• Cover: April 16, 2014
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Wigging Out

It sounds silly, but we all wonder: Would changing my hair change my life?

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  • Courtesy of ELLE

    Courtesy of ELLE

    The problem with my hair begins with my face. My face, I am sorry to report, clashes with any hairstyle other than a medium-length and nonlayered one, which is less a style than a state of nature. I discovered this a few years ago, when a makeup artist stepped back from my face midbronzing, squinched her eyes, and said, "You know, I thought you had a square face, but it's actually sort of a pyramid." A pyramid? Yes, she said, a pyramid. She was right about my face—it's widest at the jawline, like Luke Wilson's—and I've never quite forgiven her for it.

    For a pyramid, hair options are limited. Bobs exacerbate the problem; bangs turn your face into a Rothko painting; curls = bigger pyramid. But humans are perverse; we tend to desire the very things that we absolutely cannot (or should not) have. In my case, this unattainable ideal is cool hair—the kind that inspires a second look. Cool hair is Jean Seberg in Breathless and Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction; it's Bernadette Peters and Gwen Stefani. It is my Swedish mother, who has a nest of platinum hair that she likes to style in a variety of ways: piled up like Brigitte Bardot, blown into a smooth pageboy, knotted with a chopstick, rippling in mermaid waves. My mother has cool hair, and every day I feel sad that I inherited her thimble-size nose and aversion to theme parks but not, sigh, her blond pouf. My own hair is a neutral brown, medium thick, medium wavy: the hair equivalent of an in-flight magazine.

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Wigging Out
It sounds silly, but we all wonder: Would changing my hair change my life?
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