Hair Today Gone Tomorrow

By Diane DeVaughn Stokes

All women have some “HAIR-raising” horror stories. At one time or the other we have changed hair dressers only to face disaster returning to our former salon specialist with our tails between our legs begging for forgiveness like a lover who has blatantly cheated. After all, our hair is a source of pride. It has been described as the frame around the oil painting that completes the art!

My hair issues began early, as my mom would tape bows to my head when I was young because I only had blonde fuzz till I was almost two years old. Even with a pink bow, folks still thought I was a boy. Then once it started to grow, pigtails were in fashion, and I looked exactly like the little girl in the Coppertone advertisement with the cute dog tugging on her pants. And I had the deep dark chocolate tan to go with it.

But what possessed my mom to give me a Lilt Permanent every year is beyond me. I guess she was swayed by the television ad promise of soft silky curls. Or was it the desire to have me look like Shirley Temple whose movies we never missed? If so, forget about it! None of that worked. My permanent waves were a tight, kinky, poodle-like mess. It was an Afro long before it was cool to have an Afro. I hated it. But she was a working mom and perhaps she saw this as an easy way to deal with my hair quickly in the mornings. I now forgive her.

Ironically, when I got to high school when gorgeous straight hair was the fashion, mine started to develop a slight natural curl. So I took up the habit of ironing it every morning using a dishcloth so as to not burn or singe it. Some of you reading this are smiling ‘cause you did the same neck breaking ritual. And when summer rolled around, out came the Summer Blonde spray that brightened even the dingiest, mousey-brown locks like mine.These two processes were big in the sixties; the Mod-Squad decade of lime green and pink geometric patterns that only looked good if you had the hair to go with it. That was the icing on the cake.

Then in my senior year in high school and all through my college days, the Flip was the thing! When I looked back recently at my yearbooks, almost every woman had one.

And I kept mine through to the mid-eighties, until Farrah Fawcett taught us that multi layers of curls were softer and more stylish than the plain old Flip! So we all pulled our hair high above our heads, a ponytail shooting out of our scalp resembling Pebbles Flintstone, cutting off an inch or two and voila! We had instant starlet looking tresses without needing a professional hairdresser. When I look back on my TV shows from that era, I was totally in fashion with the Hollywood types: Big hair, big mouth and big boobs!

Needless to say, up until that point I never needed a regular hair stylist. But the nineties found me needing some color balancing and a sassier look. I found that my job on TV, coupled with my age, called for more brightness to my face. Yes, I needed to be blonder! However, just like many of you, I had some major disasters. But unlike you who were able to hide from the world the next day and call in sick, I had to appear on LIVE TV!

I nauseatingly recall my most embarrassing fiasco when I left a Myrtle Beach salon looking like a calico cat! Hey, I own a calico cat. But I looked like the type of calico that no one wants to adopt because it is so mottled and ugly! So the next day, when I went on the air, I told the story about facing the worst hair dresser ever the day before and promised the viewers that tomorrow I would look better as I had an appointment with a correction specialist after the show. I knew being honest was the way to go because every woman could identify. And I had dozens of phone calls afterwards, asking me who did the nasty deed! And yes, of course I told them the truth. Thank goodness this cosmetologist finally left town and closed up shop.

Next up was the totally layered all over look that made me look like Rod Stewart! And if it was not moussed correctly, it became heavy and limp and looked like a dirty greasy mop. I realized quickly that I was not “cut” out for this hairstyle, if you’ll excuse the pun. Maybe I was using too much product, or maybe my hair was not thick enough to poof up correctly. Either way, I started to let it grow into a short bi-level bob. And it goes without saying I was suddenly at the magic age where I needed color on my roots.

But lately after having various versions of the bob for fifteen years, my hairdresser, JP suggested I let it grow just to my shoulders with a Flip once again which she says is making a comeback. It’s easy and I like it, but the art inside the frame does not look as good as it used to. What I am trying to say, it’s the same flip I had in high school and college, but it’s not the same face! So I am trying to adjust to reality.And most recently due to an illness that is currently under control and stable, I am well aware that I will need chemo in the future, hence the title of this article, “Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow.” Just like all women, losing your hair is traumatic and humbling so I am currently holding onto and cherishing every single strand. Yes, holding on as tightly as I can.

About this writer

  • Diane DeVaughn Stokes

    Diane DeVaughn Stokes

    Diane is the host and producer for “Inside Out” as seen on HTC TV Channel 4, and serves as a commercial spokesperson for several local businesses. She and her husband Chuck own Stages Video productions in Myrtle Beach and share passions for food, theater, travel and scuba diving.

    They own three four legged kids that they adore!

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One Response to “Hair Today Gone Tomorrow”

  1. Linda O'Connell says:

    Diane, my mom cut my bangs too short and gave me Tonettes, the child’s version of a Tony Home Perm. Disaster is all I can say. Enjoyed your story.

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