My grandmother introduced me to the world of Aqua Net when I was a kid. One morning before church, I was in my grandparents’ bathroom looking for toothpaste. I was around 8 or 9 and saw this metallic teal spray can nestled amongst the bottles of beauty supplies. I realized it was hairspray, so I thought, “I’m going to make my hair really pretty for church.” This, of course, is not exactly how the story ends. I basically just held my hair out with a brush, sprayed the dickens out of the can, and let it fall. I looked like I had stuck a fork into the wall socket when I left the bathroom. Bless my family for not saying a word about how silly I appeared; only when we left church and I shook the Pastor’s hand that I got the impression I had made a faux pas. Having been kids during the 1980’s, I guess my friends often feel stuck in that prom-hair look where they spray heavy duty hairspray on and burn their hair with curling irons into huge, bouncy styles. At least, some of my friends. And, naturally, some of those friends become brides.
As a bridesmaid in a wedding with just one of those friends who cherished the original Footloose, the rise of Andre Agassi, and everything influenced by Duran Duran, I remember agreeing to get my hair done with the rest of the bridal party. Little did I know how that would turn out.
We arrived at the hair salon early on the morning of the wedding. I realized right away that it wasn’t a typical chain but something ripped straight out of Steel Magnolias. With two blue-haired stylists accommodating all eight of us including the Mother of the Bride and the Bride herself, the salon was cramped and my nose stung with the tang of ancient perm solution. Regardless of the tiny space, we were in a great mood and ready to get our beauty on. Also, bless the Mother of the Bride, we were indulging in fresh bagels and mimosas. The first person to get their hair done was the Matron of Honor. As she sat under the care of one of the two elderly stylists, I noticed that they were teasing her hair. If you’ve seen an episode of Toddlers and Tiaras, then you *know* the effect that hair teasing has. Simply put: the hair gets BIG. As the MoH gained an extra foot of height, I realized we would all look like that. To finish off the look, a fake bird was clipped into this nest of brunette hair and Aqua Net amply applied.
Did we look like a group of girls with beehive hairstyles mixed with a serious 1980s New Wave vibe? Yes. But what is most important, especially as a bridesmaid, is to follow the directions of the bride. I have never had bigger hair in my life and it took an hour to wash out all the hairspray. I lost several strands of hair in an attempt to brush out the teasing. But big hair is often a feature in weddings, especially in certain regions. And unless you are the bride, keep mum about how this immense hairstyle makes you feel. It’s the vision of the bride and we bridesmaids merely frame the bride however she chooses!
**title quote by Karin Gillespie, A Dollar Short: The Bottom Dollar Girls Go Hollywood