Testing: Hair Feathers Part II

Flirting with the idea of cardinal-red plumage.

Take Two: Tanya Pai

Fresh from my adventures in hair tinseling, I was ready to attach more crazy stuff to my melon. And after my trip to hippie-centric Coachella, where every third girl seemed to sport hair feathers, I was excited to try the trend for myself. Like Anne, I immediately gravitated toward the bright colors, but this time around I stuck with a more natural hue to avoid any unfortunate Cher/Showgirls connotations. Nick suggested white feathers with gray stripes for the contrast they’d provide against my black hair. He gave me three — one fat and one skinny one on the right side of my part, and another fat one on the left — placed close to the front of my hairline to frame my face. The thick feathers were downy on top, like genuine bird plumage. They are, according to the company, real rooster feathers and not some strange synthetic, as I first thought. A spritz of hairspray and a couple of passes with a flat iron tamped them down, but as soon as I left the salon they fluffed right back up. (This proved to be a recurring problem; when I styled my hair at home, no matter how much spray or heat I attacked the damn things with, they remained fluffy, like some bizarre case of the frizzies.)

The finished product (and an appropriately hipster pose).

After leaving the salon I went to lunch with my boyfriend and my parents, who were in town for the weekend. On seeing my new ‘do, my mom said, “Hmmm. Interesting,” which is her way of saying she’s not entirely on board with whatever fad I’m testing. The men made noncommittal noises that basically translated to “I’m hungry, let’s eat.” The best comments I received that day came from an elderly couple in the elevator at the Harvard Art Museums. “I just love them; they’re fabulous!” exclaimed the woman. “It’s like a fascinator,” muttered the man. And that was it. Beyond the usual queries as to what exactly was on my skull, I didn’t get many reactions. And believe me, there were plenty of chances — those things just. Didn’t. Budge. My coworkers asked me several times if I had new feathers put in. “Nope,” I replied, “these are the same ones. Still.” Don’t get me wrong, I liked them — but they were so close to the front of my hairline that I had trouble styling my bangs, and the thicker feathers (in addition to the aforementioned fluff problem) were short and thus had a distressing habit of coming loose from whatever bobby pins I had stuffed them into and flapping about merrily in the breeze.

Finally, after I’d had the feathers in for an entire month, I couldn’t stand them anymore. “Please help me,” I begged Anne, who took pity on me and brought some pliers to work. After a couple of quick squeezes I was officially feather-free (and more excited than I’d ever been to brush my hair). Would I get them again? Maybe — if I plan to hit another music festival. But first I’m hitting the hardware store to score a pair of pliers.