The book that catapulted Maynard into the spotlight at 17. J'adore that bob
Miss Maynard charmed me immediately. She has an unassuming je ne sais quoi about her; a combination, I think, of a pixieish face that belies her 50-some-odd years, a slightly nervous energy (one that I understand from experience), and a seemingly natural talent for engaging storytelling. She mesmerized the audience--an attentive room-full of plastic-wine-cup-clutching bibliophiles wedged into sturdy Danish Modern chairs--with a riveting recount of the day's drama at the Musee d'Orsay. There, beside a bridge linking the left bank to the right, a team of gypsy pickpockets relieved her of her wallet using that Oh-Here's-The-Ring-You-Dropped scam. The combination of pity, anger, and laughter that her story provoked totally won me over.
The remainder of the evening was no less confessional, and equally spellbinding; with disarming earnestness, Maynard shared intimate details of her topsy-turvy life with us strangers. This was an oral autobiography punctuated with dramatic bullet points--alcoholic parents, an affair with a famous (and bitter, and controlling) old man--and equally interesting but more mundane details about her development as a writer, parenting, collapsing relationships, and travel. We had a bit in common, I thought.
I left the event empty handed (the book I was most interested in had sold out already), but felt full with that warm-and-fuzzy feeling you get when you realize you're not alone in the universe--that there are kindred spirits within our own orbit who share similar experiences and express those similarities with vivid language.
What was I thinking? A yearlong experiment in blondness that lasted roughly 364 days longer than it should have
Right now, I'm preoccupied with whether or not to whack my hair off. I've been growing it long for about two years now, and it hits my upper back right about at bra-strap level. I think I thought that having long hair again would make me feel pretty. I realize I've never felt pretty, long hair or short, so that's not really a valid reason to schlep around a tangled mess of boring brown tresses. Perhaps, subconsciously, I also harbor a fear that men will no longer find me attractive if I snip of a few inches.
My hair last week. It doesn't look too bad when freshly washed, but it's still time for a change
"Men don't like short hair," a friend tells Maynard knowingly in "The Kindest Cut." Maynard isn't deterred. "Should my hairstyle be dictated by the desire to please men or myself?" she asks herself in response. Now, I have to ask myself that same question. I hope I'll be brave enough to heed the desire to please myself, and not feel resigned to sporting a head of hair that's boring and unflattering.
On our way to Copenhagen a couple of weeks ago, I made a pre-flight pit-stop at the Relay store at Charles de Gaulle. Quickly rifling through the magazines, I spotted a fashion feature showing magazine editors (aka "real people") wearing the latest designer duds. The clothes weren't nearly as compelling as one of the editor's hairdos. I hadn't seen anything so fun and interesting in a long time. Her slightly messy, long bob hit about shoulder length, with eye-grazing blond-and-brown bangs funking it up in a mod way. I loved it, and thought, "I wish I could have hair like that."
So, why not?