Photo of a girl with bangs who isn’t me by Morgan Lane on Unsplash

Why My Bangs Refuse to Give Me The Sense of Control I Crave

Has this ever worked for anyone?

About a year and a half ago I decided to become a bangs girl, mainly for two reasons.

  1. I thought it would make me look mysterious and interesting.
  2. I am in possession of a forehead so large I have to tilt my head downward if folks want to see where my hairline begins. When I pull my hair into a tight ponytail I look bald.

I’ve always had a huge forehead. When I was a kid, the recess monitors would watch me running around the playground like a maniac and wonder, “why is that hyperactive child bald? And why does she keep collecting slugs and putting them in the play fort?” (That second question is a story for another time.)

My pediatrician thought he was making a hilarious joke when he compared my cranium to that of my extremely bald grandfather. Thanks Doctor Millpurd! Don’t worry. You didn’t hurt my feelings. I just tossed the resulting insecurity onto the trash pile in my brain and I’m sure one day the garbage collectors will show up and take care of the mess for me. One day.

You might be surprised to learn that I have a ton of hair. The problem is, it’s all limited to the back of my head. Yes, I’ve addressed my dissatisfaction with Mother Nature. “Why did you put all the hair in one place, instead of spreading it out more evenly?” But Mother Nature hasn’t been forthcoming and I suspect she has some kind of trauma she hasn’t properly dealt with. Otherwise, why is she out there inventing creatures like the Venezuelan poodle moth? That’s not the action of someone who has healthily processed the difficult moments in their life.

When you’ve got a forehead so large it can reflect coded alien signals, the only solution is to try bangs. I’ve gone the bangs route a few times in my life, but the road was oily and flat (thanks puberty) and I always ended up Vegasing the experience (what happens in bangsland stays in bangsland).

But now I am older. I have a Medium account instead of a LiveJournal. I’ve figured out what shampoo works for me and my hormones aren’t quite as insistent on sending me through my days looking like I recently stepped out of a bottle of olive oil. So…. bangs time! I went to the salon and had them chop those babies — telling them to make me look more like Xena the Warrior Princess than Matilda Wormwood (not that Matilda isn’t a badass, but it’s not the look I’m going for).

Then the pandemic happened and I lost all access to haircare professionals. To stay safe I’d have to walk through my bangsperience alone. It was just me and a pair of scissors with splotches of tape goo stuck on their blades. The process went alright, considering. A few months would pass and I’d chop again. I gradually improved and now I occasionally get compliments when I stare into the Zoom abyss.

The problem is - it can be difficult to tell what should be bangs and what should be normal hair. My hairdresser left me a guideline in the before times, so I try not to exercise too much enthusiasm with the scissors.

But… there’s this one chunk. I don’t know what it’s supposed to be. The hairdresser left it long. Were they right? Were they wrong? Can I trust anyone these days? I don’t cut it short… but… I don’t think it wants to be long. It rages forward every chance it gets. It escapes every hairband screaming, “Da la la la! Look at me! I shall not be contained!!!”

Which is annoying when everything in the universe is outside my control right now. You’d think this one chunk of hair could just suck it up and soldier onward like the rest of us, but instead it’s gone rogue. This damn hair might be the death of me as it dances around in the wind, getting tangled in my face mask and yelling, “Nah, nah, butt, butt! I am freedom!”

Maybe I respect it a bit. The chunk is a jerk, but I wish there was more of that stubbornness and persnicketiness in my own personality. Maybe then I’d be better at standing firm against the waves of rejection that come with being a writer. Maybe I wouldn’t feel like I have to hide the parts of my personality others don’t appreciate or understand. Maybe I wouldn’t grow quite so depressed at the way the world continues to spiral out of control.

Instead I’d just swing my pen around in the air and sing, “Blah, de blah, de blah blah, suck it up, suckers!”

Engaged in inadvisable wordsmitheries and other creative acts.

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