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Bang Mistake

I was born with perfect ’80s hair

Published in the May 2023 Issue Published online: May 12, 2023 Articles
Viewed 432 time(s)


By Katie Burke

I was born with perfect ’80s hair. It’s thick, curly and takes to teasing particularly well. It was almost a disservice to the decade that I was only six when it was over. But that doesn’t mean I think it ever belongs in style again. In fact, I would be the biggest protester. We don’t need ratty-teased hair to be a fashion statement.

But another thing I don’t think we need? Bangs. And they seem to be back to a vengeance according to every popular Instagram influencer I follow.

When I was in middle school, everyone had bangs. I don’t even remember it being optional. Girls just accepted that pulling out a curling iron every morning for that one tight curl across the forehead was the way it was. I have a lot of terrible school pictures to prove it. Growing them out was even worse because the in-between period is long and gives everyone the impression that your parents don’t believe in giving you good haircuts. I have even more terrible school pictures to prove that.

So when my teen came to me and said she wanted a new look that included bangs, that was an easy, “No.” I’m sure I’m not the only one with a relentless daughter. I held firm. I do believe that my kids own their own hair and should be able to make their own decisions. But when it’s a bad one, I have no choice but to step in because I’m the one who will be forced to listen to the complaining.

Some people say that bad haircuts are a rite of passage, and it teaches kids a valuable lesson that can essentially be easily fixed. I don’t think this applies to bangs.

There’s no easy fix when you’ve given yourself a life sentence. Plus, my mom let me make my own decision to cut my curly hair very short when I was in the first grade and I cried myself to sleep for an entire decade. Well, at least a week. I looked like a cheap knockoff of Shirley Temple and it was a terrible time in my life.

I tried compromising with my daughter, Cambri. I told her to dye it blue. Layer it. Perm it. All of these things can be adjusted and redone. I thought she had accepted the advice and we were good. Were there a couple of random moments where she jokingly grabbed scissors and I had to violently wrestle them out of her hands? Of course. Did she threaten to run away and go to hair school on her own? For sure. But after we got through those hurtles, I thought I was on the same page as a 13-year-old girl.

It turns out, I’m a naïve parent.

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