Friday, February 22, 2013

The 7 Deadly Sins of DIY Bangs

Look, we've all been there.

Picture this: It's a weekend afternoon. Your parents/roommate/spouse/children are out doing something productive, and you are sweat-stuck to the couch, wearing a top OR pants but definitely not both.

You think about taking a shower. You walk to the bathroom, because when it comes to personal grooming, showing up is half the battle. (The other half of the battle is remembering to shave both legs, and then return your parent's/roomate's/spouse's razor to its cradle without any visible pubes).

But before you even make it to the shower, you see your reflection in the bathroom mirror (SIN #1) and you do this:

Because you are looking straight tore up.

What can I do to instantly improve my appearance? You ask yourself. You look around for tools. There's a toilet plunger, which would probably only make things worse. There's a toothbrush, which is no help because you're already uncorking the wine. Then your eyes fall on a Walgreen's generic brand mud mask that you purchased sometime in 2007, but even though it has hardened to an impenetrable solid you reason that it might be hard to knock yourself unconscious with it on the first try. And that is really your only choice because you look like Tom Hanks in Castaway.... after he lost Wilson. Yeah, it's bad.

It is only then, in an emotional state best described as "umbrella Britney," that you see the scissors. They're nail scissors, but hey, tomato to-mah-to, right?

I don't know when bangs became such a facial game-changer. I think we can safely blame Zooey Deschanel, who seems to have had a falling out with the real estate above her eyeballs circa the mid-aughts. (Worshipping false forehead idols like Deschanel, TaySwift, and even, Bo forgive me, FLOTUS = SIN #2!) But we all secretly think we would look good with bangs. And so, without fail, you--the you who, so far in this short story, has neglected to take care of basic needs like bathing or wearing both tops and bottoms--become convinced that not only do you NEED bangs, but that you are CAPABLE OF CUTTING THEM YOURSELF. (SIN #3) After all, you make a mean pair of cutoff jean shorts.

You can totally do this, purrs the slovenly, pants less devil on your shoulder. Remember the last time you got your hair cut? It was so easy, you don't need to pay anyone. Just pull the hair straight up, snip like you're making a construction paper snowflake, and loudly speculate as to whether Stacy Kiebler is George Clooney's beard.

Ugh, she totally is, you think, as you pick up the scissors (SIN #4). She is a retired professional wrestler who was on Dancing With the Stars, for God's sake. She's not even a beard, she's like a gross little Billy Bob Thornton soul patch.

You fold some of your hair over your forehead and mug for the mirror. You pretend you are Katy Perry at the VMAs, and that you are wearing a bra made of gummy bears. Yes, you think, I can totally rock bangs.

Totes McGotes! cries the devil on your shoulder.

You hold the hair out in front of you, ironically obscuring your vision. You snip, (SIN #5) visualizing a sexily open-mouthed Jennifer Garner (SIN # 6; no one looks sexy that way in real life).

This is just one example.

You examine your handiwork and find that you have cut at a 45 degree angle from your left eyebrow to your right earlobe. You cut again. This time you've gone too short on the right side. Maybe I should quit while I'm ahead and go to a salon, you think, a cool breeze of sanity that blows right through your ears.

Then you remember that you still have to shower and shave and either wash or set fire to the sink full of dishes before your parents/roommate/spouse/children return. You soldier on (SIN #7a), snipping away like a sculptor trying to reveal the masterpiece trapped in a block of marble.

And five minutes later, you step back and look in the mirror (SIN #7b).

It is your David, your Mona Lisa, your rheumy-eyed portrait of an elderly Kate Middleton. It is also your fault.

Luckily there is still that burrito. And that wine.

And... hats.


  1. Anonymous1:48 PM

    I undergo this process at least once a year. More regularly I just dye/bleach/generally fuck up my hair so much I have to pay a hairdresser, three times as much as I would have had to had I just gone to one in the first place, to correct my heinous mistakes. I wish I knew why I do it...

  2. Thank you so much for this timely reminder. I was just admiring Caroline McCormick's bangs on L&O: SVU the other night and considering a sexy-side-sweep myself.

    I even like Stefon's bangs.

    So now what?

  3. D'oh.

    I do this, usually immediately following the credits on Love Actually, because have you *seen* Martine McCutcheon's bangs in that movie? Forget the fact that her hair is straight and mine's wavy, and the she has a cute little button nose while mine's a centimeter too long for my face. I will look just like her if I have bangs!, I think.

    Barrettes and bobby pins help too. :-/

  4. Bangs are just wrong and I don't know who the jackass is who has convinced all these women otherwise. I had bangs for the first 25 years of my life and they were the right length for 25 weeks of those 25 years. The rest of the time they were too just, too long or just generally fucked up.

  5. I contemplate bangs every single time I go into the bathroom. I even bought hair cutting scissors because exercise this form of stupidity quite often. And of course if I got real hair cutting scissors it stands to reason that my hair would look like a professional cut them because duh. And yet it never works out. You would think that we would learn, but no. And now that you mention it I probably would look good with bangs.

  6. I tried to maintain super-short bangs in 2003, knowing full well it would date my graduation pictures precisely to that era. As handflapper pointed out, they're never the right length for any period of time. I recall most compulsively contemplating their length with a pair of nail CLIPPERS.

  7. I will never self-bang!!! I'm too busy doing at-home tips on my nails with Krazy Glue and a high care of acetone fumes.

  8. I cut hair for a living and still go through the aforementioned rigmarole. I never want them to look like Taylor Swift's...they ALWAYS end up looking like Taylor Swift's. I'm a pro and should know better. But when the shears, the mirror and pillow head beckon, I become trance-like and nothing can stop me. Just did the deed so I'm screwed again for another year. This was spot on Una!

  9. Ahh, the Great Bang Debacle of 2010, nice to re-live it all over again. I want to squeeze this post with all the awkward affection I can muster.


    Holy crap. I have cut bangs more than once... this last time I learned. I cut enough that they show when I pull them out, but not enough that they come out on their own. I also cut them long enough to tuck behind an ear... so isn't that more like a long layer??



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