Posted by: Lisa Pampuch | February 12, 2003

Bangs are small stuff

“Don’t sweat the small stuff” is oft-repeated advice, and I frequently try to follow it.

But lately the small stuff that I’ve been sweating – bangs – have been getting into my eyes and generally bugging the bejeebers out of me; try as I might to ignore my bangs, I’ve been sweating them instead.

You see, I’ve had bangs all my life. Well, to be precise, I was a bald baby, so I’ve had bangs as long as I’ve had hair.

When sorting through a box of old pictures recently, I came across a photograph of yours truly at age 3 posed with my sister, who was 2, taken at my grandmother’s house. I had bangs; so did my sister. I found another photo, taken at my summer babysitter’s house when I would have been about 7, and you guessed it, bangs were hiding my forehead. Fast-foward to my senior picture – bangs, feathered in the style of the day, but bangs.

Wedding portraits, taken 15 years ago? Bangs under the veil. Snapshots of me hugely pregnant with each of my kids? Bangs. You get the drift.

A few weeks ago, while sitting in the hairdresser’s chair, I asked Alicia Dominguez, who has been trimming my bangs and the rest of my coiffure since we arrived in Morgan Hill, how long it would take to grow out my bangs.

“Six months,” Alicia said.

I shuddered, but bravely instructed her to let my bangs grow.

I have now arrived at the first critical test of that decision. The infernal bangs are in my eyes and driving me nuts. They don’t really look any different to anyone else, I imagine, but they are making me crazy.

Wise hairdresser that she is, Alicia knew this day would come and told me I could call her for a bangs trim anytime.

I’ve resisted making that call – so far.

The next test will come when the bangs are halfway down my face, looking stupid. I’m sure I’ll have no idea what to do with them. I’m betting that multi-week test will begin next month, and if Murphy’s Law has any truth to it, I will have some important event for which I want to look my best – or at least presentable – scheduled smack-dab in the middle of it.

Will I be able to stand the next several months? And if I do make it to a bangs-less state, will I like the way I look? Will my forehead be able to stand up to scrutiny after decades hidden behind a curtain of hair? Only time will tell. But dear reader, if an updated photo – sans bangs – appears with this column in a few months, you’ll know I made it through growing-out-the-bangs hell, and liked the result enough to document the look.

Meanwhile, I’ve decided that bangs really aren’t such small stuff. Granted, the bangs or no-bangs decision doesn’t rank with life choices such as who to marry, whether or where to go to college, whether or not to refinance the mortgage, how many children to bear and what to name them, but it’s a decision nonetheless.

I once heard Oprah Winfrey say on her show something to the effect that it takes most women decades to decide if they should wear bangs or not. Who am I to argue with a multimedia diva and multimillionairess? If Oprah says bangs are a big decision, then I won’t feel guilty stressing a little about them.

That is, until I recall the last half of that advice: It’s all small stuff.

If that’s the case, if everything from life-threatening illnesses to hangnails, from the death penalty to Michael Jackson’s nose should be at the same level of importance, I need to re-evaluate my entire priority system, because I apparently don’t need one.

Instead, I think I’ll just relegate my bangs to small-stuff status, resolve to take trite advice with a grain of salt, and not sweat the fact that the bangs and the advice are bugging me.


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