Word that LaBaron Hairdressing Academy was closing after more than a half-century in New Bedford brought back memories.
For some five years, I was a happy LaBaron patron. Terry, my great longtime hairdresser, had moved on and was teaching there. Which is how I started going.
Plus, the evening hours worked well with My Life At That Time and the price was extremely reasonable. But what really kept me at LaBaron was the fact that the students were talented. Very talented.
It’s where I met my terrific stylist Kendra. We’ve been together a half dozen years, plus and I couldn’t be happier. She’s definitely a cut above.
Anyway, these days, Kendra guarantees I don’t have to worry about my hair. But growing up, it was a very different story. Let’s just say my mane and I tangled. Often.
I have what you call “fine” hair. Fine as in texture, not in “You have fine-looking hair.” Fine hair, if you’re lucky enough not to have it, means it doesn’t do much of anything except hang there. Limply.
When I was a kid, my poor Mom tried her best to do Something With It. Back in the day, that meant perms. Bad perms. Smelly perms. Perms that took hours and hours. Decades later, I still shudder at the thought.
Worst of all, when these perms were finally done, they produced tight kinks, not gentle rings. And despite all the hassle, they didn’t have the staying power to last more than a few weeks. Meaning I — and Mom — would have to go through the painful process way too often.
Mom, eventually realizing the enemy had won, decided to change tactics. Her next assault came with Spoolies, quarter-sized plasticky rubber things that you’d roll hair around then tamp down. They created a bobby-pin spit-curl kind of effect. Which, on a good day, lasted about a half hour on me.
After that, Mom moved on to foam hair rollers, supposedly comfy to sleep in. Not. And when those failed to curl anything except my toes, she threw in the towel.
Leaving me to my own styling devices.
Which explains why for my Apponequet High School Class of 1970 photo, I have long straight (well, sort of) hair parted in the middle.
I had seen the error of my waves.
Over the years, thanks to the talents of Terry and then Kendra, I’ve come to peace with my languid locks. It helps that blowdryers and mousse that didn’t exist in my youth do wonders in “volumn-izing” my hair.
Yes, after too many years of don’ts. I’ve discovered that I can indeed have a stylish “do.” Which, for good measure, now celebrates bangs, not Botox.
All of which taken strand by strand has led me to a healthy place: That fine really can be just fine. Even when you’re talking about hair.
Follow Susan Pawlak Seaman on Twitter @SeamanSusanSCT.