Waving proudly; curling, too

Austin is national headquarters for those who do not envy the lank-locked. Naturally Curly, the Web site of local women Michelle Breyer and Gretchen Heber, who are themselves not among the smooth-tressed, comes in for a mention and Ms. Breyer for a quote, in yesterday’s NYT (“Taming Frizz and Setting Curls Free,” byline Marcelle S. Fischler).

In the days of jumpsuits, Austin men went to the barber once a week (and got their shoes shined there, too), and Austin women went Saturdays to have their hair set for Sunday at one of a few establishments, most of which, surprisingly, are still open and still offering the same styles, decades later. Younger people tended to leave their hair alone or cut it themselves, although some, male and female, would pay Big Bucks for the ministrations of a unisex stylist, usually in an old house somewhere near campus. Females being blued or blondined divided into two parties: those who went to an old-style place and those who had their hair rinsed, tinted, streaked, or otherwise colorifically altered right out there in front of everybody. Kids whose hair wasn’t a riot of curls used to be told their hair was straight, only to learn later that very few people have straight hair; most of us fall into the category of the somewhat wavy, neither frolicsomely frizzy nor smoothly and completely straight.

Sometimes I think that the economy of Austin depends on the acupuncturists, massage therapists, tattoo artists, landscape designers, personal trainers, chefs, musicians, carpenters, stone-masons, tile-setters, pest-control technicians, ghost-writers, graphic designers, and hair stylists, all exchanging services with one another, with the nexus of any barter network always being the tonsorial expert, and somehow I think that waitstaff and bartenders fit in there somewhere, but maybe this is merely a impression derived from my personal universe and, anyhow, that’s a subject for another day.

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