Tag Archives: hair

131. Big Ass Bows, Not the Hunting Kind

19 Nov

A few of the eight million and twelve bows at the Canton Flea Market

A few of the eight million and twelve bows at the Canton Flea Market

It might surprise y’all to learn that folks here in Seattle do not know the first thing about hair bows. Or maybe they just stay hidden underneath the hoodies. I might have caught a glimpse of one once or twice on a little girl in a fancy dress. But that may have been a dream, seeing as you hardly ever spot Seattleites of any age decked out in a festive manner.

I honestly haven’t thought much about hair bows over the last couple of decades, but a trip to the Canton Flea Market brought the memories flooding back. Turns out, Southerners are still wearing them. I sort of thought they were an 80’s thing that went the way of banana clips.

me and bowI guess I should have known better, seeing as my relationship with hair bows began farther back than I can remember. Fortunately, there is photographic evidence.

For Southern girls, hair bows are perfect for any occasion, from beauty pageants to basketball games–and not just for the cheerleaders, players too! (I just Googled “basketball hair bows” to see if I was just talking out of my ass in that last sentence. Lo and behold, there are actually basketball-themed hair bows. Who knew?)

colorful hair bowHair bows come in all colors of the rainbow, as well as many that don’t actually exist in nature. You’ll find solid colors, stripes, polka dots, plaids, floral prints and countless combinations thereof. Pick up any ribbon off the shelf at Michael’s, and I’d be willing to bet somebody’s made a hair bow with it. (Note: I’m not wagering actual money.)

As I’ve mentioned before, Southerners just love slapping their initials on anything even remotely decorative, so there’s an endless variety of monogrammed hair bows. From a single initial on up to all three. Plain or cursive, embroidered or painted, whatever you like. Heck, you can even put your whole name on there if your parents were considerate enough to give you one that would fit.

monogram bowOne day, some Southern mom decided that a plain old hair bow just didn’t express the essence of Billie Sue. And so, voila! Themes! From Hello Kitty to Minnie Mouse, ponies to puppies, whatever you’re into (within reason), there’s a bow for you. Bubble gum! Lady bugs! Cupcakes! John Deere Tractors! Even skull and crossbones for the goth kids! Need I mention there’s a hair bow for every holiday candy manufacturers celebrate?

Of course, there’s always somebody who takes a good thing too far. And then the million followers who come along for the ride. So now we have a whole crop of affiliation hair bows. Sororities! Alma Maters! SEC teams! TV shows! I haven’t run across a “First Baptist Church” hair bow, but that doesn’t mean one doesn’t exist.

ms state bowHow does one wear a hair bow? As far as I can tell, anything goes. My mom was always partial to the top of my head, but plenty of folks wear them on the side or the back. With ponytail or without. Straight hair, naturally curly, or permed. You’ll even find bows attached to headbands for hair-challenged kids. Braids? Ringlets? Sure, why not? Some might suggest they ought not be worn with dreadlocks, but that’s likely a moot point.

john deere bowA dyed-in-the-wool bowhead might persist in embellishing her hairdo with ribbons up until such time as she eats her last chicken salad sandwich. I believe most folks retire the hair bows early in their 20s. Perhaps it’s a rite of passage when one finishes college, gets married, has a kid or all of the above. There’s no law in place, but I’d suggest that hair bows be confiscated from anyone with gray hair or grandkids, whichever comes first. Call me ageist if you like, but I, myself, fit into one of those categories.

I’m not suggesting that we Southern women of a certain age be deprived of decorating our heads altogether. The horror! Ladies, we have something far better than hair bows: Hats! (Stay tuned for an upcoming post on God’s gift for bad hair days.)

Have you ever worn hair bows? If and when did you stop? Extra credit bonus question: Why?

Photo credits: Canton Flea Market bows and Portrait of a Young Bowhead from Holloway Family Archives. All other bows available at ETSY–Colorful Bow by NothingLikeBOWS, Monogram Bow by Prettyloulou, MS State Bow by BiancasBoutiqueBows, and John Deere Bow by PolkaDotzBowtique.

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92. Wearing Curlers in Public

1 Apr

I can count on less than one finger the number of folks I’ve seen sporting curlers between here and Los Angeles. I’m not sure if they even sell curlers here, though you could surely find some on Amazon. Is there anything they WON’T sell?

In the South, you’re likely to encounter ladyfolks wearing curlers in the grocery store, Walmart, the dentist’s office, or most commonly, the mall. Whenever I encounter a be-curlered person, I wonder: “Where are you going later that’s SO FANCY? And why wasn’t I invited?”

Surely curlers aren’t some kind of ironic fashion statement. Yet. In fact, many ladies attempt to cover them with a jaunty scarf. Not that they’re fooling anyone. Nobody’s head is shaped like that. I hope.

The best I can figure, wearing curlers in public is all about multi-tasking. How else can you shop for kitty litter and get your hair done at the same time?

I’m probably not qualified to comment on curlers, seeing as I’ve never used them myself. But since when has that ever stopped me?

As far as I know, there are two types of curlers – hot rollers and, um, room temperature ones? I believe that hot rollers work faster, so the kind you see in public are the latter variety.

Yes! They sell these on Amazon!

You’ll find quite a few styles of room temperature rollers. I’m most familiar with the spongy pink foam ones with a plastic snap contraption that holds them in place. All of the other varieties require bobby pins or clips of some sort. Actually, I think there are some rollers that claim to stay in place all by themselves, but those are probably marketed by the same folks who tried to sell us the specialty tape that would magically hold one’s boobs up. (Don’t waste your money.)

I don’t know how long one must wear rollers to achieve the desired amount of curl. How do you know when you’re done? Are there directions on the curler packages?

You’d think that the roller thing would have phased out back in the 80’s, once The Perm Generation started up. But perhaps they’re making a comeback. Hey, if parachute pants can do it, anything can!


While many folks use curlers to preempt bad hair days, this technique has been known to backfire. Back in high school, my mayonnaise-hating friend Sandy decided to optimize the curling power of the pink foam rollers by sleeping in them. She might’ve even started off with wet hair. She showed up at school the next day with WAY more curls than she’d wanted/aimed for/thought possible. The look was reminiscent of a certain Saturday Night Live character so naturally, she earned the nickname “Rosanne RosannaSandy.”

Do you now or have you ever used curlers? If so, have you ever worn them in public? If so, why??

Photo credits – Flickr Creative Commons: Blythe doll in green curlers by Squirrel Junkie, Red-headed Blythe by Aimee Ray

52. Beauty Parlors–Curl Up and Dye

5 Nov

By S. Myers: Flickr Creative Commons

It’s no wonder beauty parlors are such popular spots, seeing as they combine two of a Southern lady’s greatest loves, gossip and perms. Oh, and don’t forget pampering. Any belle worth her sugar loves a good pampering.

When you get to the beauty parlor, don’t bother picking up People or US Weekly. Wouldn’t you rather pass the time finding out who’s done what to whom? It doesn’t even matter if you know the “who” or “whom” in question. Some stories are just that juicy.

Back in the day, Southern ladies had standing weekly appointments for hair-do maintenance. I imagine many still do. You can spot them quite easily; they’re the ones whose hair simply DOES NOT MOVE. Ever.

How do they keep the hair in place overnight? Some swear by satin pillowcases, but my aunt Juanita relied on trusty toilet paper. Every night before she went to bed, she wrapped the back of her head with t.p. and secured it with bobby pins. I’m not sure about the science behind this, but her hair always had that smooth, shellacked look popular among women of a certain era.

Hairstyles of a certain era.

I, myself, have spent a fair amount of time in beauty parlors. When I was growing up, my mom’s best friend, LaRue, was our hair dresser. (I have no idea if that’s how her name is actually spelled, seeing as I’ve never had occasion to use it till now.) Anyhoo, as I recall, LaRue’s magazine selection was rather slim, so I spent many an hour perusing the J.C. Penney catalog. The thing I liked best about the beauty parlor was the jar with combs floating in blue liquid. Why modern salons have done away with them, I do not know.

When I was a kid in church, I scanned the hair-dos of the ladies in the choir, and I dreaded the day that I’d be required to sport the helmet-head look. Thankfully, I’ve realized that day will never come. Though each visit to my local beauty parlor finds me with shorter and shorter hair, my curls will never be considered ruly. And if you ever see me reaching for a can of Aqua Net, feel free to snatch me baldheaded. If you know what that means…

What are your favorite beauty parlor memories?

25. Hair Spray–“The Higher the Hair, the Closer to God”

15 Feb

Southern girls have been rocking the hair spray since long before the folks in 80’s hair bands were even born. And they’re still rocking it long after said bands have hit the $1.99 CD bin.

I’m not sure where the maxim “The higher the hair, the closer to God” originated, but I’m here to tell you that many Southern girls consider it gospel truth. In fact, statistics show that 83% of all hair spray sales come from the Bible Belt. Ok, I just made that up, but it seems pretty accurate.

Since debutante balls are on the decline, a Southern girl’s rite of passage is the receipt of her very own can of Aqua Net. Surely by now they’ve come up with an environmentally friendly aerosol can, not that folks are greatly concerned. I mean, what’s a little hole in the ozone layer compared to the tragedy of flat hair?

Fortunately for hair spray peddlers, a Southern girl rarely kicks her dependence on this sticky styling solution. Yes, there comes a day when maintaining big hair becomes too much of a chore, but that’s right about the time folks transition into helmet head. And if there’s anything that requires more hair spray than big hair, it’s the permanently immobile helmet head look. And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, well, be very glad.

Visit the hair care aisle in your local Walmart, and you’ll be overwhelmed by the array of hair spray features available: Volumizing. Moisture resistant. Comb thru. And, of course, everyone’s favorite: extra hold. As if there’s any hair spray out there that features “regular hold.”

While there are plenty of pump-style hair sprays, Southern girls tend to prefer the good old-fashioned aerosol variety. If only because they can’t be easily tampered with. Case in point: Years ago, one of my Southern friends was perplexed when her salon brand hairspray suddenly lost its “extra hold.” After a bit of detective work, she discovered that her boyfriend had added water to the bottle so it would “last longer.” In fact, it did last longer, seeing as she never used it again. Note to penny pinchers: too much aqua equals not enough net.

10. Baseball Caps: The Southern Man’s Toupee

7 Jan

As a general rule, Southerners greatly prefer football to baseball, so what’s with the proliferation of baseball caps? Heck, Southerners wear baseball caps that promote FOOTBALL teams.

Ok, people, contrary to popular belief, there is no hairstyle that can be improved with the addition of a baseball cap. Especially when you consider that you have to take the cap off at some point, and then you’re left with the dreaded hat head. Y’all know what I’m talking about.

Note to women folks: If you wear a baseball cap when you’re having a bad hair day, you will end up with a much worse hair day tomorrow. Ok, maybe not if you’re one of those folks who washes their hair EVERY day, but who has that kind of time?

Southern guys start off wearing baseball caps in high school, but you’ll see them more and more frequently as hairlines begin receding. It’s a vicious circle: you wear a baseball cap, which causes you to lose hair, so you wear caps more frequently, which causes you to lose more hair. In short, I consider the baseball cap to be the Southern man’s toupee. Which works out well seeing as even the spiffiest rug can’t promote your college football team.

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