Nora Ephron and us


“Sometimes I think that not having to worry about your hair anymore is the secret upside of death.”  Nora Ephron

She wrote some great screenplays like “Sleepless in Seattle.”  “When Harry Met Sally,” “Heartburn.”  She was funny.  She addressed issues we all worry about and she makes us laugh about them. The quote above comes from her book I Feel Bad About My Neck  … a book about women and getting older. 

I had never read any of her books until about seven years ago my daughter gave me the “Neck” book.   My wasband had given it to her when she was in her early 30s.  Definitely not the primary target for the book!  It was another reminder about how clueless he was in regards to what a woman actually needs. When she gave it to me, she said something like “I have no idea why he got me this,” and just shook her head and handed it to me.  I don’t think she ever opened it.  (But I digress!)

Here’s some of what Nora said about hair:

“There’s a reason why forty, fifty, and sixty don’t look the way they used to, and it’s not because of feminism, or better living through exercise.  It’s because of hair dye.  In the 1950s only 7 percent of American women dyed their hair; today there are parts of Manhattan and Los Angeles where there are no gray-haired women at all. Once some years ago I went to La Cirque, a well-know New York restaurant, to a lunch in honor of a woman named Jean Harris, who had just that week been released from twelve years in prison for murdering her diet-doctor-boyfriend, and she was the only woman in the restaurant with gray hair.

“I’m in awe of the women I know who have magical haircuts that require next to no maintenance.  I once read an interview with a well-known actress who said that the thing she was proudest of was that she could blow-dry her own hair, and I was depressed for days afterward.  I’m completely inept at blow-drying my own hair.  I have the equipment and the products, I assure you.  I own blow-dryers with special attachments, and hot rollers and Velcro rollers, and gel and mousse and spray, but my hair looks absolutely awful if I do it myself.  So twice a week, I go to a beauty salon and have my hair blown dry.  It’s cheaper by far than psychoanalysis, and much more uplifting.”

And later, after writing about how much time she has spent in hair salons, she says:

“Of course, I could be reading good books while having my hair done — but I don’t.  I always mean to.  I always take one with me when I go to the salon. (I can identify with this!)   But instead I end up reading the fashion magazines that are lying around, and I mostly concentrate on articles about cosmetic and surgical procedures.  Once I picked up a copy of Vogue while having my hair done, and it cost me twenty thousand dollars.  But you should see my teeth.”

Her books are funny.  If you ever have a chance, check out her book I Feel Bad about My Neck.

Have a good day.  This is ironic, but today I have on my list to go get some stuff to touch up the roots of my hair.  (sigh).  I keep telling myself when I  get older I’m going to stop this.  Covering my gray goes against my basic life premise of aging gracefully as part of a normal process.  But I’m secretly afraid when I stop everyone who knows me will say,  “I had no idea she was that old!!”

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