Smooth-Do / Jewfro

Thankful for this morning for kids who keep me silly. Last night, an old friend came over with and pizza dough from Meyer’s, the Montreal-style bagel place here in Burlington. We drank wine on the deck and told the story of rolling past each other in the hospital hallway almost five and a half years ago, still wobbly from childbirth, her son and Pearl born three days apart, and us just missing a chance to be roommates with newborns for a night. Now those two fly the nest to begin kindergarten in two days.

Aviva, who always says she “hates being the oldest” at social gatherings, cut through the grown-up talk by getting busy with detangler and a comb, two things my hair rarely encounters, and transporting me to the 1920s. Then she made me pose with the most girly smile I could muster before collapsing in a fit of giggles. “It’s so smooth!” she said.

Later, Greg took all three kids to the last baseball game of the summer, and my friend and I did that deep-dive over a sinkful of dirty dishes that women do, catching up on relationships and patterns and mortgage rates and life changes, remarking as we have for almost a decade now on how “we really have to do this more often.”

After she left, I did a little work, then readied an exhausted Pearl for bed and read the next-to-last chapter of “When Life Gives You O.J.” to Aviva. I ate a bowl (or two) or Ben & Jerry’s Magic Brownie ice cream, removed the Guatemalan hair wrap I’d donned over my strangely smoothed-down do, and collapsed into vivid dreams that vanished within moments of waking next to two girls who had migrated into my bed like little birds in the night.

I rose early and warmed the last of yesterday’s coffee with milk on the stove, cozy in the fleece I just dug out against the new morning chill. Greeting me in the bathroom mirror was not a flapper but this lady, pre-shower, pre-contacts, pre-product. This ain’t no smooth hair, this uncoiffed morning mop a good five inches vertical.

As a kid, women were always touching my hair and telling me how much they spent to try for such curls, while I of course coveted my sisters’ smooth locks. From time to time, I’ve entertained friends with my best Janis Joplin imitation, which involves a hairbrush, a headband, and mile-high hair. But I have always kept such moments private for fear of public humiliation.

After picking up a new memoir, Staceyann Chin’s “Other Side of Paradise,” this weekend to accompany me during Sunday’s storm (check out her gorgeous portrait on the book cover), I was newly inspired to embrace the Jewfro, an early-morning moment of untamed  appearances. Let it grow or get the clippers–no matter, no pretense, no perfection here, just hair.

And maybe this little prayer: May my wild nest always be a place for little birds to land.

5 thoughts on “Smooth-Do / Jewfro

  1. Gel says:

    love, love, love this post!
    As a newbie, here (hair), I HAD to check out this old post b/c I suffer from “those adorable curls my goyshka g/f’s would ooh and ah over, talking of the perms they needed to PAY For to get that result.) I reminded them how the weather could be predicted from my hair: humidity factor expands my Jewfro into EEK and uncontrollable.

    Great pics of you! (I admit my current pic on my blog has been tamed by curlers- yes tamed from natural curls to straightened out moreso with curlers. Our youngest daughter has used a straightening iron for a few yrs (gasp- I clutch my heart in throes of ancestral agony as if she has betrayed our “roots” (pun intended)).



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