My Maginot Line


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by cheri

When the trials of the modern world, from that merciless stud V. Putin, to that ineffective flim-flam man B. Obama, weigh heavy on my mind, I look to the esoteric, to that impenetrable  line like the Maginot that has been with me since my inception–that line of hair that defines my face, my bangs.

Ever since I can remember, I have worn bangs. Oh, I suppose that when I first met this world, having arrived from another in a hurry, I was bangless, but those little follicles got busy–the ones right above my forehead–and soon fringe fell down, like a wispy theatrical curtain.

That curtain has gone from wispy to downright thick, from a burnt umber to an ebony brown.

It has been from behind that curtain that my strength, my insistence that things go my way, my refusal to deal with the incongruities of life, burst out from the Forehead of Life.

To this very day, I obsess about my bangs.

Like the origin of (wo)man, my bangs too have evolved.

They’ve gone from an impenetrable boundary, a veritable thicket,  to a wispy razor-cut picket-fence.

They’ve been cut straight-away, so straight that Cleopatra would have adopted me at first sight there on the Nile, as I bobbed in my little reed basket, abandoned like Moses.

They’ve been butchered by a well-meaning barber, one Charlie Tate, who while speculating whether the Dodgers or the Giants would win the National League Pennant in 1962, just kept trimming upwards until my bangs were banglettes, little stumps of hair sticking out straight, refusing to conform to the curve of my forehead.

Only a year ago, the day of an important presentation at school, my former hairdresser just kept snipping and snipping while I, with eyes closed, trusted her. When all was said and done, she had revealed my eyebrows, such that I had to have them waxed and arched and groomed. She blamed me for her hack job and kinda laughed, reminding me that our “Hair will grow.”

I need a bang trim every two weeks, so now, still smarting from a year ago, I drive 30 miles to have a skilled bang-trimmer snip and notch, just a tiny bit. After all, we all have our fetishes. Yesterday, Katie trimmed them into a little arch, so just part of my eyebrows shows.

Some women obsess about their nails.

Some men obsess about their, oh, whatever.

My bangs are some of my best friends, with me since that day when I cut them myself with children’s scissors, that day when the blades so dull, just bent the hair, that day when in frustration, I ran to my Daddy’s desk and took real scissors, sharp ones, and maneuvered them onto my Forehead of Life, cutting as best as a little girl could, cutting an inch from my Maginot Line, an inch of thick stuff that fell onto the linoleum floor, thick stuff that when cut, left a two-tiered line of hair that Charlie Tate fixed later that afternoon. (Thought I’d mimic James Joyce…





About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
This entry was posted in My childhood, Writing and Teaching and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to My Maginot Line

  1. You did a bang-up job with those bangs. Cute as they are, there are many other things which define you , as I’m sure all the others who love you will attest. AK

  2. Cyberquill says:

    I like you bangs. Sorry my English. #AmbiguousPickUpLines

  3. shoreacres says:

    I remember having bangs for a while in childhood, but my mom was far more into Shirley Temple curls. Long ones. As soon as I could, I got away from Shirley and the bangs. There was a terribly awkward period, while I tried and tried for really long hair, but eventually I gave that up.

    About twenty-five years ago, I trusted a hairdresser, and emerged looking like Sinead O’Connor. I cried for three days. Then, I said, “No mas!” And that was it. I’ve cut my own hair ever since, and intent to keep at it until arthritis or something brings it to a halt.

  4. Christopher says:

    In turning your gaze away from the machinations of the world’s great and powerful leaders, in order to re-direct it towards the no less important matter of how you look, you show an admirable sense of proportion.

    When you speak of “bangs” I assume you speak of the “page boy” look, that seems always to have been in vogue with renowned lady writers, as well as with ladies with otherwise intimidating intellects.

    The better to reinforce this image, are any spectacles you sport, of the black horn-rimmed variety? I do hope so.

    • Ladybugg says:

      Yes, Christopher: the Buster Brown image. Very attractive…And yes, unfortunately, I have astigmatism in my left eye and fair vision in my right, so glasses, contacts, yes. I have never worn the black horn-rimmed style but after your description, perhaps I should consider some. Thank you for this suggestion!

  5. Brighid says:

    I had a bowl cut for many years, so bangs, even now that the sides are longer, still the bangs remain…. They are a measure of distance between me and the rest of the world.

  6. wkkortas says:

    Such steadfastness in re one’s hairstyle is to be admired. Speaking for myself, I’ve gone a bit neo-punk, as my look is a bit pink on top.

    • Ladybugg says:

      Ha! Such steadfastness says other things, too, doesn’t it? As my husband (who still has hair) said to my son (who shaves his head because he started losing his hair early), “It’s not about the hair…)

  7. Richard says:

    The term bangs was new to me when I first read it here on your blog and now I discover that apart from their obvious attractions they also provide an impenetrable line of defence.

    The biography of your hair causes me to wonder why I was never thus adorned. It is too late now. I have been hit by the recession.

    It seems to me that the model for your illustration could be a Russian Doll in disguise. So beware! There may be others hidden inside, armed with assault scissors.

    • Ladybugg says:

      Well, I keep waiting for some history buff (like you) to note that the Maginot Line was not impenetrable. The picture is of Dora the Explorer, a big cartoon hit here in the US, clearly a woman of independent means (and bangs).

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