Editor's Query: Tell us about a beauty disaster

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The year was 1972. I was 22 years old and, like many other women of my generation, had long, straight and, in my case, extremely thick hair. My normal hair-care routine was very simple: wash, towel-dry, comb and go.

My cousin, who was getting married in Fort Myers, Fla., had asked me to be a bridesmaid. That February, my husband and I flew down from Washington. It was winter, but Florida was as hot as ever.

For this occasion, I wanted my hair professionally styled. The new Hairy Jungle salon came recommended by my Florida relatives, so I called for an appointment.

True to its name, the salon had a jungle motif, with plenty of bamboo and greenery. My stylist was young and wore her hair teased up. But she was not accustomed to working with long, thick hair. She proceeded to set my hair on huge rollers, using copious amounts of styling gel. I was put under a hair dryer for about an hour, then was led to her station. I watched in the mirror as she unwrapped the rollers, revealing a mountain of thick, golden brown waves. By the look of horror on her face, I knew that she had no idea what she was going to do with it.

She began to tease my hair, which served to only increase the volume, and then to apply hairspray. I sat in shock as I watched my hair turn into a cotton candy haystack. I finally yelled, "Stop!" The overwhelmed stylist was sheepish and apologetic as I quickly paid her and ran out to the car, where my husband was waiting. His own expression of horror soon turned to laughter as I grabbed a hairbrush and tried to beat down the mess. We drove back to the hotel, where I put on my bridesmaid dress, a heavy gold satin gown that made the humidity even harder to bear and my coif even frizzier. I stuck a bow in my big hair and headed for the church. The wedding photos were priceless. At least the bride looked perfect!

Deborah Buckley Dodd, Fairfax Station

© 2009 The Washington Post Company