My junior year of high school, a guy kissed me in the backseat of a car. If that sounds at all romantic, it wasn’t. My best friend at the time was in the passenger seat, and a guy whose identity I can’t recall (probably for the best!) was driving. The guy was cool, and I couldn't quite believe it was happening. When he pulled away, he touched my head sweetly, looked into my eyes, and said...
“You know, you’d be a lot hotter if you straightened your hair.”
When I went through puberty, I didn’t just wake up with a new bra size; I also woke up with curly hair. With my glasses and braces and adult-size nose, the unfortunate frizz made me look like an SNL parody of a teenage girl. I thought cutting it into a bob would help me manage it. I thought wrong.
Eventually, I got rid of the braces and glasses. (The nose: still there.) And I got used to the hair. I started to like the curls, even. They made me different! They gave me character! They allowed me to stop spending two hours every morning with my flatiron.
But when a guy told me I would be hotter with straight hair right after kissing me, I didn't *not* want to die right then and there. I wish I could tell you I never think about it anymore, but I do! Probably too much! Except now I think it's hilarious, and also very telling. If you don't love me at my worst frizziest, you can't love me at my best Keri Russell-est.
This dude didn't shatter my self-esteem, nor did he send me seeking out keratin treatments, but I could probably buy a Brooklyn apartment from all the cash I spent buying John Frieda Frizz-Ease in high school and college.
Sidenote: Remember Frizz-Ease??
I tried to accept it because this was the hair I was stuck with, but I also remember thinking that when I moved to New York for a career in magazines (the dream!), I would have to do something about it. The most visible editors, like Amy Astley and Jane Keltner and Meredith Melling and, obviously, Anna Wintour, had shiny hair so straight, they *must* have gotten professional blowouts every morning.
One enormous exception is, obviously, Atoosa, who had a truly wild mane and was proud of it. I couldn't believe my eyes: Someone who had frizzy hair and didn't try to fix it, but instead made it seem like an...asset? What?
But even she succumbed to the siren song of the straightening iron when she made the jump from CosmoGirl to Seventeen, which she memorably wrote about in one of her editor's letters.
I like to think that Atoosa embraces the frizz these days. I do—this Simone Kitchens' essay changed my routine/life—and I really couldn’t care less what a guy thinks about my hair. Or really...anything? I’m working on it.