Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Being Happy with Your Hair: Part I

"I have never watched two movies in one sitting before." This is what Sheldon said yesterday after we watched two movies in one sitting. We have Monday off from work and school and so we decided to go nuts in the film-watching department. Sheldon and I are always going around saying, "Someday we should watch Tree of Life together" or "Someday we should watch Monsters together" or "Someday we should read all seven Harry Potter books out loud and then watch all eight films together." As you can imagine, we never get around to it. 

Yesterday we finally knocked two of our film options off the list: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Princess Diaries. Both of these were off of my Must Watch With Sheldon list, meaning I had seen them both and wanted Sheldon to enjoy them too. It was a successful venture. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is a movie about spying duirng the Cold War. It is based off a novel by John LeCarré. My mother, who is obsessed with the history of espionage, loves his books about spying during the Cold War. The film stars lots of prominent British, male actors like Benedict Cumberbatch, Cirian Hinds, Toby Jones and Tom Hardy. 

I have now seen it three or four times, but last night was the first time I actually understood the plot. One reason I never quite understood it is because it is very confusing. Although the film is set during the Cold War, in which the fighting was being done in smoke filled rooms by men in suits, rather than in tanks in a field, it is very confusing to understand all the things that are going on. The second reason I have never really understood the plot is because I usually fall asleep in the middle. It is a very quiet, slow film. I loved it even though I didn't fully understand it and even though I fell asleep. 

I love this movie because of the film quality. It is grainy and the colours are dull and murky. The characters smoke constantly and you can almost feel the cigarette smoke on your clothes after watching it, like when you go to a smoke filled pub in the Czech Republic and come home with your clothes still smelling like the pub. I was reading a piece about the cinematography in the film and it said that the goal of Hoyte van Hoytema, the cinematographer, was: “We really wanted the picture to be smelly. If you can achieve that with images, it would be a beautiful thing." Quote found here.

Sheldon and I considered this film to be the meat and vegetables of our cinema feast and Princess Diaries to be our dessert. He had never seen it before, because when it came out he was a fourth grader he thought anything that his sisters were watching and enjoying must be dumb. What a guy. Anyway, I have always loved this film, even though people insist on telling me this: "Lucy Rose, you know who you remind me of? Anne Hathaway in Princess Diaries before the makeover!" Thanks. Thanks a lot. 

Come to think of it, that is an interesting aspect of the movie. It really became clear to me when I was watching it yesterday through the fresh eyes of Sheldon. The premise of the movie is that a young girl who is awkward and has huge, bushy, curly hair finds out that she is a princess. When she finds this out she has a makeover and gets her hair permanently straightened. This is the point in the movie when everyone around her notices for the first time that she is actually beautiful and has been the whole time. They just couldn't see it because of all the hair. I never realised that as a girl with unruly curls and bushy eyebrows, I was inadvertently receiving this message from the film: You can be pretty...if you straighten your hair and pluck your eyebrows. 

I think that this is not what the film intended, but I have always really struggled with being curly-haired in a world where straight hair is more common and more often seen in films and media. Silky smooth hair, like Mia Thermopolis post-makeover is what is celebrated most often. Since a very young age I was always aware that my hair was radically different than that of my friends. It bothered me. When I got to be a teen a friend laboriously straightened my hair for the first time. I loved it. It was just like post-makeover Mia. It was silky and smooth and I could swish it around me head instead of having it bob around and fly all over the place like into people's food. 

People complimented me on it. They were so surprised. Some people said things like, "Wow, Lucy Rose you actually look really pretty." This made me feel so good at the time, but later I realised, "Wait a sec. You had to wait until I straightened my hair and put on contact lenses to realise I was pretty?" I wish I could say that this made me resilient and defiant. I wish I had been like, "Well, your opinions are not the ones that shall be directing my life, thank you very much." 

But instead I told myself this: "Lucy Rose, we have learned an important lesson here. Take notes. When you straighten your hair and take off your glasses, people will notice you and think you are pretty. Otherwise not." Did I start straightening my hair all the time? No. I didn't have a straightener and I didn't have the patience to spend an hour on it every day. But I knew that I was never actually pretty unless it was straight. 

Wow. I don't think I expected this blog post to go in this direction. This whole curly-hair thing has actually been a big part of my life and growing to accept the way that the Lord has made me to be. Sheldon helps with this a lot by telling me how much he adores my hair. Even though I get better each year, I am still not quite at a place where I can accept my hair the way it is. 

I think that I need to talk more about this issue. Do you guys think that is a good idea? I think that there must be other curly girls reading this, or girls with other insecurities. How about it? A series on Hair Insecurity! I shall call it Lucy Rose's Curly Haired Journey: From Darkness to Light. Nah. That's a bad title. Also it makes it sound like a hair dyeing journey from when I started out brown haired and turned blonde. Ok, how about this: Being Curly: One Girl's Journey to Hair Acceptance. Well...We'll see. Goodbye for now, My Dear Reading Public! 


  1. Lucy Rose, your curly hair is wonderful! Straight hair is overrated... as are most things glorified by mainstream media.

  2. Lucy Rose, I love your way of writing! about curly hair or anything... When I read your posts I feel like reading really good book or watching some goood movie...you should write a book one day with your own amazing illustrations... Love I.

  3. Even though I am probably the human most directly responsible for your curly hair, I think I am objective when I say that you look most awesome when your hair is flowing naturally, happily and curly (can one say "curlily?" I think not). I have never really understood the desire that gets into a lot of people to suddenly cut their hair short, or take the advantages that God gave them and bundle them up out of sight. Sometimes I think people radically alter or chop their locks just for the effect they'll get. "Oh, wow! What a change!" people say, and that's positive. Some people even make it into a compliment, feeling that the daring move should be praised just because it's daring. I used to get this little adrenaline rush when I grew a new beard or shaved an old one off. The first appearance at work with a revolutionary new face was always a bit of a pick-me-up. But if the goal is to actually look good long term, it's often best to let the things God gave you just grow and flow. (Except beards, I guess. No Duck Dynasty for me.)