Allure Magazine
Wild Hair, by Diane Ackerman

Diane Ackerman
Author and naturalist
Diane Ackerman

Then, sweet miracle, one day many years later I walked into the Lexington Avenue salon of Richard Stein, whose pretty, vivacious styles I had seen on a number of fashionable women. He looked compassionately at my country-and-western hairdo, which took two hours under a hair dryer to achieve, and said indignantly on my behalf, "Why do you do this to yourself?" Then he turned the anima in my hair loose, shaping it into a long, thick shag--the waterfall of curls it always yearned to be--and for the first time in my life I had simple, wash-and-wear hair. The years of setting, drying, and vanity-rich fussing were over. So was the bondage to one rigid ideal of beauty. A symbolic freedom came from accepting my hair on its own terms, relishing its eccentricities instead of trying to disguise them. Now once every two to three months, or whenever I begin to feel like a sheepdog, Richard tames what he refers to as my "queen of the Amazon hair." He is often the last person I see before setting out on an expedition, or the first I see when I return. This does not surprise him. Scissor wise and insightful, he knows well how symbolic hair is, particularly to women.

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