I told him I wasn’t opposed to satellite air and he laughed like I thought he would. It was a laugh laced with affection and disbelief, like he wasn’t surprised to be surprised. But that’s the end of the story instead of the beginning, and it’s best not to get ahead of myself.
I have good hair, for the most part. It’s not trendy, although I did get the Dorothy Hammil in 1982 and the Rachel in 1995. After both I acknowledged that my round face is best framed with loose waves, parted on the right. It’s a hairstyle I’ve had–baring the Rachel incident–since 1990. I recently mixed it up by parting it off center, and I think the result is slimming. Also slimming: losing weight.
My hair is thick and holds a curl, which is good because I don’t like hairspray. I don’t like my hair to move in sections and I have a habit of running my fingers through my hair, something I can’t do with hairspray tangling my fingers in fine webs. I use the smallest amount of spray, if any. In the 1980s, this was bad because it meant I couldn’t tease my bangs to great heights. In the 2010s, this is great because with the exception of page 80 in my senior year book, there aren’t too many embarrassing hairdo pictures of me. Also, it gives me soft hair I can touch or restyle during the day on a whim.
But trendy or traditional, sprayed stiff or hung loose, there are certain rules about good hair. One of the most important stating that on the way to an event of importance rated 5 or above, wind velocity within the traveling cabin shall not exceed level 1 on a Beaufort scale. For the men reading this, the theorem means that when in the car with your significant other, the windows shall remain up and the air conditioning on low, with all vents strategically positioned. Otherwise, several things can happen–all of which will reflect poorly on you.
- The La Brea Tar Pit Phenomenon. Much like a trapped Mastodon foot in a quagmire of prehistoric asphalt, so sits the wayward strand of hair blown onto lips coated with lip gloss. Pulling and dragging is invariably required and, because one annoyance is never enough, the aforementioned hair always drags across the cheeks, creating what looks like tracks belonging to miniature snails.
- The Jenga Effect. When a woman leaves the house with styled hair, she does so with the hope that the hair shall remain in the position in which it was set. Meaning, the curl so artfully tucked over her right eye will remain over her right eye when she arrives at her final destination. Hair, especially soft waves or curls, is like a living game of Jenga. It takes one quick blast of air to upset the balance, bringing the hairstyle crashing about her shoulders like a…lost Jenga game. That’s why it’s called The Jenga Effect. See how that works? What you may not see is an appreciable difference in the hairstyle after the collapse, despite our cries to the contrary. Don’t trust your eyes. Do trust that it’s all ruined, and little will help your case.
- The Blowout. This one touches upon theories discussed above in The Jenga Effect in that a hairstyle is ruined by quick, steady, and/or strong blasts of air. In this case, however, the air has, through repetition or force, straightened out random portions of the woman’s hair, resulting in hair that is both wavy and straight, frizzy and flat. If Mariah Carey barely pulled it off in her Fantasy video, I assure you that we can’t pull it off in reality.
The birthday party we attended on Saturday, the one where we knew only a handful of people and had never before been to the family’s house, rated a solid 5. Consequently, when Nicholas asked for us to roll down the windows on the way there, the Mister held up a hand and said, “Sorry, buddy. I don’t think mama is going to go for it.”
He stilled rolled them down for Nicholas, but only for a minute. I gave him a look that suggested he would be wise to follow his original instincts. Then I told Nicholas that on the way home we could roll down all the windows and stick out heads out like golden retrievers.
“So your hair gets a little windblown,” said the Mister. “Who cares? The party is outside. Isn’t your hair going to get all messed up from the wind within a couple of minutes once we get there?”
“Yes, but that doesn’t matter,” I said, settling into my seat to explain what is obvious to anyone with a drop of estrogen. “Women remember the hair you show up with. All women know that good hair doesn’t last forever, which is why you’re rarely judged for hair during the middle or end of a party.”
“So, no windows down.”
“No windows down.”
“And no air conditioning?”
“But what if it’s hot? That’s ridiculous! Can I at least turn on the air?”
“I’m not opposed to satellite air.”
“Satellite air?! What are you even talking about?”
I fiddled with the air vents, making sure to close them and push them in his direction. “Satellite air is when you turn on the air in the car but close your vents or direct it all towards the seat opposite your position. It cools the car interior while limiting the potential for hairstyle destruction.”
“Now I have heard everything.”