Home February 2016 Embrace Your Waves

Embrace Your Waves

0216mayravWhile my esteemed colleagues at this here publication are focusing their attention this month on Jewish roots, I have to admit I’m more interested in Jewish bangs.

After a way-too-long hiatus, curls twirled back in fashion in 2014, posing new challenges for hairdressers from New York to Los Angeles (OK, maybe not from New York to Los Angeles. Maybe just in New York and Los Angeles).

As I operate on the “broken clock” theory of hair fashion (by keeping my hair perpetually curly, I’ll be in vogue twice a decade), I figured my hipness would run out when the clock struck midnight on Jan. 1, 2015. But it didn’t. For a whole additional year, curly hair was a thing. Natalie Portman, Sarah Jessica Parker and Mila Kunis all wore their hair any which way it fell, and it fell gloriously, wildly, Jewishly curly.

I used to feel personally affronted when my Jewish sisters would straighten their hair. I felt it was an act of pileous assimilation, second only to the nose job in identity effacement. But motherhood has softened me to all manner of behaviors, and I’ve come to realize that it’s none of my damn business how someone wants to wear her hair, worship her G-d or assert her identity.

Still, I feel more than a twinge of pride every time curls come back into fashion. Seeing fashion stories gush about cute curls fills me with an almost nationalistic pride. So when I started perusing the February issues of top fashion magazines at my local nail salon and found that curls are in style for a THIRD year, I nearly leapt from my chair before my French pedicure was dry. (Yep, French pedicure. Broken clock. You’ll see.)

Not only are members of the tribe sporting curls, so are non-tribesladies (but naturally curly) celebrities like country singer Cam and pop sweetheart Selena Gomez. People magazine dedicated a significant amount of ink to the “curly shaggy bob” that Jennifer Lopez sports on “Shades of Blue,” a hairstyle that looks remarkably like my own.

I rejoice in other people’s curls not just because I like having people ask me who perms my hair (um, G-d?). I also appreciate what curly locks represent: A truly pluralistic society that embraces a diverse ideal of beauty. Outer beauty, it is my hope, that will lead to inner beauty.

While I’m not naïve enough to think that Beyonce’s bangs will bring an end to the BDS movement, I like to think that curls could put a little kink in anti-Semitism. If hate is just fear of the other, how much better off will we be when we’re not the only “other” drying our hair upside down with a diffuser?

So here’s to another frizzy, kinky, wild wonderful year! Who knows what it could bring?

Mayrav Saar lives in Los Angeles with her husband, her children and her moisturizing hair care products.

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