Well, damp really. I stopped using a hair dryer regularly sometime around 1992, and, to my mother’s chagrin, that was just the beginning of using my hair (in her mind: abusing my hair) in my pursuit of a greener life. I also don’t use mousse, or hair gel, or hair spray, or any of what I consider to be unnecessary hair products. Yes, I use shampoo, and cream rinse (or as people who aren’t from Surry County say: conditioner) is indeed my friend. But all the other stuff, I can do without. I can do without the plastic bottles they come in, I can do without the chemicals they contain, and I can do without the belief that I am not good enough or pretty enough if I don’t have hair like a super model.
No one really notices my abstinence from hair care products, but boy, oh, boy do they notice that I don’t dry my hair! When my Grandma S. was alive, she would say, “Girl, you are going to catch your death from a wet head!” Of course, my head wasn’t exactly wet . . . it was only my hair . . . but that minor detail never kept her from proclaiming my impending doom. My mother, the exact opposite of a “granola” in every way except for her love of nature, still, to this day, asks me to do something about my hair. She’s 70. I’m 42. She’s been asking me for nearly 30 years! She doesn’t want a funeral when she passes away, and although she says it is because she doesn’t want any fuss, I believe part of the reason is because she is afraid I will tarnish her memory by showing up with wet hair (just kidding, Mom . . . love you!)
Anytime a new teacher is hired at school, inevitably they will ask me, usually as we race across the breezeway prior to the bell for first period, “Is your hair wet?”
One Sunday at church, I leaned across the pew to hug an elderly woman, who graciously patted my shoulder and asked, “Honey, is your hair wet?”
I don’t dry it. Not in the spring, not in the summer, not in the fall, and not in the winter. Truthfully, I usually don’t comb it either, but that either doesn’t appall people or they are just too polite to mention it.
If I wash my hair at bedtime, it is generally dry in the morning. If I wash my hair in the morning, it is generally dry by third period (to non-teachers, that’s lunch time). Either way, when it’s dry, I just run my fingers through it and am satisfied. I’m not trying to be Christie Brinkley; I teach high school.
When it started snowing here today (we are expecting over 12 inches due to winter storm Pax), my daughter and I decided we’d better run to the store to get some dish washing detergent and some extra packets of Kool Aid. I had just jumped out of the shower and pulled my wet hair back into two twisted buns. It was 24 degrees and snowing. She looked at me and said, “Shouldn’t you put a hat on or something?”
“Well, isn’t your hair wet?”
“Totally. But it’s snowing, so what difference does it make?”
She shrugged — thankfully, she’s used to me — but I was fearful for a moment she would mention last Saturday’s dance rehearsal, at which her instructor told her she would have to use hairspray at competitions, and to which I responded by stating, “Hair spray is not earth-friendly.” The two mothers next to me (who have known me since high school) just laughed, but my little girl, for just a moment, seemed to doubt my abilities as a mother. I could see it in her eyes! I didn’t tell her then, but I will tell her before the first competition, that if she wants to use hairspray, it’s okay. I will buy her a teeny-tiny sample size — non-aerosol, of course! — and she can use it if she wants. BUT I will go to those competitions with air-dried hair and wearing air-dried clothes. And if some other dance mom were to come up to me and ask, “Is your hair wet?” I am prepared to respond with a resounding, “Yes.”
I am not a scientist or a mathematician, but I am sure that saving that little bit of electricity every day for nearly 22 years is a good thing. Not a big thing, but a good thing.
Copyright 2014 Lori Creed