I grew up in New Jersey in the '80s. That means one thing: big hair. I've always had natural curls, but as a teenager, that didn't stop me from getting twice-yearly perms—with the small rollers, please, for maximum frizz—and dousing my hair each morning with a typhoon of Aqua Net. It was simply how you did it in those days. I had big hair, my boyfriends had big hair, we all had big hair. Our prom looked like the poodle division of the Westminster dog show. To me, a massive coif went hand in hand with wild, spontaneous trips down the Shore and like every teenage girl within 50 miles, I also knew that it made your butt look smaller. Even now, in my mid-40s, though I resist the urge to mousse, my hair is still pretty big. (Recently, glancing at my long curls in the mirror, it occurred to me that they have something in common with Louis XIV's wig—which means my hair isn't just a relic from the '80s, it's a relic from the 1680s.) I know big hair looks peculiar—I know it—but for me it's a sweet relic of a time when I was oblivious to the world's taste police. And so even though I've said goodbye to miniskirts and tube tops and other youth-only fashions, when my stylist begs me to please let her chop my hair off, I hesitate. I remember the dumb exuberance of my teenage years, and all that reckless fun I had, and the knowledge that my whole life still lay ahead of me—and I tell her to give me the usual.
Next: The arduous journey to hairdo destiny