It Ain’t the Hot Flashes

I have a great idea for a post about the birth control/freedom of religion debate, but it will have to wait. I’m having a hair crisis.

Here’s the thing. From age 40 onward (I’m 53), I have had symptoms of impending menopause, starting with some killer PMS. Always one to have a regular cycle, I discovered that on Day 24 I needed, in the name of all that’s holy, to avoid all human contact. It was my personal full moon that turned me into a werewolf, and I didn’t want to turn my husband or any small neighborhood dogs into my prey.

Over the years I managed to dance with the mood swings and depression. I could handle with humor the alarmed comments about my flushed face (I have that kind of skin). As my periods became more erratic, I just threw an extra pad in my purse. When my face started to break out like a teenager’s, I changed up my products and booked a facial. No big deal. At my age, I can adjust to anything, right?


For all my experience with this cycle of life, including the books I’ve read, I was not prepared for everything. There are things the books don’t tell you about menopause. Namely, no one told me that my naturally straight bangs would kink up like poodle hair. That’s right. My mother now has what she always wanted, a daughter with naturally curly hair. Well, sort of. Only in the front.

I’ve had baby fine, straight hair my entire life. For many years I have covered my forehead with my bangs a la Goldie Hawn to hide my forehead, where I have my deepest facial lines. This arrangement worked really well until a few months ago when they suddenly started to curl and frizz. Since Google is my friend, I did some checking and, sure enough, menopause changes the hair. Curly hair may straighten, and straight hair may curl. My bangs, and the unflattering frizz that accompanies them, are just providing more evidence of hormonal shifts.

The rest of my hair remains straight for the most part, though I’m getting some ringlet activity on the left side. I don’t know whether to cut my hair short or let the bangs grow. In the meantime, I’m taking hair vitamins and have become an expert on anti-frizz products. I’m deep conditioning twice a week. I don’t normally blow dry my hair because it’s fragile, but I will spend extra time brushing and styling the bangs, trying to tame them even a bit. Yesterday I gave up and pulled them back with a barrette. Now everyone can see those wrinkles I’ve been hiding all these years.

I can handle just about anything. I’m even okay with the white streaks that are running through my hair. I just didn’t expect this. I don’t weep for my youth. I just want my straight bangs back.