By June Mathews
I think most of us would agree that Santa Claus is one of the good guys. He’s generous and giving; he’s always got a smile on his face; and the way he sits in all those shopping malls for hours on end, sopping tears from his red suit, enduring flash after flash of the camera and appropriately responding to every request imaginable, he’s obviously got the patience of a saint.
But for all his good qualities, Santa sometimes misses the mark when it comes to the loot he delivers. I personally experienced a problem when he brought me an Easy Curl Quick Styling Kit for Christmas.
If ever there were a hard lesson in consumer awareness for an 11-year-old girl, that curling kit was it. But I’d seen it on Saturday morning TV and thought I had to have it. And Santa, bless his heart, felt compelled to comply. So Christmas morning, there it sat under the tree, and I couldn’t wait to try it. I was about to become a preteen version of Cheryl Tiegs and Cybill Shepherd combined. I just knew it.
Now even given my young age, I probably should have guessed right away that a squatty plastic barrel outfitted with a light bulb in the middle wasn’t going to provide adequate energy for heating the fat rubber curlers that came with the kit. But always one to live in hope, I plugged the thing in and waited.
After about 15 minutes, I gingerly began pulling curlers out of the barrel, rolling strands of hair around them and snapping the pink anchoring clips into place. I waited a few minutes then worked my way back around, carefully removing clips and curlers in the same order I’d put them in.
I turned to the mirror, expecting to see a vision of bouncy curls springing around my face. But staring back from the wall was an even less-coiffed version of me than I’d started out with, and the longer I combed and tugged at the mess, the worse it got. When even a dab of Dippity-Do didn’t help, I started over.
Plug in, wait, roll up, clip, unclip, unroll, comb, Dippity-Do.
It was no use. The toy I’d dreamed would turn my fine flyaway mop into a manageable cascade of shiny curls was a dud. A pure dud.
To be fair, my hair wasn’t then and isn’t now easy to curl. The closest it’s ever come to curling, sans an expensive perm, is a frizzy wave in damp weather. So the Easy Curl Quick Styling Kit may have worked perfectly on the hair of those prissy little girls on the TV commercials, but somehow I doubt it. I’m convinced they cheated with the help of a Hollywood hairdresser.
Regardless, it was a disappointment – the first from Santa I’d ever suffered – but I decided to let it ride. His record before and since has been a good one, unless you count the fuzzy blue hooded housecoat he brought me when I was in college that made me look like a cross between a Franciscan monk and Cookie Monster. But even that gift wasn’t all bad, considering it provided warmth for a decade of winters.
Besides, Santa is a guy who seems fairly unconcerned about appearances (I mean, really, that outfit he wears is SO yesterday), and I doubt he’s had a decent haircut in a few hundred years. So what would he know about hairstyling gadgets?
Judging from the Easy Curl Quick Styling Kit, I’d say not much.