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[August, 1991] Hold On

Wednesday, August 28, 1991

Dear Journal,

Boy! It has been a while, hasn’t it? For a boring summer, it hasn’t been so bad. I did go to Ohio for like 10 days & I spent some time with Fay. During that time we grew pretty close & even though we haven’t seen each other in a month, we are now not only pen pals, but are best friends, too! Let me describe her to you. She is 11, tall and thin. She is very pretty, and she acts mature for her age.

[I bet Fay just materializes out of the ether before you the way I paint her with words. Such vivid description!]

What I like about her is that, although we have a couple of things in common, we have our differences, too. Plus we can talk about anything. It’s funny. I thought that Nisa was my best friend, but how can we be best friends when I feel closer to a person hundreds of miles away than I do with one just a block away. I feel that I’m just not connecting with Nisa the way I am with Fay. I haven’t been for a while.

[It had been years since I’d seen Fay and even longer since I mentioned her in my diary. Becoming insta-best friends with her was easy, because we didn’t have to deal with each other on a day to day basis. Given enough time, I’m sure we would have had our ups and downs and maybe even some drama involving a Certificate of Friendship. Alas.]

Early 90's pop "supergroup" Wilson Phillips

Well. I’m on a diet. I’ve already lost around 10 pounds & I’m praying (not literally) for another 10. I’ve also cut my hair. It looks like the same style as Chynna Phillips. I feel & look like a different person. If I just lose those 10 little pounds before school starts. I will be complete.

[If you lived in America, have a pair of ears, and were alive in the early 1990’s, chances are you heard Wilson Phillips smash hit “Hold On” more times than you ever want to for the rest of your life. For those too young (or unborn) to remember, you may have heard the song in Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, when the square-burger-craving duo sings along–nay, rocks out to the chirpy anthem. Back in the days when my musical taste was of the more sugary pop variety, I was a fan of this “supergroup” who were initially more famous for their Beach Boy daddy (Carnie and Wendy Wilson, daughters of Brian Wilson) and Mamas and the Papas mama (Chynna Phillips, daughter of Michelle). That, coupled with the fact that I was growing out a bad perm and had a catastrophic ‘do that was straight on top and curly on the bottom made me look to Chynna as something of a hair role model. My eighth grade class photo bears the exact same haircut as the one above, only light brown instead of blond. In my defense, it was the early 90’s and it was still a marked improvement over the perm-plus-small-hedgehog-made-of-hair-and-Aqua-Net-that-I-called-bangs.

The ten pound weight loss came from a ridiculous but temporarily effective seven day diet that included one day of nothing but fruit, one day of nothing but vegetables, one day of nothing but bananas and milk, and a couple of days of nothing but meat and vegetables. Every once in a while Mom would come home with a grainy photocopy of some fad diet that one of her coworkers swore was the best way to lose weight fast. My parents and I tried this one and all of us lost weight…and eventually all of us gained it back.]

Gosh am I looking forward to school! It starts September 11, but orientation is September 6th. I will get to see all my friends (and the cute guys in my grade!) that day! I’ve been thinking about Justin all summer. I want to see if I still like him. And if I do, I want to see if he has matured a bit & if he likes me. I also want to see if any of the nerds I knew last year have turned into hot studs. (I can hope, can’t I?!) Well just wanted to fill ya in. See ya!

So much excitement and optimism for the beginning of eight grade. If I had known it would be one of the most wretched years of my life I would have gone easy on those exclamation marks.

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[February, 1991] Words of Wisdom (Yeah Right!)

Thursday, Feb. 7, 1991

Dear Diary,

I really don’t have much to say but I didn’t write to you in a while so I decided it was time to fill a few pages with my wonderful words of wisdom (Yeah Right!).

I did something today that I haven’t in quite a while. I wrote a poem. It’s called “If I had one wish” and it goes like this:

If I had one wish,
I would wish to be free,
Free to roam the world,
Free to be what I want to be,
I would live off the land,
And then I would see,
Our wonderful Earth,
As it really should be,
Without any wars,
To make people cry,
Without any diseases,
To make people die,
Just nature and wilderness,
That we would all cherish,
That’s what I would want,
If I had one wish.

Well, now I’m going to wallow in my self-pity because I know I’m not going to get my perm. I better sign off before my parents start to lecture me.

At least I tried to balance out my “deep thoughts” about global strife and pretentious poetry with my self-pity over not being able to get a tacky hairstyle.

The truth is, I spent very little time thinking about the war and many hours being angsty about all the fun my overprotective parents prevented me from having. I don’t know why my parents didn’t allow me to get a perm, because I did have one in sixth grade.  As much as I cared about the world and our environment, it did not prevent me from contributing to the hole in the ozone layer using copious amounts of Aqua Net on the small topiary on top of my head that I sculpted my bangs into. While I didn’t realize it at the time, my parents were actually salvaging me from another foolish hair choice.

There was no saving me from the bad poetry, though. That’s something I’d have to grow out of on my own.

[December, 1989] The Power of Good Hair

November 23, 2009 3 comments

much a 'do

 

12/11/89

Dear Journal,

Mitchell asked me out! I’m going to the movies with him on Saturday. I’m so happy. I know that I still like J.D. but I don’t think it will work out with him. Gotta go!

So much for J.D. and all of Anna’s “work.”

This is the same Mitch who, back in September I said, “got a new hairstyle and looks cool” and weeks later decided was full-on cute. Behold the power of a good hair. The right cut can make any preteen drop her schemes of making a far away older boy fall in love with her and decide to keep her heart local.

While personality and smarts were important, I’ll be honest: When I was young I was all about the pretty boys with “cool hair.” I particularly like spiked hair, heavily moussed/gelled hair, or bleached/dyed hair. (Exhibit A: Corey Haim) A few snips and a boy could go from being invisible to the top of my crush list or go from being my main heartthrob to mayor of WhatWasIThinkingVille. Superficial? You bet. But the heart wants what it wants and mine wanted a cute face with a hip coif.

While I would learn to look beyond the surface as the years went on, as a kid I had better things to do that wonder whether Mitchell had a good heart or if he was funny or kind. I was too busy planning an outfit for our date and figuring out what I was going to do with my hair (spoiler alert: it  involved lots of Aqua Net, mousse, and teasing my permed tresses into something birds could have lived in).

[June, 1989] Blonde Ambition

October 12, 2009 5 comments

6/9/89

Dear Journal,

Yesterday I went shopping and got these cool bangles and earings, plus Sun In. It turns your hair lighter with the sun.

Art by DoA

Art by DoA

How I loved being a child of the 1980s. The music, the movies, the fashion, and of course, the hair.

The only thing I didn’t love was how young I was at the time, and therefore how limited I was in my hair experimentation. It took ages just to convince Mom to let me use hairspray, though once I got the green light I used enough Aqua Net to make my bangs virtually bulletproof. Crimping was also okay, but I had yet to convince her to allow me to get a perm. (My hair was pin-straight as a kid and I was desperate for it to be curly. Today, my hair has a natural wave to it and and I blow dry and flatiron it straight. Why are human beings so contrary???)

Bleaching or dying my hair was out of the question, but luckily Sun-In was allowed. Plain old lemon juice was never effective at lightening my hair in the summertime, but this stuff did the trick. Whenever we’d go to the beach, Mom would allow me to spray a moderate amount of this seemingly-magical concoction into my hair, and after a day of roasting outside, my naturally dirty blonde hair would have more golden highlights.

Of course, it didn’t hurt that every time Mom was distracted I’d sneak in a few extra sprays. I figured the blonder the better. I don’t know how it worked, but Sun-In did harness the sun’s power to lighten hair, at the cost of giving it a straw-like consistency, especially when sprayed in great quantities (what was the point of using only a little bit and getting a subtle effect?). Between the Sun-In, the crimping iron, and the hairspray, it was a wonder that I didn’t have a mane like Tina Turner or the Cowardly Lion, and that I didn’t fry  all the hair on my preteen head.

In retrospect, I think Mom was pretty cool to allow me to torture my hair within the boundaries she had set. While I was still eager for more extreme chemical transformation to my tresses, for the time being I was happier being a little bit blonder.

[November, 1988] New Nemesis, New Hair

September 10, 2009 6 comments

11-10-88

Dear Diary,

So far my day is not the greatest. First of all, my mother probably won’t let me get bangs. I really really want to get them.

And I am not Marcela’s friend any more because she is such a fair-weathered friend and very much a bitch! I hate her, she always expects me to call her and Marcela started acting really stuck up because she skipped a grade.

She is definitely not coming to my party. I am beginning to hate Marcela even more than I hate Yanmei.

pass the Aqua Net

"Pass the Aqua Net!"

But when I went home for lunch my mom cut my bangs and they look great!

So much for Marcela being a lifesaver, those 50 names she helped obtain for my election petition now long forgotten. I didn’t think it was possible to hate anyone more than Yanmei at the time, but Marcela proved me wrong. In restrospect, I wonder how much of my ill will was caused by her being snobbish and wanting to distance herself from her former classmates and how much of it was my jealousy. I was offered the chance to skip fifth grade as well, but didn’t want to leave my friends and face a greater academic challenge, so I stayed where I was. It’s quite possible I felt some resentment toward Marcela for having the guts to do something I did not. It’s also possible that she was “very much a bitch.”

At least I was able to take comfort in the fact that I was able to finally convince my mother to allow me to get bangs. I don’t know why she resisted as long as it did. It might have had something to do with wanting to protect me from bad hair choices or from ruining the ozone layer with the copious amounts of hairspray I’d end up using in the late 1980’s. Whatever the reason, I managed to wear her down.

I was eager to get the bangs so that I could tease them up real big into a shrub-like curve on top of my head and tame them with tons (and tons, and tons) of Aqua Net. The look was even more, um… effective when the rest of my hair was crimped.

It’s nice to see that despite all the hostility toward Marcela, I was able to set aside my hatred long enough to rejoice over my new hair. All’s well that ends in embarrassing elementary school photos and the greenhouse effect.