When I was growing up in Alabama, all of our moms had the same hairdo: short-to-medium, slightly bouffant and heavily permed. As they got older, the dos got shorter, tighter and grayer. In the 60s, my friends and I thought those mom-dos were hopelessly square and rebelled by wearing our hair long and straight. In the 70s, the natural curlyheads started letting their locks go wild while some of us varied our long straight styles with Farrah-inspired side wings.
Now, decades have passed and most of my similarly-aged friends still sport trendy dos or just keep it simple and classic. I can’t help noticing that these chic-ly coiffed ladies all live in big cities like NYC, L.A. or Nashville and are still working, at least part-time. Whether married, divorced or single, all of them remain interesting and interested in new things.
A few months ago, I joined a FaceBook group for people who grew up in my hometown in Alabama, a place where most of them still reside. Looking at the photos of these women who are about my age was a bit of a jolt because so many of them wore that same stiff, fussy Pat Nixon plaster-of-Paris bouffant hairstyle our moms had 50 years ago. I call it Republican Hair.
The ladies who have settled into this not-so-stylish style tend to be grandmas who have spent their entire lives in their hometowns, married straight out of school, and yes, vote Republican. Even girls who were beauty queens in high school now wear this dated, horribly unflattering style. Is there something in the water down there that turns formerly intelligent, inquisitive, ambitious young girls into Southern-fried Stepford wives?
I’ve always suspected that there was something intrinsically different about those of us who got out of Dodge at our earliest opportunity and never looked back. Maybe it’s that we don’t look good with Republican hair.