Recent unanticipated expenditures in the Boswell household including the purchase of a new car have caused my husband and I to take a closer look at our monthly budget. We’ve cut back on eating out and begun shopping the discount bread store. I’ve value-engineered our cable and cell phone packages including a (rather ingenious) intervention on my part which involves simply cutting off my son’s data and texting privileges when he somehow exceeds the “unlimited” plan I spend too much money on anyway.

One of the areas I am most reluctant to cut is the one marked  “Health and Beauty”. A recent review of my monthly expenditures confirm the “natural” look I have boasted for so many years is costing me an unnatural amount of cash. Hair color, styling products and make-up are expensive!

Having grown up in the shadows of  Farrah Fawcett, Cindy Lauper, and the Breakfast Club, I have never relinquished my love for big hair. As a Southern woman of a “certain age” I have lived years under the honor code of “the higher the hair, the closer to God”. It’s an expression nearly every woman in the South between the ages of 50 and 60 not only believes but  lives. Therefore when I recently ran out of my favorite salon style hairspray, I was thrilled to find a huge $9.99 can of something called “Big Sexy Hair” at my local TJ Maxx. With visions of St. Peter and ’80’s angelic icons dancing in my head, I knew this was the right hairspray for me! While I was at it, I also splurged for the $6.98 “Sexy Light” shampoo, which promised manageability and control, without weighing me down, attributes that would surely help my hair, if not my social life.

The next morning as I got dressed for work, my hair was initially light, manageable and gloriously big! I congratulated myself on my purchases and began to spray “Big Sexy” on my newly styled “do”. The first spray from the aerosol can sputtered out in a glob. Giving it a good shake, the second attempt came out in a fierce narrow stream.  Undaunted, I closed my eyes tightly and began to spray, my arm doing a series of rapid and elaborate figure eight’s as I tried to dispel the stream into a spray. I opened my eyes to find disaster!

I had been “flocked”!

Dear God, I looked like a cheap Big Lots Christmas tree, my uppermost branches adorned with heavy mounds of fake snow. I slipped on my reading glasses and squinted at the fine print. “Big Sexy” was not hairspray at all, but some sort of styling mousse. I tried to brush the snow from my hair but it was useless. My “Big Sexy” hair had taken a definite turn for the worse!

Later in the day, as I was recanting my “disast-hair”, one of my friend’s who I can always count on for sound advice suggested I visit Sally’s Beauty Supply where I could purchase professional products at a discounted price. After perusing their shelves over my lunch hour, I determined their hairspray was such a bargain, I would purchase 2 cans. The sales clerk at the checkout told me that for an additional $15.00, I could save 10% on all purchases for the next year. Since I use a lot of hairspray, this seemed a no- brainer.

The next few days did not go so well. The rain and humidity that saturated Greensboro over the next few days were not my fine hair’s best friend. The hair that held such heavenly promise had taken a harrowing turn, if not towards hell, certainly the flatlands.

“What happened to you?”, asked another friend noting my sagging locks. Realizing that my newest “bargain” hairspray offered no resistance to humidity, I conceded my latest purchase was no bargain at all!

By Sunday, I didn’t care what it cost. Desperately tired of looking like an abandoned pound pup, I was willing to pay anything. I drove thirty minutes to the mall to purchase my original hairspray from the expensive salon. Perusing the shelves, I was suddenly confused. My old trusty brand now came in two selections, both offering maximum control. I asked the young sales clerk to explain the difference.

She peered out at me dramatically from dark, side-swept bangs. “Uh, this one says “Platinum”” the eye said while the mouth smacked loudly on a wad of gum.

“Yes, I can read that”, I said testily, “but is one of these better for humidity?”

“Ummm, I guess I need to familiarize myself with this product”, the eye confessed. “I don’t really use hairspray.”


I roll my eyes , a gesture the clerk fails to notice. This person cannot help me.

At this point, only God and Farrah Fawcett can help me. “Give me one of each,” I say, handing the eye the last of my $100 bill.

“And a bottle of Elmer’s Glue, while you are at it!”