I'm at a party where I know no one. A college party, no less, in a neighborhood where I used to teach junior high (probably while these kids were still in elementary school, if I'm lucky). A punk rock basement band college party, and I'm wearing a velvet skirt and no leather or visible piercings. I'm just there to keep a friend company, and we're only supposed to stay for a minute.
Not really equipped for the mosh pit, I go out on the deck for some air. Damn I want a cigarette, but no way am I going to bum from these kids. I lean against the doorframe and observe.
"Excuse me, I know this is really strange to ask, but... How do you get your hair to do that? It's so gorgeous!"
Okay, I do have fabulous hair, but you wouldn't think the punk rockers would appreciate it... So I tell the pretty blond in the orange hoodie my secret for five-minute hair fabulousness:
1. Flip head over and dry as quickly as possible
2. Comb out snarls.
3. Put in a dozen velcro rollers, the kind with metal on the inside so they heat up (cheap at CVS)
4. Blast for a minute or two with the hair dryer on high heat.
5. Get in car, drive to party, remove before exiting car.
She laughs. "wow, if I'd known it was so easy... I never do anything with my hair; I still have semen in it from last nigh-- oh, did I just say too much?"
"Hey, whatever works!"
Now we've bonded. She introduces me to all her friends, and within minutes I've rubbed a few shaved heads and learned how to open a beer with a lighter. A cute guy named Bubba has his arm around my waist while I smoke a cig he bummed for me. The kids in the yard below us are wailing a hard-core a cappella version of some Journey song, and all is right with the world.