My Italian “Hair”itage gone Brazilian…

Never in a million years after writing countless blogs on kids, family, inspirational life lessons and even went as far as to vent about my O.C.D dog, would I ever think I would write about my very own hair.  Yes… hair.

As I lay poolside this afternoon, a vision of a young girl with ponytails crossed an already scattered brain as I felt the silkiness of flowing hair down my back when adjusting my chair to face the heat of sun.  It wasn’t always that I had such beautiful hair like this, that it has allowed me to think of the journey my hair has gone through over the years.  Often writing about my journey’s in life, in never dawned on me that my hair would go through the same journey with me.  I’m not talking about trendy hair going through years of mullets, spiked and spiral hairstyles… I’m talking about my “hair”itage.

Growing up in an all Italian family left me with an ancestry of “roots” with coarse, unmanageable, frizzy hair that often resembled “Cousin It”from the Adams Family.  I know this is true because I recently read a book that asked me to think of my most favorite childhood memory, and the first memory that came to mind was when I was about ten years old and mama called me from outside to ask if I wanted a ponytail.  Not a big deal you say?  Okay, lemme go back a bit.  When I say I came from an all Italian family, I came from a bunch of Italian women who only adorned short hair.  Often categorized in this family of short haired people with the same wirey look I resembled, they would couple me with the “WE don’t look good in long hair honey”, “WE think that long hair covers your face.” WE, WE, WE!

All I ever wanted was long hair… that I would go as far as venturing into my father’s carpentry workshop in hopes to find a spiral of shaved wood carvings to hold against my head.  Oh and the time my grandmother crocheted a yellow bonnet blanketed with spiraling curls all down the back of it that I often would place over my head in the privacy of my room, just to feel something hairlike against my back.  Now that’s pathetic.  On the occasion when I could convince my mother to try long hair again, the frizz would outweigh me literally and remarks of “You look like you have a rats nest on your head!” would bring the ol’ scissors back to haunt me again.

And so, that one summery day of ten years old, I must’ve done something right ’cause Mama asked if I wanted a ponytail.  The smile across my face was enough convincing for mom and suddenly not one, but two ponytails traced either side of my head.  I immediately ran outside to play jump rope, as I knew that would be the easiest way to have new ponytails flap against my head, a feeling I had to wait till age ten to have.  That was the memory I had poolside.  That was the thought that answered my most favorite childhood memory.   It got me thinking, my whole life always craving long hair and by time I was a teen and able to control my own hair length and hair looks, the chore of frizziness was never ending.  Hours sweating underneath a hair dryer, only to walk outside and have the infamous mushroom head right by my side.  Thank God big hair was in, in the eighties and I learned to live with a “hair”itage that would take up hours of my time.

Continuing long hair throughout adulthood, I kept my “hair”itage a secret, like you would dark circles under your eyes hidden by concealer… and when the topic of hair would come up between girlfriends, I often would say, “Well you see my hair is half-ass hair.  It doesn’t know whether it wants to be straight or curly.  It’s just half-ass.” Hairstylists would assure me that I looked great in long hair.  “Oh yes, you definitely should keep your hair long.” “I love it long, don’t you?” “We’ll just cut a pinch off, ’cause it’s looking really great this length.”  So, I keep my hair long believing in different stylists over the years as an antidote to the Italian curse I was brainwashed with.

It’s true, right?  If you suffer from frizzy, unmanageable hair, you know my gist?  If we straighten our hair through blow-drying, it never comes out straight or smooth without accompanying a 400 degree hot iron to flatten the crap out of it.  If we let it go curly, it psyches us out every time, pretending to curl when facing the mirror, but then vanishes as soon as we turn our head to exit the bathroom.  Not very nice.

To top it off I got a job managing a hair salon!  What were they thinking?  Of course I wore my hair up during our informal interview that surprisingly led to another interview and surprisingly I got the job.  Did they know what secret “hair”itage lie underneath my lifesaver of a hair clip? My hair-time tripled in the bathroom with countless passes of the hot iron to smooth out an signs of frizz, but those professional stylist soon called my hair-bluff and began sitting me in the chair like a time out.  Only in this time out chair I was primped and plumped into a sea of silkiness in just minutes that would take me hours to achieve.  Every day I walked in the salon, the same scenario happened… one glimpse of me and “In the chair Mare.”  “Mare get in the chair.”  Eventually, they would just point and I would sit like a trained scolded dog.

So what makes me a happy hair lover now?  Very simply the Brazilian Blowout.  “♪ ♫ Aaaaaaaahhhhh….♪ ♫” can you hear the Angels singing this praiseful tune?

The Brazilian Blowout is the latest hair trend right now in Hollywood, and fortunately for me, our salon just happened to be the first certified Salon in Bucks County to have this new innovative hair treatment.  A hair treatment that DE-frizzes hair?  Huh?  The first to jump in line, I received my Blowout a week ago, and all I can say is, is this what normal, shiny hair feels like?  I’ve had stylists make my hair look effortless before, but the real test was when I would wash and style it myself.  Let’s just say after doing my first blow-dry, I literally opened the bathroom door, woke hubby up and said grabbing my hair, “Is this insane!  I mean LOOK at my hair!”

Not one swipe of the flat iron ladies! I should just put the iron to rest.  Just a simple, fast blow-dry and I was ready to go.  To give it the ultimate test, I spent most of the day outside in the scorching heat and not one piece of frizz popped from my head.  If you check out the website, you’ll read all the wonderful adjectives, like smooth, shiny, manageable, easy, controlled, etc.  But the adjective I would like to say is, it’s just NORMAL.  Normal hair.

So my Italian “Hair”itage is not so bad.  Having long hair is not so bad.  Had this secret been available to us Frizzies years ago, maybe Mama would’ve had the joy of flowy, shiny hair to tie up in a kitchen full of pasta and gravy.  But for now I enjoy spilling this secret with you as a proud walking billboard for the Brazilian Blowout.  No more naughty chair for me!

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4 thoughts on “My Italian “Hair”itage gone Brazilian…

  1. What a great article/post Marianne! You are an incredible writer and I need to put your blog on my list to follow :).

    I can almost see you in my mind’s eye being so thrilled with your pony tails and going out to jump rope. I can also totally relate. While I may be one of those girls with “normal” hair, my husband is always saying, why would you curl your hair? People pay a lot of money to have straight hair (he he) – at the age of 8 or 9 my stepmom decided she’d had enough of my long hair and cut it short. Boy. Short! People actually thought I was a boy a LOT. I too used to fantasize about having long hair again and would wrap my head in a towel and walk around pretending… All I can say is if I DID have your “Hair” itege would be all over this Brazilian Blowout!

    Now I have officially enjoyed my cup of coffee, thanks!

  2. Hi Marianne,

    I just wanted to say I LOVED reading your post .. it was just like reading my OWN story over the years!

    I had the same short coarse wiry hair as a little girl .. always being mistaken for a boy my mum kept it SO short! 😦 I had four siblings and none of these had this wiry, unkempt hair that grew OUT instead of down! Then, when I was in my thirties, I found out that I was adopted! I have not been able to find out many details other than my father was Italian!

    Do you know if our wiry Italian hair is from a particular part of Italy or just scattered all over? I think my father was from Genoa but i’ve never been sure?

    I’m 52 now and an absolute expert with the blow dryer and the straighteners! I will look out for the Brazilian Blowout but it’s probably not as available over here in the UK as it is in the States. Would LOVE to try it though. You made me laugh reading about your antics as a child to try out long hair. I used to take off my vest at night but hook the armholes around my ears so that the vest hung down my back slightly, just to be able to feel what it would be like to have long hair! I have CRAVED long hair all my life and still do, even at THIS age! lol!

    Ahh well thanks for such a lovely and funny post. I’m glad you like your hair and have found the answer! I will definitely look into it over here!

    Take care.

    Beth
    (Liverpool, England)

  3. May I ask which salon in Bucks County you went to? And would you recommend the person who did it? Thanks in a advance!

  4. I honestly had NO idea why my hair was half straight, half wavy, and super frizzy until I went to Italy. I wasn’t raised around my Italian family, and even if I had been, they all had black, curly hair that could get away with frizz. It actually had a shape! Unlike mine. My own mother is German with blonde, thin, straight hair and she had no idea how to handle mine. I was cursed to say the least! Anyways, my husband’s family lives in Italy so we went for a visit starting in Milan and town hopping to Brindisi… Oh my goodness. All of the Northern Italian women I met had the biggest, poofiest, non-curly hair I’ve ever seen. They’d pull half of it back with a clip and embrace the floof. I was finally among my people! We all basked in the humidity- our hair now giant pillows of frizz. It was incredible. I always thought I was just weird; because what blue eyed white girl with light hair and pale skin has uncontrollable frizzy non-waves for hair?

    Although I spent the last year trying to accept and love my weird hair… That Brazilian blowout sounds pretty incredible…

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