s her thing,” she winked at me. “Just like my thing is being a bitch,” she continued, noticing her friend’s sad, lost gaze. She caressed her hair and handed her a fresh cup of coffee.

Years later I would think of her when seeing the Samantha character in Sex and the City.

Somebody dispersed the tension by announcing she had a new lover. Everybody lit up cigarettes, sipped their coffee and loudly asked for details. I kept mulling over the serious style advice I had just received. Sure, my mother had told me the same thing, but it never hurts getting a second opinion… after all, mothers weren’t the most reliable source, were they?

On the way home, I was told the full story – I was old enough to understand and I had to know I hadn’t done anything wrong. Besides, my mother thoroughly enjoyed to have me as a gossip partner, since I could be trusted not to tell anything to my grandmother. Her friend’s haircut wasn’t a fashion statement, it was necessity. She had adapted her hair style to suit her needs after having been in an accident which had left more than emotional scars. There was also a very real, visible, long scar on her forehead, one she hid well with skilful makeup and by wearing bangs. She was self-conscious and didn’t like to be reminded of the trauma she had suffered, yet it was unavoidable, the scar taunting her from the mirror every day. I regretted having voiced my curiosity… or perhaps I didn’t really, since it had gotten me answers. Nobody was perfect, yet one could still be remarkable.

A few days later, while my grandmother was taking her afternoon nap, I was taking a pair of scissors to a chunk of my hair (what girl hasn’t done that at least once?). I contemplated the result with great satisfaction, even though I wasn’t yet sure it looked good.

As a result of my actions, I was rushed to the hairdresser’s. My grandmother couldn’t contain her outrage, while my mother couldn’t contain her amusement. I had been overly enthusiastic with the scissors and had cut a bit too much, so my amazing new bangs were too short and I looked slightly ridiculous. The hairdresser did her best to fix what she could; after that, all it took was patience over the following weeks, until my hair grew… and surprise, surprise, I discovered that I could still be pretty, even with bangs. Besides, what mattered most was that I liked my look, that I was happy with it. I was taking steps in the right direction and she had been right, I realized.

In response to WordPress Weekly Discover Challenge – A Piece of Advice.

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20 thoughts on “Bang Advice

  1. Hey Ana – at first I thought maybe the lady friend was wearing a wig – maybe cancer related / and to then read of the scar and accident – I was like – ahhhhh
    And hair is so interesting to write about and think about – and it says “so much about” us in some ways – and nothing in other ways –
    I look back at my bang days – and whew / glad to not have them –
    For a while I kept seeing Joan rivers’ daughter with her long bangs (and her Sandra bullock look a like surgery maybe) and I kept asking if bangs were now in- this was when Joan rivers died and it was all on the news –
    Not that I follow trends – especially not with hair —-I do my own thing which usually means no bangs – ha!
    Anyhow – laughing at your scissor time – and yes – we have all done this – and um- some of us have even played hairdresser with younger siblings – hah!
    Xxoo

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved reading this. The answer that the lady had given you was wonderful. I bet you’re glad that you tried life with bangs, it probably gave you and her a little confidence at the time. Here we call it a fringe and i have had one for years, cannot imagine life without it now. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • I normally call it fringe as well, but I thought “bangs” had a slightly funny ring to it, lightening the mood a bit on this occasion. Yes, I was really pleased with myself for trying it – then and several other times later on (I actually like the look 😉 ). There was a really nice sense of freedom about it that very first time I tried it 🙂 . I’m glad you enjoyed reading the story and I’m sorry it took so long to get back to you.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Enjoyed this a lot! Well…..thinking of your haircutting experience, at least your mom didn’t have a family photo scheduled! 🙂 LOL — that happened to us — except instead of cutting hair, they drew on each others’ faces with a magic marker!

    Liked by 2 people

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