In 1982, I was twelve years old and in the 7th grade.

I wore leg-warmers almost daily with my painted-on Jordache jeans and prairie blouses. My friends and I spent hours listening to songs like Jack and Diane and Let it Whip while we practiced inhaling cigarettes stolen from our parents. And memorizing Jenny’s number (867-5309) was way more interesting than anything I was learning at school that year.

I was running with “the wrong crowd” at the time. That was the year I had my first kiss, my first hickie, my first drink, my first fist fight. I’m not sure how any of us lived through those years.

But the thing I remember more than anything about 7th grade was the day I got my first really bad hair cut.

One of my favorite TV shows that year was One Day at a Time. Remember that show? I don’t know what I liked so much about it. I thought the mom (played by Bonnie Franklin) was crazy not to get some of that Schneider action. He was gorgeous, like a modern day tool belt wearin’ Rhett Butler.

Mostly though, I just wanted to look like Valerie Bertinelli. She had the BEST hair.

So one day, I asked my mom for some money and I rode the bus into town to get my hair cut by my friend Susan’s mom at her salon.

Only one problem: I didn’t have a picture of Valerie Bertinelli with me. I didn’t think I’d need it…she was such a big star at the time. Surely I could just mention her name and get her famous feathered do.

But, what was her name again? You know, the sister from One Day at a Time?

Apparently, Susan’s mom thought I meant the other sister. The, uh, less attractive sister who would go on to become infamous in real life for addiction issues and surviving years of incest at the hands of her sicko father. Bless her heart.

Photo Credit: Photo Agency

Because lo and behold, when she finished snipping away and turned me around in that beauty parlor chair, I shrieked with horror. And then I burst into tears and cried like my dog had just died. And then so did Susan’s mom. She felt so bad. “Don’t you like it, Sweetie? But I did what you said! Layers around the face, but still long, right? Like that girl on the TV!”

Oh my God. My heart still breaks every time I see it. Try not to focus on the gray Member’s Only jacket. We’re talking about the hair here, not the official Air Supply sanctioned 1980s fashion staples. Oh, and speaking of staples, why yes, these pics are from my Mom’s scrapbook! She tried so hard to make me feel pretty by dolling me up and taking pictures even though I was clearly distraught by my failed Valerie Bertinelli hairdo attempt.

Here’s another angle for your viewing pleasure:

Yep. Business in the front, party in the back. I’m pretty sure Susan’s mom should get credit for inventing The Mullet. That was ten full years before Billy Ray Cyrus made it famous! Bitch must have taken my middle school yearbook with him to the Curl Up N’ Dye Hair Boutique.

I was absolutely devastated. Would Danny DeLuca still like me? Would Heather Franklin make fun of me?

My best friend Karina invited me over to try and help me figure out a way to style it differently. Maybe a curling iron would help it look less boy-mullety. But, no…nothing worked. I just needed for it to grow back. And of course, it did…eventually.

I learned some important life lessons that year:

1.) Always take a picture with you when you want a new hair style.

2.) Stylists are not mind readers.

3.) Bad hair cuts happen.

4.) Moms and best friends are critical allies during beauty crises.

5.) It’s just hair. It will grow back.

6.) Middle school boys don’t really care about the hair on your head.

7.) I know every word to every single one of these songs.

8.) A bad haircut and lots of black eyeliner are great diversions from having only one breast.

9.) Even if your mom doesn’t let you wear makeup, you can just put it in your purse and apply it when you get to school.

10.) It’s a good idea to remove your earrings and apply a thin film of Vaseline to your face before you engage in a school yard girl-on-girl fist fight.

I have an appointment for a haircut this coming Friday. You can bet your ass I’mma take a picture with me. But if it doesn’t work out, it’s just hair. It will grow back. I’ll probably bring some black eyeliner and a tube of Vaseline with me anyway, just in case.

How about you? Ever had a really devastating haircut? How did you cope?


PS – Y’all, I’m 15 “likes” away from breaking into the Top Ten at’s list of the Top 50 Mom Blogs! If you haven’t voted for The Bearded Iris yet, how ’bout helping a sister out?


© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris. All words and fashion mistakes are my own.