Brides and beauty salons go together like jet fuel and a match. An accomplished stylist friend of mine has refused to “do wedding hair” for two decades. She’s unmoving in the face of wedding drama. The last straw was the bride who demanded three do-overs on the wedding day and then blamed the hairdresser for the result. Enough!
She wouldn’t even do my hair as mother of the bride before I departed for the ceremony in Morocco. So, I had to throw myself on the mercy of a very popular salon in the Moroccan city of Tetouan, scene of the fabulously stylish and elegant wedding.
I came to the salon to offer moral support to my daughter, the bride, who had scheduled a several-hours extravaganza involving complicated loops on the back of her head and a doozy of a glamorous makeup job. Her hair was long and lustrous – seemingly willing to be curled and sprayed into an infinite variety of face-framing curls. The top stylist had been booked for the occasion and she had a sudden stroke of sympathy for me, sitting aimlessly twirling my dried out, unkempt locks. She asked if I would like someone to work on my hair. I eagerly agreed, hoping to achieve one tenth of my daughter’s stylish look.
Unfortunately, any work of art depends on the materials at hand. The materials on my head were mysterious to the stylist’s apprentice, who had the same glossy, shiny, long black hair as all the other ladies in the salon. Confronted with limp, layered, blond-ish hair far too short for the swooping updo’s being created all around, she earnestly tried to blow dry the hair, to curl it with several different implements of beauty and finally began to get a little teary at the results.
The lead stylish swooped in and lassoed the wayward hair into something looking pretty good from the back and the side. But what to do with the flyaway strands of an American “long shag” haircut? Finally, the strands were lacquered into something Julius Caesar might have worn and gaily circled my sweaty face. (It was August on the Mediterranean, after all).
The problem was that there were still three hours until the wedding. The bride was ordered to sit in a chair and not smile, eat or drink anything for fear of damage to her perfect look. I only snickered a little as I offered her tiny sips of the fresh-squeezed juice the rest of us were drinking. Forget about the no-laughing rule as friends and family took turns trying to make her laugh, while her future sister-in-law attempted to enforce the beauty rules.
Soon we arrived at the bride’s suite at the wedding venue and I was faced with three walls of mirrors all showing the impact of a hot, humid day on a reluctant head of hair. The curls around my face drooped sadly, growing straighter by the minute until they resembled the mop I use on the bathroom floor. I heated up a hair curler to a temperature intended to fry anything it touched and tried to restore order.
After three attempts, my daughter gently told me to step away from the hair curler; I was only making things worse. Wait a minute; that’s the advice and reassurance that I was supposed to be giving her.
It all ended well because, duh, who’s looking at the mother of the bride when the bride is there in all her glory? I realized once again the truth that it’s not about the wedding, but the marriage. And that was off to a splendid start, no matter the stringy hanks decorating my head.