Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Hair Happily Ever After

It's not just me, I swear. Stop and think for a minute about how many classic stories include hair, even celebrate hair, movies like: "Barbershop," "Steel Magnolias," "Legally Blonde," musicals like "Grease," "Hairspray," and, wait for it ... "Hair."

I've spilled many--but not all--of my hair calamities in these blogs, my quirky tastes, comedies and crises, but I've made scant mention of hair happiness. Hair romance. Hair love. I may have avoided it, like one avoids the sentimental and trite (or the plague), so as not to lapse into sycophantic idiocy.

Love, as it is portrayed in many stories, can certainly be idiotic. Even more to the point, although we're constantly told: "They lived happily ever after," marriage is never the end. Twenty-eight years ago now, I fell in love. Dave and I got married in such a hurry our friends all suspected I was pregnant. (Classic gaff, by an acquaintance around five months after Dave and I walked down the aisle: "You're still not showing!")

Nope, I was in love. At age 22, I didn't have much to show for myself besides a BA in Psychology and the longest hair I'd ever had in my life. I was too young to demand the big wedding, and too naive to be realistic. I insisted our wedding be outdoors, the aisle a pine needle carpet, no roof over our heads, so when we sealed the deal with a kiss, I could gaze up, not at a ceiling, but at branches and blue sky.

We looked ahead to a time when he wouldn't be selling upholstery fabric and I wouldn't be waitressing. He longed to be an artist, to paint large, colorful, glorious masterpieces. I longed to be a writer, to write large, colorful, glorious epics. At our wedding, Dave wore pink glasses, a pink sportcoat, burgundy suspenders and a thin burgundy tie. I wore my mother's dress, and pink roses woven through my hair.

I remember my life-long friends Lissa and Laura helped me dress, how they artistically arranged the rosebuds and baby's breath in my one long braid, our nervous laughter, the artistic challenge of pulling off something none of us had ever attempted before. My girlfriends fastened the zillion little buttons up the back of my dress, and the tiny buckles on my white, high-heeled sandals (a disastrous fashion choice in the deep wet grasses and woodsy setting).

My wedding day was a hopeful but tense moment, a time of promise, aching love, and a coiled vortex of uncertainty. Dave and I, my parents, my friends, all made it up as we went along. The only script was one we'd written ourselves. And as I stepped forward along the forest aisle, I wore no veil.

When the moon is in the Seventh House
and Jupiter aligns with Mars
Then peace will guide the planets
and love will steer the stars
This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius

(from Hair, the musical)