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…