Disaster Area in My Rear View

Decades ago, I played with a three-way mirror while my mother tried on dresses. It seemed magical to study my profile and the  curly back of my head. While standing in my Mary Janes and appraising my rear view, I must have thought, “Good enough.”

Self portrait - Susie Lindau (McCartan) 1

I always thought the back of my head resembled this self-portrait painted in college.

Flash forward years and many hairstyles later:

While leaving the physical therapist last summer, the receptionist practically leapt over the counter and tackled me. “You have a hole in your head!” She shouted. Everyone in the waiting room looked up from their cell phones and magazines. They shook their heads in disgust.

“What do you mean?” I replied.

A wide-eyed nurse heard the shouting and rushed to my side. She said with alarm, “You can’t go out looking like that.” She took me by the arm and led me down the hall. I stared back, mouth agape. Now that we were alone, she whispered, “It’s your hair. Do you have a brush?” My cheeks grew warm and I shook my head. As I ran my fingers through what felt like a flat spot on the back of my head, she returned a doubtful look.

It was hopeless. I avoided eye contact as I left the building. A hat covered my uncoiffed catastrophe while running errands that day.

When I arrived home, I pulled out a dusty hand mirror to examine the offensive spot. “Oh, my God.” I said out loud to no one. The crown of my head had its own weather pattern. It resembled the eye of a hurricane or the vortex of a tornado. My “hairicane” spun out of control from one nasty cowlick. I brushed it, but it was as stubborn as the nap in a 1970’s shag carpet. It would only go one direction. I had to soak my head and style it. What a concept!

My mind raced to all the times I’ve run out without looking at the back of my head. Like all the time. I’ve prepared for tennis, social events, and shopping by applying makeup, but never bothered checking my rear view hairstyle. Reality sunk in. Oh no! I’m one of those people! You know, the ones who look fantastic from the front where their hair is all fluffed out and perfect and the back looks as if it was bashed in with a shovel.

self portrait with self 1

I layer my hair products. Even in hurricane force winds, my hair won’t budge.

I’m the same way with jeans. When I asked my daughter and husband if they check their rear ends before buying, they both responded the same way. “My butt is the first place I look!” I’ve never thought about how my butt looks. I was told it’s as flat as a pancake, so I took their word for it. It must be genetic since my son inherited my flat butt and my attitude.

There are other reasons why I’m self-conscious while walking away. I am afflicted with bounceystepitis. There’s no way of changing that. I’ve tried. I resemble Tigger from Winnie the Pooh. Yep. I bounce.

Now, I check the back of my head with a mirror before stepping outside. I bought industrial-sized and strength cans of hair spray. I have an arsenal of styling products and gels. I have developed a nervous tick of patting the crown of my head to be sure no hair-storm tempests brew. There are a variety of hats in my car, just in case.

I’ll never care about what my butt looks like in a pair of jeans even though they sag like a low-riding teen-aged boy’s and I’ll always bounce as I walk away, but I never want to be accosted by a receptionist again. Now excuse me as reapply my hairspray helmet.

Do you style your hair?

67 thoughts on “Disaster Area in My Rear View

  1. LOL it used to be it took hours to get dressed, hair and make up.. now it takes about 7 minutes.. My hair has thinned out over the years and I brush and spray and pray for a good day.. Not that it matters these days:)

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  2. I love this… I prefer not to know what I look like from the rear… the front is enough stress. I do style my hair and use copious amounts of hairspray. Its fine and flattens with the humidity making me look like I am not trying!
    My mom had a double crown and was always fussing with it.
    Remember “teasing” Ugh! Men are lucky.

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    • Hello kindred spirit! My hair has always been a problem. My hair is fine like yours and my bangs have always been the object of waaay too much attention. I only have so much time to dink around with it and the back of my head gets skipped!!
      I wonder what my friends will think of this post! They’ll probably laugh and nod their heads….

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  3. I absolutely use a hand mirror every time I dry my hair. Even worse than messy, it is starting to get a bit thin at the back (curse of my Azorean heritage), so I move every hair into exactly the right place so that it still looks full.

    Or I pull it into a ponytail and forget about it.

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    • Good for you! I have one I use everyday, now…. Once my vortex has spun, no amount of hairspray will keep it from parting. I have to re-wet it and start over again. I have two in the front of my head too!
      My parents should have named me Alfalfa!

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  4. Very funny – I drive my wife nuts because I am oblivious to my appearance. Just being there should be enough – but others are judging us and how we look…. it’s all good to me! Thanks for the chuckle, it’s picture day Thursday and I gotta make sure my front looks good because that’s what shows up in the yearbook! Have a wonderful week!

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    • Good luck! I have two cowlicks on the front of my head which makes bangs a challenge too.
      Danny always said it looks great, but after my experience in the reception area, (true story!!!), he looks more carefully…

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  5. I’ll be honest, I hate styling my hair! Absolutely hate it. Half the time I don’t even brush it (it’s short I can get away with that). But, I’m growing it out which means there are those awkward stages and I’m having to start paying more attention which I don’t like!

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    • I’m growing mine out too! I think if it’s fine, it’s easier to curl, but it also has a mind of its own. My head is full of cowlicks which doesn’t help.
      Honestly, the reason I cut it off to begin with was because my long hair needed styling and I thought it would be easier. Well, that and I wore that red wig in my avatar picture and loved the cut. I have to style my short hair anyway!!!!

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  6. I too avoid looking at the back of my head. Of course in my case that’s because it’s starting to go a bit thin – and I’m only 35, dammit! It reminds me of a line I heard in a sitcom once “Baldness is nature’s way of making sure men don’t have any more crap hairstyles.”

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  7. By any chance, is your helmet hair due to a generous application of Aqua Net?? 😉 My cowlick is the death of any hairstyle I attempt – it only lets me part my hair on the left, and my hair is so coarse that it does what it wants to most of the time. Sheer mutiny!

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    • Oh you’re so nice! I had to be looking pretty awful for those lady’s to grab me before leaving the rehab center. It really shook me up and come on, this is Boulder, land of the laid-back hippie!!!!

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  8. Glad it is under control. I was watching a video that a neighbor took at a function many years ago and *gasp* there I was with a silver dollar bald spot. I haven’t looked back there since. Lots of laughs here Susie. Loved the painting.

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    • They really overreacted and I was very embarrassed. It was after my second surgery. I showered at night and had to sleep on my back so you can imagine! It’s a really obnoxious cowlick that splays out occasionally. Now I’m careful to brush it back when it’s wet. Problem solved!

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  9. Ha,ha,ha!! Susie, this is hilarious! I was chuckling all along. Now you got me wondering about the back of my hair! I better check ASAP. As to my butt, I would rather not know. Mine is flat and wide and that’s all I need to know. Now if you excuse me, I’m off to check the back of my hair. 🙂

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    • It never occurred to me to check! I’m sure I slept on my back with a wet head. It happened right after my surgery. I’m sure it looked okay from the front! 🙂 You know me. I had to share!

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  10. Well it’s nice to know the the folks at the doctor’s office were trying to save you some embarrassment, but you wouldn’t have been embarrassed in the first place if you didn’t even know about the horrible condition of the back of your head. Now you’re over-the-top self-conscious about the back of your head. I’m not sure they did you a favor.

    In either case, it’s your bright and sunny disposition and kind and positive attitude that catches peoples’ attentions anyway so don’t worry about what your head looks like. Or your butt. We love you just the way you are.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Patricia! You made my day! The world could use a lot more people like you. 🙂
      I agree that they were trying to help, but in a horrifying way. In the long run, they did me a favor. I’m not super paranoid, but I do check the back of my head more often these days.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh Susie! Do I relate! I do try to look at the back of my hair. In fact, I try to thoroughly check out my appearance, and if I had a 360 degree mirror, I’d probably at least use it. LOL! All too often I leave the house in the morning feeling decent about myself and then get to work, take a look in a mirror or see my reflection in the glass and suddenly realize I look unkempt. How I do that, I really don’t know. I often say that the only thing really spontaneous about me IS my hair.

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    • I know!!!
      I went to a meeting last night and had a wet head. I brushed it straight back and thought it would be fine. When I got home I noticed that same vortex had spun. The hair I combed back had slid to the the side. My HAIRicane is too forceful!!!!

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  12. Bouncing trumps everything!
    My grandmother always made a big deal how you should always look at your rear view before leaving the house. (And if you have to bend over in the front yard, always make sure your head is towards the street as you bend…she had lots of rules for “ladies”)
    Now I manage to get my hair brushed after throwing on clothes to walk the dog early – and usually once before going out – but usually forget to bother to look other times…should…but don’t. You’re lucky – cold weather means hat time! (I’ve got a canvas one for sun/dog walks/hiking….my daughter probably pretends she doesn’t know me.
    Back of head – darn, now I’m going to worry….

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    • Mine was vortexing in full force today. I tried straightening it and thought I had it handled, but it took a ton of hairspray to keep my hair from parting. Hats are my friend!!!!
      I love your grandmother’s rules! She was a smart lady. No one wants to resemble those old lady cut outs with the frilly underwear… 🙂

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  13. I live in a ponytail…unfortunately. My hair is so thick that it needs to be thinned every other week to be manageable if it’s down. It’s not worth the effort while chasing a 3 1/2 year old and 15 mo old around all day. The jeans though, I always check the rear before I buy. I mean, why do they put designs on the pockets if not for someone to look at?

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  14. I’m not big on styling my hair and I hate putting product in my hair. I guess it’s good that I am a hat person.
    Not to seem too awkward, but before I got to the part about your butt, I commented (in my head) that you have a really nice butt and that I would like a butt like that. It doesn’t seem flat to me at all.

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  16. Pingback: Beauty and the Aging Beast | Susie Lindau's Wild Ride

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