Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Treatment

Whoo boy. I am really hoping I haven't seriously damaged my hair this time.

I let them talk me into it. I'm a total sucker for vanity projects. My hair usually hangs perfectly in dry weather. Tamed and shiny as though reporting for white glove inspection at army basic training. But I dread every summer rainy and/or humid day knowing that no matter how valiant my efforts, no matter how much supposed smoothing product and spray I weigh my hair down with, in 30 seconds every strand will seemingly split in threes and stick out in all directions like Medusa, but with electric eels instead of snakes. Hats make it worse. Adornments, like barrettes, do little to distract. Rachel, one of the stylists at my salon who has known me and my unruly Jewfro for years, and who shares my moist weather miseries and has worn her hair in a short crop for 2 years, came up to me at my last haircut with a shiny longer bob and said this treatment changed her life and I should do it too.

It's called a Keratin treatment, not to be confused with the Brazilian one which has formaldehyde in it. This one supposedly doesn't (though smells like it does). It costs $200. Or roughly half my weekly unemployment wages. A lot to cough up. But what if this means my July trip to New Orleans won't be spent looking like Frizzy Lizzy (or since this is a cocktail convention, Bushy Lush Lush). What if I can finally just wash and go and spare myself the constant schvitzing after the hair dryer for 3 whole months? What if I can do things like spontaneous go out for brunch and cross the Brooklyn Bridge in a rain storm without an umbrella, so I don't look like a wuss? Maybe this is wise investment. Maybe this should be the ultimate birthday gift to myself. No more shameful summer hair days. I can be shorn free.

So last Sunday, June 21st, the day after my birthday. I underwent. The Treatment, plus a kicky new haircut. The challenge is that you can't wash your hair, or even really let it come in contact with moisture in any form for 3 whole days while this shit sets. And it stinks. It smells like Pepe Le Pew finally had his way with the cat. On your head.

So Rachel did the treatment, left it in, dried it, rinsed it, and flat ironed it to set. Stinky, but beaming and hopeful I set off for the afternoon before meeting my parents for dinner. Of course I spent the whole rest of the afternoon trying to dodge sideways downpours and sweating profusely for my efforts. But the do seemed to stay in place despite the elements. Did it work? I went to bed believing it had. Careful not to mess it up too much, I was mindful of my night movements so I could wake up like fucking Snow White with pretty, soft hair and singing woodland creatures.

But oh no! My new fringe bangs were a disaster and everything was bunched up and hanging wrong. Now Rachel said I could use a dry shampoo and blow it again. And I was very careful not to get it wet in the shower, tucking it under both a scarf AND a cap. Yet I couldn't make it lie right and just resigned myself to living with whatever I could arrange on my head for the next two days. By day three I was at the Brooklyn Cyclones baseball game in Coney Island during an exciting game under constant threat of thunder showers. Between the wind, humidity and sea air, I looked pretty much like I always used to, (zzzzappp!) but I kept my cool and optomism. I had crossed the rubicon. In a mere eight hours I could finally wash my hair.

Which smelled like it was actually farting as I washed it, that crap is so nasty. But no fear, right? it's raining, but I'll just give it a light dry and prance outside like everyone else. Right?

Wrong. Layers starting to stick up and OUT. Bangs frizzing and bunching. I had to work a spirits event with LOFT liqueurs and be all smiles and cleavage, but inside I was miserable. Plus the photographer kept coming to our table! With nowhere for me to hide! I'm probably known behind my back as that Chubby Organic Cordial Lady With The Frizzy Hair.

Next day was worse. All that time, money and energy and my rebellious locks refused to be tamed. I was defeated. I called the salon to see if there was anything that could be done and came in for a consult the next day. The only resolution they could offer was a free conditioning treatment and to re-do the Keratin again. Don't worry, it's safe. Your hair *shouldn't* break off.

So now. In a world. Where Jews are defenseless against humidity, where moisture prevailed and The Treatment was beaten. I came back for Round 2. It's dry out today at least and I got home without incident. But I'm scared. Little broken hairs are sticking up. The stink is stronger than ever. The color seems stripped off and my scalp is numb. It's straight, but at what cost? Stay tuned...

Saturday, June 20, 2009

That's Really Super, Super Girl

Well, it's my birthday.

I used to be one of those people who got really into celebrating my own big day. I would make sure I could get all my friends together in one place, make sure there was a fantastic dinner and a cake (or at the very least something good made of chocolate), no dishes to do, no whining, everything totally Amanda-centric. Raise a toast. Queen for one day and all that. I don't even mind getting older. Really. I actually find it kind of interesting. It's like, "Wow, is that a gray hair? Huh. Imagine that?" Honestly, doesn't bother me.

Somehow this year I feel like all the air has gone out of it. Yeah. It hasn't exactly been the best of times. I lost my job in December. I lost my uterus in February. Job prospects have been bleak and there is a likelihood of yet more new vocational training in my near future. And there hasn't been a steady man in my life for years. But that isn't exactly it. The uterus thing, especially, has been somewhat of a blessing in disguise. No more periods and lord knows I don't have the patience to navigate a stroller with a hollering, snot-crusted thing in it in the subway. And the job? Anyone who knows me knows how much I love wine and hate THEM. No, that isn't it. Men? I'm not exactly relationship material right now.

Seeing as I was likely switched at birth with an Irish Catholic family (I don't buy that whole going into labor in line for Woody Allen's Bananas thing for one second, Dave and Carlotta. Nice try), I think this year I feel guilty about really whooping it up. I feel guilty making my friends pay for a big dinner and cocktails (and the vast quantity of them I seem capable of drinking) when I can't return the favor. Since December, my good friends (you guys really are amazing) have been lavishing me with dinners out and yummy drinks and my parents have had to pick up the tab every time we go out. There's not a whole lot I can do to match that. By now I wanted to have a big party and pay for everyone to come. By now I want to grab the check for my dad's Father's Day dinner at a fancy restaurant. And I can't. Unemployment has been my kryptonite. I've lost my super powers. I guess I didn't know what they were today until it hit me today. I was Benevolence Girl. I was the Charity Chick. Or Maybe even Hospitality Hussy.

It was a cool uniform to wear too. I wish I could still fit into it.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Self-Imposed Prisoner of Baltic Street

Oy, oy, oy. I am not feeling like myself at all. Last night I was supposed to hang out with friends in the hood, finally try that Lucali's pizza everyone's been going so nuts over, and see Robyn Hitchcock play within walking distance (granted a long walk. In the rain.) of my house. But after a week of essentially doing nothing, a wave of fatigue and sadness got the best of me and I skipped the whole thing and sat home and watched the Prisoner of Second Avenue.

Not exactly the thing to lift one's spirits six months into unemployment. Takes place in 1975, yup, height of NYC's worst recession before, well, now. Jack Lemmon is losing his shit. Everything makes him "nervous." There's a heat wave. He narrowly misses the bus, then runs to catch it but doesn't have the exact .35 (!) to stay on. He flags down a cab, hoping for a quick ride and some A/C relief, only to discover that a young, pocky Murray F. Abraham can only have it on up front. He arrives at work to discover half the staff laid off and a bill for yesterday's lunch. At home, the A/C only works on extremely cold settings, but he'll take it over the alternative, his next door neighbors' very faint partying disturbs him just THAT much, and gorgeous wife Anne Bancroft (who manages to be beautiful and chic no matter what New York accent she has to put on over it), who has the patience of a Saint Patricks Day bartender, can't get him to calm down, helplessy watching him yell and bang the easily cracking sheetrock wall down. He eventually loses the job, they get robbed of everything including the liquor and all his suits and his upstairs neighbor dumps a pale of ice cold water on him during a particularly awful rant on their tiny terrace. Months go by, Anne Bancroft gets a stressful job with long hours (but AWESOME pencil skirts), he fails to find one himself (Job, I mean, no pencil skirts for Jack Lemmon in this flick), and it's not until he "accidentally" mugs Sylvester Stallone in Central Park that he gets his mojo back.

What have I learned from this? Robyn Hitchcock played Waterloo Sunset, one of my very favorite songs EVER and I missed it 'cos I couldn't get my head out of my ass. Maybe I need a pencil skirt to get a job. And I am not looking forward to NYC's next heatwave and $2.25 bus and subway fare.

Stallone's in his 60s now. I can take him. Well, maybe...

Friday, June 5, 2009

Flopper Flapper

Yes, I know, I know. My posts stand neglected. Bad on me.

So a lot has happened since my last post.

I put up an etsy store for my jewelry, finally. I'm pretty proud of how well I've managed the page so far. I even tapped into what I thought were forgotten photoshop skills and made my own cyber banner. Only one sale so far, though. But lots of appreciative traffic, so hope that leads to something.

I've also had one job interview. For a job I didn't get (but let's face it, didn't want that badly either). I welcomed the practice, anyway.

Life has been very solitary this week. I went out almost every night last week and spent like a pre-crash Wall Streeter. I have this sick internal mechanism, and I think I get this from my overspending dad, that kicks into gear whenever funds get dangerously low, as they are now. The less I have, the more pricy nights out or ridiculous shit I find to buy. I seriously almost bought a Psycho shower curtain. And my bathtub has doors!!!

But I do understand now why they call it a Depression. I just want to sit around and do nothing all day, maybe draw some lines on the backs of my legs where my stockings should be.