Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

Welcome to my World---Woman, widow. senior citizen seeking to live out my days with a sense of whimsy as I search for inner peace and friendships. Jeez, that sounds like a profile on a dating app and I have zero interest in them, having lost my soul mate of 42 years. Life was good until it wasn't when my husband had a massive stroke and I spent the next 12 1/2 years as his caregiver. This blog has documented the pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties and finally, moving past it all. And now I’m ready for a new start, in a new location---a continuum care campus in West Michigan, U.S.A. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. (Just remember I'm looking through my prism which may or may not be the full story.) Stick around, read a while. I'm sure we'll have things in common. Your comments are welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Hair Sytles and Early Mornings

At lunch we got to talking about how much time people sleep and what time they do it after a guy was asked where his wife was. “Still sleeping,” he said. It was nearly one o`lock in the afternoon. “Is she sick?” someone asked. “Nope,” he replied. “She was still reading at 3:00 when I got up to use the bathroom. She does that. Reads all night and sleeps all morning.”  

One guy here likes to go to bed at 9:00 and get up at 4:30. I think he’s crazy to set an alarm that early but he likes the quiet of the mornings to read or drink coffee with his own thoughts. I get that in a married couple. 24/7 in retirement could get on anyone’s nerves no matter how much you love each other. This couple have been together since they both served in the Air Force during Vietnam. He’s also got the best deck in the complex to watch the world wake up over the lake in one direction and in the woods in the other direction. I do understand the attraction of early mornings; it's the kind of thing that inspires poets. But I'm too old to change my body clock...even though I know it's coming in my future when they'll drag me out of bed at 6:00 in an assisted living facility where everything runs on institution time. Got a taste of that when I was in Respite Care after breaking my ribs.

Another guy living here is a fixture at the lunch table but wife never comes with him. She likes to eat alone in the apartment or goes shopping while he socializes over our 2 to 2 1/2 hour lunches. A lovely couple but recently she came back from a morning at a spa and asked us all how we liked her new hairdo. It was shoulder length and was teased to stand out as wide as her shoulders. It looked like a rat’s nest on steroids and I had to slap my inner bitch from blurting out, “If I got a haircut like that I’d be looking for a new stylist.” Before the makeover she wore her hair in a messy bun at the nape of her neck. And before anyone else says it, I know that voluminous, full-to-the-shoulders look is in fashion right now but her hair is too thin for that and even with the teasing you could see right through it to her scalp. On her, it looked like she stuck her finger in a light socket which proves my theory that some hair styles need to stay in their own lane age and ethnicity-wise. 

Okay, I just opened up that can of worms, didn’t I. I remember having this same ethnic hair discussion back in 1979 when Bo Derek shocked Mr. and Mrs. Mainstream Public with her blonde cornrows while promoting her movie, 10. In a recent interview she said, I get in trouble for it now. I get a lot of criticism for being a culture vulture, that I’m being insulting and even worse, hurtful to African American women that I copied their hairstyle. However back then, the reaction was totally different. I can’t tell you how many African American women came up to me and said things like, ‘Thank you so much. I work at a bank and my boss would never let me have that hairstyle at work but now I can.’”

The evening we sat around with neighbors discussing Bo Derek the room of four couples was split down the middle by sex. The women all hated her hair and the guys all loved it. It would be interesting to gather the same group of us together again to see if we still think ethnic hairstyles should or shouldn’t cross the color line. Now, we'd probably be talking about dreadlocks or sisterlocks instead of cornrows. We see a lot of sisterlocks here because all of our waitresses have them---waist long and tall enough to add another 6-7 inches to their height and full of twists and patterns with locks of color here and there. I really don’t like their hair because it’s the only thing you notice about the girls.

They also have me wondering if the hair is real and if it itches or is hard to sleep on. Does all that hair make their necks hot and their shoulders sweat? Does the weight of their hair give them headaches? All questions I don't ask, of course. But if they were white I probably would get around to asking and I wouldn't think twice that I'd be stepping over a line. All I know for sure is it's supposed to be rude to feel an African American's hair texture. A little boy in an iconic photo with Obama did it but if that boy had been white the story drawn from the photo would have been entirely different.

Ohmygod, does this post make me sound racist? Hair is (or should be) just hair, a fashion choice as much as a practical choice. When I was in high school I was trying to wear smooth pageboys with my Italian, thick and naturally curly hair. I slept with my hair rolled around OJ cans. Didn’t we all at one age or another want a hairstyle that was totally wrong for our type of hair? Well, maybe all of us white women wanted that but having cornrows and Jheri Curls labeled as acceptable hairstyles for black women was wanting a hairstyle that was suited for their hair texture yet those Employee Handbooks forbid them for decades. White people setting a nearly impossible standard for women of color in the work place. Nothing racist about that, she types while rolling her eyes.

I need to remember to be more tolerate and less critical the next time I see the shoulder-wide bush of white hair around this campus and the over-the-top sisterlocks that look like they outweigh the tiny girls who wear them. It truly is just hair and subject to our personal whims. Mrs. Bushy White Head is having fun with her new hair style and our waitresses are doing the same.

Recently the Enrichment Director asked all of us to submit photos of ourselves when we were young. Fifty of us did it and those photos were pasted on poster board and we were asked to identify as many pictures as we could for a contest. One person as able to correctly ID seventeen of us and the person who was identified correctly the most often was none other than me. Apparently my smile hasn’t changed since I was a kid. But what I thought was more interesting is how many of us still had the same hairstyles. ©


38 comments:

  1. Thanks especially for the pictures at the end. šŸ˜Š❤️
    ---Cheerful Monk

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh, Jean, you're lovely. It's nice to put a (smiling) face with the witty writing style. As to your topic today, for the last decade, I have chosen my seating so I won't have direct sunlight shining on me. My hair has not grayed perceptibly at 73, but my collection of auto-immune disorders and their associated medications sure have thinned my hair.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thinning hair is a major concern of the women here. I have so much hair that I still need a tiny bit of thinning with each haircut, but not like I used to do when I was young. It's got to be disheartening to deal with thin hair. Choosing a seat where the sun doesn't shine through your hair is brilliant.

      Delete
    2. I hadn't realized that I'd been switched to Anonymous again. I've corrected that.

      Delete
  3. Hair. When I think about how many different styles I tried, down through my life, it makes me dizzy. Most women have caved in to the pressure of society (or their hairdresser) to try a variety of styles. Sure, we look fabulous coming out the door of the salon, but then the frustration of trying to re-create the look the next day at home--where we don't have the right tools/products/technique. And think about the money we've spent. (Maybe we shouldn't think about that...)

    One of the positive things I experienced during the Covid years was looking at my hair differently. I have silver/white, fairly straight hair. I am done fighting my hair's natural tendencies. The battle is over. The hair won. Now I wear it in a classic bob/lob (where do these names come from?).

    Now my big question. When my husband gets his haircut, it actually takes longer than mine. However, he pays about about a third of what I am charged. Hmmm...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That cost thing between men's and women's haircuts has always bothered me because my hair has been short for years and cut like a man's essentially.

      During covid I had a lot of fun with my hair because it grew about six inches and would do different things. Got a lot of headbands and barrettes back then. But it was time-consuming hair and when I was able to go back out, the hair went. Covid changed a lot of woman's look because it gave them a change not to color their hair.

      Delete
    2. Jean, I almost envy you your thick hair and short hairstyle. Also wanted to tell you I loved seeing your pics!!

      Delete
  4. We did that photo thing once in our break room when I was working and I was the "least changed" too. I love the photos you shared. As for hair, I just got my big bushy Covid hair cut this fall -- right before it came back in style, I guess. Trust me -- it will wear thin for her.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She's already worn her bush in a bun since the haircut but then a few days later it was back in the bush. I had to adjust my thinking about her hair because you could see she was truly having fun with it and I'm all for that. Said she's had the bun for decades...was a librarian and looked the part.

      Delete
  5. I absolutely love it when anyone does anything interesting with their hair. I'm sure it's because I'm not daring at all with mine. I think it's terrific when people experiment with different colours and cuts and extensions, etc. I live vicariously through them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm kind of the same way. Love looking at hairstyles online and in books but I always come back to what is practical for my life and type of hair.

      Delete
  6. Well, the whole 'cultural appropriation' thing leaves me cold. Down here, pinatas are as common at Anglo birthday parties as at Hispanic, and everyone loves Tejano music. While a hairstyle, a food, or clothing may be typical of this culture or that, no one can claim ownership. As a Black friend said to me a couple of years ago, "I hate soul food, but I love Italian. Fight me."

    When I got home from the weekend, I finally gave myself a haircut, and it looks ever so much better. Mine is so fine that if it gets too long, the weight pulls it down. I've been cutting my own hair since the day in the late 80s when I went into a salon and came out looking like Sinead O'Connor. I swore off salons at that point; who knows how much money I've saved.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You've saved a TON of money. Currently I pay $47 a cut plus a $10 tip and if I did color or got a blow dry with the cut it would be more.

      The way you describe the cultural mixes where you live would be nice everywhere but does it truly run deep or just on the surface? Aren't you in Red Neck country?

      Delete
    2. Sure, I'm in what people call redneck country (or good ol' boy country), but that's its own kind of stereotyping. Given a choice between a good ol' boy and a C suite sort, I'll go for the guy in the beat-up Ford pickup every time.

      There's some unhappy history, to be sure (like the antipathy toward the Vietnamese who arrived after the Vietnam war and turned out to be better shrimpers than anyone around), but most of that is gone, now. In some communities where the Vietnamese were despised in the past, they're now buried in the same cemeteries with Anglos and Hispanics: equality at last.

      In fact, it's been interesting to watch Hispanic and Anglo communities come together around opposition to the Mexican drug cartels. Turns out Mexicans and Texians all hate the violence that marks today's 'border war,' and really would prefer that their kids not get caught in the middle of all that.

      Delete
  7. Here's what I found about that lovely photo of President Obama and the young boy:
    Jacob Philadelphia quietly asked the president: "I want to know if your hair is like mine." Obama asked him to repeat it, then replied, "Why don't you touch it and see for yourself?" and lowered his head." A sweet moment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really was sweet. Obama was such a classy president and is still a classy guy.

      Delete
  8. Love that picture of you at the end. :-) Hair is such a loaded topic on all fronts.

    My dear daughter with pin straight hair went to Chicago (unbeknownst to me) with a friend in college after deciding she wanted dreadlocks. The process was crazy damaging, her hair looked awful for quite a while (IMO) and she ended up having to have it cut off at 1/2 inch all over her head. That was the year after she decided it looked great in dark green and the year before she had it double processed from dark brown to platinum blond. She has the fastest growing and sturdiest hair of anyone I know. I'm sure I'd be bald by now if I'd tried all the things she's done. LOL. I do love some of the long braided styles black women wear, but like you, I wonder if it's not heavy. I'd probably have a headache from it. I am a short hair woman and have been for years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I visualize those heads of sisterlocks coming off at night and put on a wig stand. Our waitresses are all related and young---they have a 8:00 curfew on school nights to be home from work. I forget what Island their family is from but they are the sweetest, best manners girls. Some of their hairdos are complicated! I can image your shock at you're daughter's dreadlocks. One of my blogging friends has them and explained the process in a post once.

      Delete
  9. I tried for the Farrah Fawcett look in college and it was a no way. Then I decided to get a perm and looked like a poodle until it grew out. Dumb decisions!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Who didn't want the Farrah Fawcett look when she was popular? I like poodles so I would have loved your other "dumb" decision. LoL

      Delete
  10. I, too, did the orange juice cans. Or ironed my hair. Finally I'm comfortable with my own wavy hair but I did go back to blond after being grey during Covid. Your short hair looks FABULOUS! It is good to SEE you as well as read you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I never ironed my hair but I remember when doing so was fashionable. Just never had that long of hair. Covid changed a lot of women's relationship with the beach bottles and dyes. I like it when women feel confident enough to go natural but evidently it feels weird go most women to go gray. I never colored my hair so I didn't miss it when I went gray.

      Delete
  11. Ok I have short hair have had it short most of my life, in fact if it gets too long I get headaches due to it being too long.

    I am now a early to bed and early to rise as I find myself unable to sit still for very long from about 3pm.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Every since I broke me ribs I fall asleep during the 5 o'clock. I really hate doing that! Long hair makes me feel and look crazy. it's too thick!

      Delete
  12. I too enjoyed the photos. You are a lovely looking woman! I have some photos almost the same of me as a child with the same straight bangs. It didn't seem like I saw many other little girls with those bangs but there were probably plenty.
    Love the short hair and great glasses on you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw thanks! I love those glasses too. I think a lot of little girls had the roll type bangs back then. My mom actually used a bowl to shape my haircuts. I was probably 14 before I had a professional haircut.

      Delete
  13. You do have the same lovely radiant Smile. I won't weigh in on hairstyles...lol...well... you know. *Winks* I get more interest and compliments from people of Color who love my Locs and ask about caring for them so theirs might grow as fast... apparently mine are growing twice as fast as Dreads usually do...who knew?... I think Bo rocked Cornrows... I've had them when Princess T wanted hers and wanted me to get them with her. She looked adorbs and I thought they hurt and were high maintenance compared to Dreadlocks... Dawn the Bohemian

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have grown to appreciate and like the cornrows. I can picture them on Princess T but then she'd look cute in just about anything. You take collagen for your hair and nails, don't you? I've been thinking about it for my bones.

      Delete
    2. Yes I do use powdered Collagen for bones, skin, hair and nails...I highly recommend it. I put it in my protein smoothie...Dawn the Bohemian

      Delete
  14. Sisterlocks? So that’s what they are called! When I was in Barbados, this was the hairstyle of the manager that was insulted by the guest wanting to tug on her hair! I wrote about this incident on my blog. Thank you for putting a name to this hairstyle for me, Jean.

    Deb

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sisterlocks, as I understand them, are very similar to dreadlocks only thinner locks that can be braided and woven into patterns. I remember that post of yours! I understand the desire to "test" that kind of hair with a tug BUT it really would be rude and out of line for a stranger to do.

      Delete
  15. I love the two photos -- eyes and smile easily recognizable as belonging to the same person. I read somewhere once that it made evolutionary sense for people to be on different sleep schedules so that some could keep watch while others were sleeping. I am a lark myself, and always have been, getting up with the sun for as long as I can remember (and my memories include sitting in my crib as a toddler and watching the sun rise through the east-facing bedroom window!).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've read that evolution theory of why some of us are night owls and others are morning people. Makes a lot of sense doesn't it.

      Delete
  16. Such cute pictures of you! I love all this talk about hair because hair is so important to me. My husband recently bought me a year's supply of a special, kinda expensive hairspray that I love because he knows I won't buy it for myself. Oh, and my son decided to grow his hair into dreadlocks a few years ago (we are white). He was in college and let them grown for about 6 years. They were nearly down to his waist and he said that heavy hair did give him headaches.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a sweet husband! Dreadlocks always looked heavy to me...and a lot of work.

      Delete

Thanks for taking the time to comment. If you are using ANONYMOUS please identify yourself by your first name as you might not be the only one. Comments containing links from spammers will not be published. All comments are moderated which means I might not see yours right away to publish through for public viewing as I don't sit at my computer 24/7.