by Chaya Nessa Krycer
There are many abilities that are taken for granted. So many skills look childishly simple, but in reality, are not. Now I am not referring to those skills that have absolutely no purpose whatsoever. We all know those people who want to sign up for the talent show because they can roll their tongue or clap with only one hand. And when they’re applying for a job they write down “raising one eyebrow” under the column of ‘abilities’ or ‘hobbies’. What I am alluding to is the magical power of using a curling iron.
You see, my entire life I thought that styling one’s hair was the easiest thing in the world. The only difference between hairstylists and the remainder of the population is that they’ve practiced the skill more, and don’t mind touching random stranger’s hair. What I discovered is that it is an immensely complicated process.
First of all, you need to hold the iron at a very specific angle. If you aim it even one degree too far to the right, the entire hairstyle goes awry, and you may as well purchase a few barrettes and be done with it, which is precisely my approach. So it turns out, hair curling is based on the fundamentals of geometry, trigonometry, and a few lessons in calculus. Therefore, before you even consider lifting the curling iron, you must have at least a master’s degree in applied mathematics.
Next, the curling iron must be set to the precise temperature needed so that you will not burn your hair off your head and have it resemble bread that spent the weekend in a plugged-in and overly enthusiastic toaster. It appears that one needs some instructions in physics as well.
Now everyone who either is me or is as competent as I am in the profound art of clumsiness will discover that burning your victim’s scalp is an inevitable part of the process. Basic first aid will have to be executed so it’s handy to have attended medical school as well.
Once you have studied all the suggested courses, you should have the utmost confidence in your hairstyle ability. But unfortunately for all those amateurs out there, your proficiency will be found wanting. Because it turns out, styling hair is a form of art, and you should at least have the layman’s knowledge of artistic expression. This involves visiting museums and trying to figure out which curling utensils manufactured the Mona Lisa’s perfect ringlets. Was it a wand? Perhaps a 1 and ½ inch clamp?
Then there are the conspiracy theorists that claim that Leonardo da Vinci was trying to invent a new brand of curling irons exclusively to create curls that would last for as long as he needed his models to pose. Unfortunately, he made a few mistakes along the way and created a flying machine instead. Okay, I made that one up. But this is the sort of research you must pursue before daring to even lift the curling iron. And don’t think I’m making all this up. (Only some of it). There are some stores that make enough profit on only selling hairstyle supplies to professional hairstylists. I always wondered if they had a slot machine in the back of the store, to help them make ends meet. Because you couldn’t buy anything in the store unless you had proof of owning a hair design business. It seems that even they are aware of the dire ramifications of an unqualified bystander even owning a curling iron. Perhaps there are legal reasons behind this?
To sum it up, show some respect to your neighborhood cosmetologist. Now that you understand the intense effort and study needed to attain the ability of hair design, demonstrate your appreciation and admiration with a gift, such as a few math textbooks. After all, at least they genuinely use high school math for their careers.