We all have coping mechanisms that have varying levels of success and effectiveness. Maybe it’s an aggressive self-care regime of bubble baths, overdue library books, and gently swinging on a front porch every time you see a FedLoan envelope. (Me). Maybe it’s developing a persistent-bordering-impressive delusion that the last season of Game of Thrones was actually a meta-joke and there’s another, true version that buried in HBO’s vaults where Jon Snow rightfully took the throne. (Also me.) Maybe when confronting stress, you cozy up to a Himalayan salt lamp, chant your life mantra developed specially by Oprah’s personal spiritualist while doing hot yoga with your trainer Sabine at your private estate at Martha’s (Vineyard, that is. Stewart’s is in the fall), while wearing your single-use, $400 athleisure leggings. (Gwyneth Paltrow, probably).
There’s plenty you can do, but my tried-and-true method to
repressing overcoming challenges and stressful transitions has always been to threaten Getting Bangs.
Ahhhh, yes, Bangs. The miracle pill that will make you the Manic Pixie Dream Girl you’ve always fancied yourself. It will somehow take off fifteen pounds, make you sound like you understand complex economic policy, and attract non-threatening men who totally won’t tell you about their librarian fetish within fifteen minutes of meeting you. Bangs will take away your school debt, impeach Tr*mp, and develop healthy boundaries with toxic people in your life. Bangs, what can’t they do?
Make your face look good, that’s what.
Reader, you knew this was going to happen. I’ve been vaguely threatening it on social media for months, like when CNN spent all of 2018 promising that the Stormy Daniels’ thing was going to lead to impeachment (remember that, guys? That happened and it’s not even in like, the top ten worst things about this president! I’m so tired!).
There’s been a lot of personal crises in the last year that I’m proud to say I was able to handle without Getting Bangs. Going through the ringer with depression. Getting in and then ultimately deferring law school. The failing health of beloved family members. Strained relationships. Failing to secure job after job.
But then came the stupidly whimsical film Yesterday.
After seeing it, I was a woman possessed. I had to Get Bangs. I am basically beautiful, modelesque British actress Lily James. I could pull them off! I have a second interview with a job in New York City. I can become be a Cosmopolitan Working Girl™ who knows how to balance her checkbook. Now is the time!
So with literally no research at all, I mosey my way over to a salon in Carmel connected to a Botox facility and an accounting firm.
I have an appointment with Tim, a hairdresser who bought into the v popular bleached Zac Efron/Guy Fieri look that every guy seems to have these days, who cheerfully tells me that I look like a country girl in my smock-like overalls.
I tell him I want full bangs and offer to show a picture. No need, replies Tim. I get what you’re asking. I do bangs all the time.
Despite me fully acknowledging these issues to myself, I do what I always do… and say nothing at all! I clam up around authority figures and for some reason, this 27-year-old man who got a cosmetology license from the very sophisticated cultural mecca that is Fishers, Indiana is irreproachable.
I knew it was bad when he said “oh wow, your hair really does curl” after he insisted he knew how to work with curly bangs. I knew it was worse when he said “I’m just going to trim a bit more to make it even”. I was skeptical when he straightened them, and then wetted them just to see what it looked like “more natural” only to straighten them again. And then I was resigned when the only positive thing I could say before I got the hell out of there was “Oh! I kinda look like the Samantha American Girl doll!”
Reader, I did not.
I look like Emma Roberts. Yes, that Emma Roberts.
I look like Rachel McAdams from that horrific role in an otherwise perfect film About Time.
I look like Season 1 Stranger Things’ Will Byers. I am that scene from Lena Dunham’s Girls.
It’s so bad, the first thing my mom said is “I hope you demanded not to pay for it” à la Season 2 Fleabag. It’s so bad that my brother keeps calling me “brave”.
I just have to change my personality to fit around it. I now look like I want to be called “retro” or “quirky” in this year of our Lord 2019. I want to look like I have a liberal arts degree I don’t fully utilize (I mean, I do, I just don’t want to look it). I look like I’d vote Bernie despite never reading about his policies because he’s just so cuuuteee.
It’ll grow back and with it my sense of dignity. But for now, if you see the ghost of a girl who looks like she got stuck in the Zooey Deschanel-craze of 2011 that was comparable only the the seventeenth century’s Tulip Fever wandering the CVSs of Indiana, be kind to her. She is learning.