The Great Head Debate

Get your mind out of the gutter, people.  (Okay, me too, because I totally went there.)  Anyway, I thought it was high time to take a moment to look back on what has to be one of the most egregious gaffes I ever had to endure as a child.  A mistake so large that I still find the time to bitch about it at least once a year (as I have for 30 plus years now) to the person most responsible for my broken heart—my mother (cue the bloodcurdling scream and the dun, dun, duuuuun)!

What could possibly bring out this most annoying side of my character?  The one subject that not only gets certain family members to roll their eyes but also makes them yearn to run away?  In all my years of being a kid, tween and teen I was never gifted the most coveted of all birthday/Christmas presents–the Make Me Pretty Barbie Head.  You know, the one with the long blonde hair and accessories that could teach any young lady how to braid, style, and create the most gorgeous coiffure.  I know that you know what I’m talking about because you probably had one.  Everyone did.  Except for me (are those violins I hear?).

Now I try to take into account that my family was not very well off and we rarely got gifts that were very expensive and trendy for the time.  That’s not to say that we didn’t ever have popular toys, we just got them in a really unusual way.  My dad used to make money going around town doing something we called “junking.”  He was a master at finding people that had a ton of stuff to get rid of (or things that he found outside of a house/building collecting rust and dust) and acquiring those items to be rebuilt, repurposed and resold.  He was so good at this “job” that he put himself through college, and managed (with my mom’s indispensible help, of course) to provide food and a roof over the heads of seven kids.

I say I try to take this into account because I am still so upset by all of this! I asked for that Barbie head over and over again and I never, ever got one (and my mom will probably say I never even asked her once).  Well, my dad might have found one with half of her face scratched off and a serious hack job for a hairdo, but it was never the one I wanted to help me learn the necessary skills I would eventually need to get me through my tragically un-cool high school years.  I was an incomplete person when I graduated school and I am an incomplete person now—I still can’t make a my hair look very nice, even after all these years. (Thank goodness for perms and headbands.)

Some have told me that if I would have gotten off my butt and actually practiced on any one of my siblings I might have learned a thing or two about doing hair.  They are not convinced that the lack of this educational tool (in the prime of my malleable youth) had anything to do with the fact that I became a person who has a) no desire and b) no skills to create a beautiful hairdo.  I lost any interest in learning how to do hair, and that’s a fact.   Do you see what my mom set me up for? Oh, the humanity!

As a kid, torturous minutes of sitting through my mom pulling my hair out while trying to detangle me would have been endured much quieter if only I had ever known the struggle that she had to go through day after day.  But I didn’t know, because I never had the hands on experience necessary to understand how difficult a tangle (especially one that had been building up for at least two days)could be to fix. So when I had to get through those terrible hair sessions I was basically a naive young girl who didn’t know how bad it was for both of us.  And it all could have been diminished with the purchase one $15 head.  You reap what you sow, mom.  You reap what you sow.

My middle school experience was basically a two year exercise in agony with my head of thin, stringy hair that I never knew how to scrunch or make bigger.  Other girls would have enough product in their hair to cause an atomic explosion if a match were lit, and I slunked around with nothing more than the aroma of generic dandruff shampoo wafting from my skull. (I can see and hear your reaction right now mom. I love you.) If you couldn’t tell before, I’ll say it again: I blame it on the lack of Barbie head.  (There’s got to better way to say this.)

High School was even worse because it really mattered that you had an interesting hairdo.  I don’t say good hairdo because it didn’t matter if your hair was good, it just had to be interesting.  These were the years of bangs that sat four inches high and hair was half shaved off with checkerboard designs (think 1980’s Cyndi Lauper).  They were the years of getting up two hours before sunrise to use hot curlers AND a curling iron to get just the right look. We’re talking Flock of Seagulls hair; mullets; rat tails; heavy metal hair, and on and on and on… but not for me.  I never had to get up early to do my hair. I think the only times I ever got up early to do my hair was maybe for picture days and family functions.  Talk about deprived.

My fear in not knowing how to do hair properly was the single biggest contributor to my desire to have a boy when I found out I was going to be a mom.  No lie.  The pressure to create the perfect pigtail? Forget it. Cute little ringlets for Christmas pictures? No way.  I need to give birth to someone that I could throw on the toilet (okay, set gently on the toilet) and attack (okay, gently touch) with an electric shaver.  As he gets older I realize that my boy is a little more complicated in the hair department than I ever expected, but, ah well, that’s what stylists are for, right?

So here I am, a 42 year old woman who still can’t do her hair in a braid without bending upside down (it’s hilarious, believe me), still drools over pictures that friends post of their cute kids with their even cuter french braids and ponytails, and still laments the fact that she didn’t get her stupid, plastic, disturbing Barbie toy.  I actually found one on sale at the local thrift store about two years ago but it looked super creepy and I didn’t buy it.  I stood in one spot and wrestled with that decision for five full minutes. But now I finally realize that that ship has sailed (and for many long badly coiffed years) and I think I have to stop bitching about it now.  (Sigh. You’re off the hook, mom. But don’t let it happen again!)

© DRB 2015

photo: cassiestephens.blogspot.com

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53 Comments

  1. I didn’t have the Barbie head either, but I actually managed to learn french braiding on a tiny barbie doll head! So of course, I bought the big Barbie head for my daughter and you know what, I could probably donate it to Goodwill and she wouldn’t even notice! 😒

    Liked by 1 person

  2. […] of which is @whereshappy.  She, like me, is a forty-something, messy-haired girl that thinks we have something to say that people want to hear (or read).  She makes me […]

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  3. I love this! You wrote a wonderful story that made me smile and laugh. Fantastic work.

    My mom did get me (or maybe my sister) one of those creepy Barbie heads, and I can tell you that it didn’t help me learn to do my hair. I think I was too young to realize that is what it was for.

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    1. Thank you. In all truthfulness, I’m not sure I would have learned how to do hair even if I did have one!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great read, as always. I can ID with the hair. So, why didn’t they have Barbies with curly hair. Totally not fair. I used to flat iron my hair but now I let it curl. Too much heat is not good for your hair so I thought – better curly than gone. 🙂

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  5. I TOTALLY understand this. Judging my your references, I am older than you, but I never had this toy either. My first Barbie wasn’t even a “real” Barbie, but a cheaper imitation. I mean she could wear the clothes, but she wasn’t a “real” Barbie. But my Ken, Midge, and Skipper were! No dreamhouse, no convertible, none of that other stuff. And boy, did I ask, and boy, did I feel deprived. And, no, at 60-something, I still can’t do my hair. (Don’t have any kids, male OR female, so didn’t have that problem.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is a bigger epidemic than I thought! It’s like the parents all got together and decided to let us all sweat it out!

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  6. Hey! I nominated you for the Sunshine Blogger award! My most recent post has the details if you want to participate.
    Happy Blogging! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I totally want to participate and it may be tonight or tomorrow. I love stuff like this.

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  7. that’s what I’m talking about…in a nutshell…a wonderful story with all the elements working together…really enjoyable reading…

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    1. Thank you! I am starting to have an overall goal for my blog/future book: If I can give at least one person a pleasurable read during an airplane flight or while waiting in a doctor’s office then I’m doing okay.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. yes, as a measure of success, consider that done! A compilation of shorts like these would be amazing and fun

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  8. I love this post but I gotta tell ya that I had many barbies and never EVER learned how to do my hair, I blame it on the lack of curly hair dolls when I was young. I felt so different by not being like them… I think those silly dolls are also the reason why boobs in my mind should look like balls and waist, the size of your head…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahahaha! Barbie sure knew how to make us feel kinda bad about ourselves. But they were so fun to play with. I never thought
      about the boobs part, though. The waist, yes. The boobs, no.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I have enough hair for six people. the 80s were easy for me – all I had to do was tease it a little bit, spray a coat of Aqua Helmet, and DONE. It was the Barbie hair that wouldn’t cooperate.

    Then straight, smooth hair was in….and I took my leg warmers and stepped to the back of the stage….

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    1. I envy your thick hair! I could use one full bottle of hairspray and would still need more an hour later. Oh well! Did you ever try to straighten your hair? Is that even possible?

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      1. We’ve tried. It would take years. I need to do more pushups first because I can’t hold my arms up that long….

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah, you totally need a ripped upper body to do some of the hairdos out there!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. This made me laugh! I didn’t have one either, enough said..

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    1. Ah, another deprived child. It was an epidemic!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. An old family dilemma that was screaming to be shoved into the public realm!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I never had the disembodied Barbie head. I also cannot do hair and am grateful every morning for my wash and go curly locks. But my story has a wicked twist because my MOTHER bought my daughter a creepy Barbie head when she was four years old! Gasp! How could she love my progeny, my flesh and blood, more than me??? The irony is that my now 7 year old is already better at doing her hair than I am at doing mine. Your theory is proven out. Our inability to do hair is directly related to our lack of Barbie head.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am totally sharing this comment with my mom–I think I need to triple underscore my point! She read this and told me that it was good I got it out so that Thanksgiving dinners could go more smoothly from here on out. Your daughter getting a head and not you?! That is just evil!!! Haha. I love that your daughter seems to be doing well with hair artistry, because SOMEONE has to! Also, did she get the creepy Barbie head that has hands attached for doing nails? WEIRD!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No creepy hands for this generation of Barbie heads!

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    2. I am totally sharing this comment with my mom–I think I need to triple underscore my point! She read this and told me that it was good I got it out so that Thanksgiving dinners could go more smoothly from here on out. Your daughter getting a head and not you?! That is just evil!!! Haha. I love that your daughter seems to be doing well with hair artistry, because SOMEONE has to!

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  12. I can totally relate. Now I have really short hair and love it. No fuss no muss. Kept my girls hair shorter til they could start “styling” it themselves so I didn’t have to do much of that for them. Now they both have long gorgeous hair that looks great down or all prettied up. Touch of me envies them in a retrospective kinda way. Loved the post, gave me my smile and laugh for the day, thanks for writing it. Marianne

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good plan on starting with the short hair. That never occurred to me. I used to cut my hair short to not deal with it and then decided I wanted to have long hair for when I lost weight and I looked awesome. Now I have long hair and I have to work on the losing weight part again.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Too funny. The length of my hair dropped as the weight of my body dropped from 200 to 120. I guess I looked at it the other way – when I was heavier, I hid behind my hair, now I don’t need to. Even went bald for a fundraiser for cancer a few years back. One of the best days of my life. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Lol. Great post! I think that all of us have that one toy that we never got. But, the years of pain and suffering have inspired us to become good writers! So, in the end I guess we could call it a win 🙂

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    1. Yay! The silver lining! Thank you for reading and commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I never had that toy either. It does look creepy though

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sooo creepy, and there are even more strange versions out today, like a miniature Barbie head with shoulders and hands (I couldn’t believe it) that all girls to work on nails!

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      1. Yeah. The one you pictured looks nice
        actually. I wouldnt have been scared of it. But the new models are freaky. My niece got one but she’s afraid of it

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  15. Such an entertaining read! 🙂 my two desired and never had toys were 1-a creepy crawler maker, and 2-a talk boy. So much nostalgia reading through your lack of hair experience. Thanks for sharing

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    1. I had to look up which toys you were talking about! I don’t remember the creepy crawler maker but I do remember Talk Boy. Man, it’s tragic when we don’t get what we want!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. lol it is haha. mine were always toys for boys. Other than american girl dolls, my interests lied mostly in science, exploration, sports, and spy equiptment.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Those are toys that I would be interested in now! When I was a kid the toy I got was probably in a pink box.

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  16. LOL…I never had ‘the head’ either…much to my 2 daughters lament….I never could and still can’t French braid hair….they’re all grown up with daughters of their own…and have reminded me over time about my lack of motherly hair and makeup skills along with their being blessed with my near sightedness!! Their brother didn’t inherit my poor eyesight, a fact they blame on the fact that I breast fed him 2 weeks, while they were deprived my boob…..

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  17. If only we were all born bald for life! So much teen-age anxst could be averted. Loved reading this and going back in time.

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  18. Oh boy… You hit the nail on the Barbi head! It’s only been in the last few years I’ve found some semblance of a style I like but the weather has to be just right and the stars perfectly aligned for me to get it right! I’ve just gotten used to being that girl w messy hair ☺️

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    1. I completely understand. I’m like you, but now I’m just kind of the girl with the headband!

      Liked by 1 person

  19. I’m giggling over here! Boy, do I ever remember 80s hair, and boy was I ever bad at it, too. My mother is lucky I didn’t know about this Barbie Head, haha! I did, however, regularly pay my little brother part of my allowance so I could practice makeup and hairdos on him. A mutually beneficial deal. 🙂 Thanks for the story!

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    1. Ha! That’s awesome. My brother would NOT let me do his hair (although to be fair, I don’t think I asked him). I think I got some hair time on my younger sister but
      I don’t remember anything specific! Make-up is a whole story all to itself.

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      1. “Asking” was never enough. There had to be cold hard cash involved, haha!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I completely understand! Did he make a fortune?

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      3. I’m sure I earned some of it back with other things. We had a very complicated Favour System that involved allowance money, secrets kept from parents, services provided (such as hair modelling!), etc. “Well if you owe me two and I owe you one then I don’t really owe YOU one, because YOU owe ME one!” Basic math skills. Ha!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Love it! If I remember correctly my family’s system was giving up and trading penny candy we were able to afford at the local store. Did I just seriously age myself with that information?

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I remember one-cent raspberry jellies and 25-cent chocolate bars. Are we even? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      6. We are even!

        Liked by 1 person

  20. Love it! I never got the Easy Bake Oven….so I don’t know how to cook…booo hooooo just kidding……really enjoyed the blog. Keep them coming!!!!

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    1. Ha! I did have an Easy Bake Oven (that my dad found) and I still can’t cook!!!!

      Like

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