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EST. May 2000 (AD)




I Was a Backcombing Junkie

By Crystal Click

I never knew I had a problem, yet now I can admit it's not just a problem it's a disease. The worst part is I was slowly dragging my seven-year old daughter down the same road and I couldn't even see it. It's just not something I did in public, so almost nobody knew.

How long had I been sinking into the abyss of bygone grooming practices? I don't know, it's been at least a decade since I publicly coifed. Years ago everyone was doing it, truth be told, if you didn't you were considered "weird" or "not with it".

I'd still be doing it if it weren't for that one fateful day...the day of my daughter's big year-end ballet recital. It was picture time, the photographer was about to shoot and I noticed my daughter's bangs were afflicted with a center part.

Panicking, I cried, "Wait!" as I rummaged for my comb. Without even a glance around to see if I was being watched, I strode up to that innocent girl and before every mother in the room,

I backcombed her.

Just a little tease in the middle to get her bangs to spread evenly. That was enough. My secret was out. Everyone knew.

My name is Crystal and I am backcomber.

The pictures were taken and I though her bangs looked good. I am embarrassed to admit, if it weren't for Anita, I wouldn't have thought a thing about the incident. As soon as the girls were out of earshot, Anita pulled me aside and handed me a slip of cardstock. As I stared at the raised logo, she smiled gently and said, "B.A. do you know what that stands for?"

Confused, I only shrugged.

She went on, "B.A. is a group for people like you. Very good, wonderful people; however, they and you are people with a problem. It's called backcombing."

My face flushed as I realized my folly. Almost immediately defensiveness crept in. "I don't backcomb much, look at me, I don't have big hair. I just have a big forehead that I like covered and I don't know what else to do with my bangs."

"Crystal," she said, "it's no use denying it. The very fact you have bangs is an indicator. Everyone here saw you over there, making your daughter's bangs all springy and full. I used to backcomb, too. I know what it's like. I know how hard it is to change. Now look at me, I've been a pancake head going on two years."

"I know it's wrong, I want to change, but how?" I replied, fighting back tears.

"You have the answer in your hand. And it's truly in your hands, now. "

As she walked away, I took a full look at the paper. Backcombers Anonymous, Tuesday nights at the Ferrets Hall immediately following bingo.

When Tuesday rolled around, I wasn't sure I was in the right place. That is, until I looked toward the platform and noticed three people with Saran Wrap encircling their heads. Anita had mentioned something about training techniques.

The meeting opened and I introduced myself. "Hello, my name is Crystal and I'm a backcomber. I've been teasing for at least 15 years. In Jr. High I grew my bangs out to my chin and was able to achieve the highest high-five bangs in the class. They were so stiff I could run a six minute mile in P.E. and still not have to redo my hair until the next day. Oh, we were quite the team, my rat-tail comb and I..."

Ten minutes later I was sipping coffee through a straw as a heavily highlighted blonde girl showed me how to use a flat iron. A cheer went up as my bangs fell. I'll never forget the feeling of kinship I felt that first night. I'll never forgot my first taste of freedom from the tyranny of lingering fashion faux pas.

I haven't back-combed in six weeks, but I still battle the urge.

Everyone once in a while I'll catch a whiff of that unmistakable scent, that divinely intoxicating aerosol driven genie in a bottle: Aqua Net. I grip my rattail comb and slide a fingernail back and forth through each tooth, fighting the Pavlovian urge as my half-grown out bangs hang limply, swept to one temple. Then I look at my daughter, think about her future and wonder, Is 7 too young for a home perm?

© Crystal Click



Crystal Click enjoys the opportunity to entertain Happy Woman readers. Share your comments with her at clickherexbossig.com.

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