When Everybody Hates Your Hair…and You Love It!
Dear Wise & Wonderful Amy,
It has been almost two years since I wrote you! This is Jennifer from your March 9, 2005 post about “outdated hair”. Guess what! I took your advice and did away with my 80’s mall hairstyle. It was quite scary but also liberating. I have a wonderful stylist who steered me toward an updated style that I love…. a shoulder-length, blunt cut with a side part, bangs that sweep to one side (they’re long enough for me to tuck behind my ear) and blonde highlights to top it all off! I use smoothing shampoo, conditioner and serum, and flat iron my bangs and the front long pieces. I think it looks great and it is much easier to style.
So what’s my beef? Everybody hates it. Nobody has complimented me yet (I got all the layers grown out and my “final” style in November). I guess I looked the same for so many years, nobody can handle my new ‘do. My friends are noncommittal, my sister says it’s too flat, and my boyfriend refuses to comment (he’s a wise soul). My mom shrieked “WHAT have you DONE to your HAIR?” when I walked in at Thanksgiving, and has refused to say anything since then. What can I do or say when people are this verbal about something that was wholly my decision (and I’m happy with it?)
Jennifer still in Podunk, Kentucky USA
First of all, are. You. Kidding. Me. Who are these people and were they raised in a barn and how have you not poked them in the eye sockets with a hot flat iron yet?
(Oh my GOD! I’m so HOSTILE. I probably require more BROWNIES.)
Second of all, for everybody else, here’s the original column about Jennifer’s Mall Hair. As you see from the panel of experts I brought in just to back me up in my Very Strong Opinion about Jennifer’s hair, the old look was…it was just not good. Jennifer has a beautiful face with delicate features, and her ultra-curly ultra-layered cut was completely overpowering her. And she had the same wall o’ bangs I had in junior high: you know, teased up, curled back, BIG bangs.
I’m guessing, like you said, that the reactions you’re getting now are mostly because you had that same style for years and years and years and it’s taking everybody awhile to get used to it. I’m super-extra proud of you for embracing the change so fully — you’re like a reverse makeover show, where usually it’s the makeoveree who kicks and screams and fights every change (“nooooo! not my leopard-print stirrup pants! not my crimping iron!”) while their friends and family are the ones who signed them up for the show because ENOUGH ALREADY.
I would also possibly suggest that maybe — JUST MAYBE — some of your friends and family have also gone years and years and years without a new look and have not yet joined you in the Age of the Non-Giant Bangs and Non-Crunchy Curls. If this is the case, you’re limited in your snappy comeback options (you can’t point out that no one this side of Robin Sparkles has hair like you did anymore if you’re talking to someone with that very same hairstyle).
Now, I’m saying all of this without knowing exactly what your new style looks like. It sounds tremendously flattering — classic and yet OF THIS CENTURY — but honestly, it doesn’t even matter whether I like it or your mom likes it or if your sister can’t seem to step away from the giant round brush and teasing pick. YOU LIKE IT. I can tell that you like it. I can tell that you are happy and it’s easier for you and all that good stuff. I have a few friends that I would trust if they looked at my hair said that it was too flat/blonde/short/frizzy or whatever, but mostly I go with my own opinion and everybody can kind of suck it. (If Jason had his way my hair would be so long I could probably sit on it, and my dad still wishes I kept the Jenna Elfman cropped cut I once had years and years ago, so even I cannot and do not please everybody.)
So. It sounds like everybody has already made their opinions known. So now you need to NOT ASK FOR ANYBODY’S OPINION. Don’t try to get your mom to say what she thinks. And if someone already said, “Meh,” don’t quiz them in a couple months to see if they’ve changed their mind, because it doesn’t matter. If someone is such a thumping bore to say something right to your face, a simple, “You know, I was very overdue for a change, and this change makes me very happy and I like it” will suffice and will probably (hopefully) shut them up for good.
Who knows. Maybe a few people really do just need more time to adjust to the drastic change. Maybe they will surprise you in a few months with an out-of-the-blue compliment. Maybe they won’t. But if you don’t plan to make another change based on their opinions, why even give it a second thought?