The Samson Effect

All my hair devices courtesy of my daughter Sonja

An ordinary story for the first week of ordinary times.

My Mane

I have always had a good head of hair, so much hair that when I was younger, it took forever to dry. I grew up in the 60’s, and I cannot remember going to a salon to get my hair cut. Our mother was way too busy raising seven kids to worry about what our hair looked like. She would always cut my bangs so short that it would take months to grow again. I was never that girl who fussed over her hair either. In grammar school two mean girls would always gang up on me to find something wrong to make fun of. I had already developed thick skin by being bullied on a daily basis by three older brothers, so these girls never got the best of me. I would give them an odd look and walk away. One day I decided to comb my hair up in a bun. They came up to me and said, “Who combed your hair?” I remember giving the question a long thought; I wanted to be sure my answer was acceptable. If I said that I combed my hair, they would certainly make fun of me, but if I said that my mother combed my hair, they would be at a loss for words. These were mean little girls. I always thought that they resembled frogs, walking frogs, I was a cute kid. So after a long pause I finally answered the toads, “My mother combed my hair.” “It looks like it!” They ran away laughing. Man, I was so mad at myself; from that day on I understood trick questions.

My sister Norma and I have the same problem with our hair. I’ve always been observant when my hair was being styled so I felt that I could cut Norma’s hair. What a disaster! Norma had holes on the side of her head for months. In God’s justice, my payback came quickly. We had a wedding to attend and it was one those last minute things that I always get caught up in. While getting a pedicure, I  decided to get my hair trimmed at the same time. I suffered the worst hair cut ever! I honestly believe that this Asian woman had a fake license to cut hair.

Angela Davis
Me trying to look like Angela Davis
The Scare Crow look

My hair continued to be a labor of loathing. I went through my teens with a shag haircut, then came the ridiculous perms. Once I was trying to save money but I really wanted to look like the rest of the world, so I went to the other side of town for a cheap perm. I knew I was in trouble when I discovered that no one in the salon spoke English. Even the chemicals that was used on my hair smelled a lot stronger. I was told to place my head back while the stylist worked on someone else. She took so long, that my neck was completely kinked and the tight curlers made an almost permanent indentation on my scalp. But that was just the beginning of the nightmare. When the hair stylist returned, my neck was so stiff that I could barely move. One at a time I saw my hair kink up as she removed the curlers. Remember Angela Davis? My hair looked bigger than her ‘fro. Oh, but I did save a lot of money. Sonja was a little girl, and she had to witness this terrible episode of my life. I drove around and passed my house several times because I was afraid that Mike would not recognize me or that he might divorce me. You would think that I learned from my mistakes, but oh no! Not me! I hated the perm and took matters into my own hands. Prior to this perm, when we lived in the San Fernando Valley I suffered the same fate. I had one of my neighbors use lye to reverse the perm. Again I purchased the lye, but this time my hair was so damaged that I resembled a scarecrow for several months. This was my last perm!


The Etienne look

Beverly Hills

I have dragged Mike into my hair woes. My laments were so relentless that he arranged for me to get my hair cut at Vidal Sassoon Salon in Beverly Hills. My hairstylist’s name was Etienne. This was early 90’s, when gays were barely peeking their heads out of the closets. Etienne was gay, but back then it would have been considered a guessing game. I remember hearing one of my friends say that she had a gift for determining the sexual orientation of a person.  Etienne was Oriental (that was the correct term at that time) and though he was not flashy, his clothes looked very expensive.  He was wonderful and I always felt like a million bucks when I walked out of the salon. Etienne liked my hair short, so that meant frequent trips to Beverly Hills. Once the traffic on the 405 Freeway was so bad that I missed my appointment. I was small potatoes for Etienne as he sometimes boasted about famous clients he had, so he dumped me for being late. I moved on to his assistant, Brit, but the drive to Beverly Hills was taking a toll. Finally Brit opened a salon in Redondo Beach. For years I remained a loyal customer  to him and his then-wife Jazmina, but again the driving was too much, an hour up and back, plus the styling was a four- hour ordeal. So I was back to square one. Super Cuts; sometimes, other times just a walk in wherever.

If you’re wondering how I will make the connection to that of Samson in the Bible, it’s very simple. Samson’s hair was his superpower; this is where his strength came from. Women’s hair is pretty much the same. We are the consumers of billions of dollars to have great hair. We get tricked just like Samson did with the Philistines; and even with our eyes open  (his were cruelly  gouged out) we continue to purchase more and more hair products. I for one am pretty gray-haired and must color my hair every three weeks. I do this at home, and, much to my husband’s distain, I make a big mess (but I’m saving money).


Me, Misty, and Alyn

For the past five years Misty has been styling my hair. We joke about the hours she keeps; she is in fashion when late, not fashionably late. If you have a 10 a.m. appointment you may make it home in time for dinner. Misty is an artist who has to have a cup of iced Starbucks coffee before she starts her project. She colors and highlights my hair every four months. Misty always looks like she just had a makeover; she is trendy and, like Etienne, her garments look expensive.  I can never understand why there only seems to be a few strands of  hair on the floor when she is done. It doesn’t  matter because for one day my hair will look fabulous.

I did not take a Nazarite vow to never cut my hair like Samson, but I did take a vow to always serve the Lord. I pray you enjoy my stories. God Bless!

Judges 16:17 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

17 So he told her all that was in his heart and said to her, “A razor has never come on my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother’s womb. If I am shaved, then my strength will leave me and I will become weak and be like any other man.”

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