New experiences open up a world of possibilities. An introductory beauty adventure? Especially so. As children, it helps develop our taste. But as adults, changing an aspect of our physical selves often symbolizes something bigger about the women we are.
New experiences open up a world of possibilities. An introductory beauty adventure? Especially so. As children, it helps develop our taste. But as adults, changing an aspect of our physical selves often symbolizes something bigger about the women we are...and are on our way to becoming.
In our January/February 2018 issue, we asked six writers to explain how these moments transformed them in ways that go far beyond lipstick tubes and hair dyes. Here's one woman's story:
After years of gradual hair damage due to a lifetime of chemical straightening treatments, flatirons cranked to the hottest setting, and probably not enough vegetables, I sat staring at my hair dejectedly in the salon mirror. It was so messed up—broken off, uneven, unhealthy, beyond repair. "It's horrible, how can we fix it?" I wailed. (Dull hair? Try this volumizing shampoo, available at the Women's Health Boutique.)
My patient stylist, Melinda, told me I had to leave my hair alone, entirely, and suggested I get a weave. I had to overcome some real psychological barriers to reach my eventual yes. I've always had thick, high-compliment-yielding hair that was all mine. Grown by me. I liked having my own hair. I didn't want to admit to having a head of hair that was not mine. (Spoiler alert: you don't actually have to tell anybody.) I didn't want to feel like I wasn't myself, with the hair I'd had for 28 years.
But eventually, I settled on my first weave: a 22-inch curly style from Malaysia, dyed to match my own reddish-brown hair. After five hours of sew-in time, I debuted it at my 29th birthday party, but it was kind of a failure: I didn't know what to wear with my new hair.
Dresses that were once cool felt overly feminine when paired with a long, flowing mane. I felt too seen, and totally alien. I kept pulling it back into a bun because I felt so self-conscious. I didn't know who to be with this thing on my head.
Three days later, the hair decided for me. All of a sudden I was imbued with a confidence I'd never had. Was it just the thrill of feeling like I was always in disguise? The boost of knowing I—for the first time ever—had long hair to toss, to twirl, to bunch at the top of my head and let fall over my shoulders seductively? Either way, I emerged as some sort of Rihanna-Beyonce sex goddess. All I wanted to do was have sex.
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Over the course of my 29th year, a year of extreme sexual adventure, I hooked up with more men than I had in my whole life. I made insane decisions in bar bathrooms. I initiated (and botched) a threesome with two guys. I had wild, new devil-may-care instincts that didn't feel like my own but I was determined to run with.
I kept the weave for exactly a year, removing it just before my 30th birthday, and I swear I felt some sort of physical release (at this point, my sex life went back to its regularly scheduled—infrequent—programming).
I now joke about that period in my life as the time "my haunted weave made me do it," because right around this time, a story popped up in the news chronicling a crime spree in which thieves stole hair weaves. Many believed—at least on Facebook—that the burglars were lured into stealing by the cursed hair. Women opened up on social media about their own experiences with demonic hair, in which they'd taken on the spirit of hair they'd purchased.
What was responsible for that wild year? On some level I always knew it was the hair, but to what extent? New hairdo confidence? actual possession? I'm still not sure. But I'm half certain some sort of sex demon was in those strands. I am happy to be restored to my own spirit, but man, did I get laid.
This article originally appeared in the January/February 2018 issue of Women's Health. For more great advice, pick up a copy of the issue on newsstands now!