One thing I’m vain about is my hair. It’s long (almost to the waist), deep brown, straight, but with a nice slight curve at the end. Then yesterday we got the pictures developed (the same roll of film has been in the camera since November), and I hate my hair in all of the pictures.

It’s all because of the cowlick almost in the middle of my forehead, right on the hairline, a major styling problem since day one.

The longest-running effort was thick bangs, from childhood through my freshman year of college. These had to be blowdried and / or curled to hide the cowlick. I don’t like having to blowdry or curl my hair. “Styling” to me means wash, comb, braid. Or maybe a bun or a twist. No gel, mousse, spray, blowdrying, curling, etc.

On to the next effort: no bangs. Grew them out while working at a Girl Scout camp. This time the problem was two-fold: one, I have an ugly hairline, crooked and twisted rather than a nice smooth curve, and two, the hair growing in the cowlick would continually break off and hang in ugly strands on that wide, tall expanse of forehead.

Back to bangs, but letting them divide naturally at the cowlick.

Then grew half of them out, going for “wispy,” hoping that would look better with that big gap where the cowlick was.

I thought I’d managed to fine-tune this style into something that was reasonably nice. In the mirror. And from the front. But in pictures, and from the side especially, dissatisfying. Why? I think I figured it out as I looked at this most recent set of pictures — which, by the way, include my duo Pas de Deux playing at an art museum, recording for the film score, and a coffeehouse in Vermont, plus the kitty and the gardens and the shelves we put in the hall closet, and one of the husband on his bike, in shorts, in the driveway, surrounded by banks of snow (it was 60 out).

Anyway, I think part of the problem is that with wispy bangs, the part dividing the bangs from the rest of my hair is too low, so that I have three horizontal lines — the eyebrows, the tips of the bangs, and the part — which might be making my long face look even longer. Another thing is a similar issue on the sides, where there was too clear a divide between the bangs and the rest of my hair, particularly because the bangs tend to curl inwards instead of back to the sides.

So… last night, brushing all sense of foreboding aside, I grabbed the scissors and the comb. More bangs. Still divided. But now they blend better to the sides, and there’s no bright white part at the top. At least that’s the hope.

I had trouble getting to sleep last night.

I think it’s amusing that vanity also means emptiness or meaninglessness.

(Vanity of vanities, says the preacher… Ecclesiastes 1:1)


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