From Our Readers

Break Up Hair

It is a plague on modern women everywhere. That haircut/dye/perm you get immediately following a break up, getting fired and any other traumatic experience. It is the worst. You always hate it, you leave the salon crying and asking, “Why didn’t someone stop me?” At least that is what happened to me, before I realized I should run these hair decisions past my BFFs.

In college I once texted my bestie “Crisis! Call me!” and when he did, I told him that my boywhatever from college had ended things and I was at Wal-Mart at 11pm, buying a boxed highlight kit. I asked him what color I should buy. Thank goodness his reply was a simple “None, and Ashley, this is not a crisis.” I learned three lessons that day, one, always ask your best friend before you buy boxed dye at Wal-Mart, two, if they are really a friend the answer will be that you should not buy it and three, that apparently hair decisions don’t qualify as crises.

I still think break up hair is an actual crisis. There is this window of time filled with emotional turmoil following a break up during which we cannot be trusted to make our own decisions. It is during this time we need our best friends the most for many reasons, but among them is for someone to put the box dye down, hang up the phone when we call a salon we have never been to and just tell us he was a jerk, but don’t ruin your hair.”

Last year I went through a tough time in my career. I was leaving one job for another and ended up on bad terms with the first employer. It was dreadful and during one tear-filled night I went to the salon to get several inches cut off of my hair. I sat in the chair bawling my eyes out while my stylist repeatedly asked me if I had wanted this haircut prior to that day, she knew that I had not called my besties and was freaked out that she was about to ruin my hair. Thankfully, she did what she thought was right, and not what I asked and I walked away unscathed.

I have not always been that lucky. There have been bangs cut too short (by me after waking up crying at 4am), perms gone wrong (aren’t perms always wrong?), pink highlights (you don’t even want to know) and just all manner of bad, bad decisions.

Last month a guy I was seeing told me I was one of many girls he was seeing and that basically I was the least important of those girls. I immediately wanted a haircut or perm, something to signify a fresh start after five wasted months dating such a jerk. Thankfully, my friends and my mom pointed out that my hair looks fine and that he didn’t deserve to have that sort of control over me. I just wonder what I would have done if left to my own devices, right now I’d probably have dreadfully thick bangs and unnaturally red highlights, to be honest.

We need to break up with break up hair. We need to call our best friends and cry rather than go sit in a salon chair. We need to throw away the outfit we wore on our first date with the jerk if we want a fresh start. We can delete his number, unfriend him on facebook, unfollow his stupid twitter account, passive aggressively tweet break up song lyrics, so many things that just don’t involve ruining our hair. It is not like he broke up with us because we aren’t beautiful, changing our looks does not bring him back, or make him regret, it just has you sitting at work with jacked hair and a head full of too many bobby pins.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I am making myself a promise that I won’t touch my hair- previously scheduled appointment or not, within one month of a break up. I just won’t do it, period.

You can read more from Ashley Heffernan on her Twitter.

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