Vidal Sassoon, we salute you. We, the wash-n-wear women of Washington — we, the bobbed and chopped, who are constantly in pursuit of the perfect cut, the one that would would require no products (“Product,” rather — somewhere in time the word became singular), no tools but a wide-paddled brush.
Vidal Sassoon — your real name, unbelievable! — you died on Wednesday and our hair drooped in response. You delivered us from the beehive, from the teasing and plumping; you made possible a world in which we could dream of hitting the snooze button, three or four times, before finally staggering into our power suits in time for the morning breakfast meeting on the Hill. Our hair would be ready for this meeting, no muss, no fuss. Our hair would be sleek, sleek and swishy, like the woman in this commercial, which made us buy this shampoo:
It never turned out this way, of course. We got the bob, and our hair was still not maintenance-free. It stuck up in weird places. Our stylist had convinced us to go short, but it turned out we didn’t have the hair to go short. We had a strange cow-lick in the back of our head, and the bob made it worse. The shampoo wasn’t as promised, either. Nobody’s hair got miraculously shiny, we didn’t achieve the miraculously promised gloss. For awhile, we looked like Dorothy Hamill, and we know that was never your intention. (“If you don’t look good, we don’t look good,” the slogan was, and we have to say, there was a period of time where you looked really quite bad.)
That’s life, though, isn’t it? The things labeled “low-maintenance” often result in higher work. Hair simply doesn’t bounce in real life like it does in the commercials.
But you made us believe in the fantasy of low-maintenance, and the message of hair-liberation:
Free yourselves from the salon. Rely not on the hairspray. Shampoo your hair and get on with your life — and we tried to, every day.