Makeover montages and infomercials of the early 2000s taught me beauty is just a flat iron away— Fix unsightly frizzy hair by scorching strands between 400-degree ceramic plates. Evaporation of awkwardness and astigmatism not included. Specifically, I’d like to thank The Princess Diaries— The part where stylists make Anne Hathaway beautiful. I watched the scene and sat crisscross-applesauce, coils framing my pudgy face. I looked exactly like the “before” picture that adults sneered at with disgust. The message was clearer than schoolyard hints: You were born in the wrong decade
You should try brushing it You would be prettier if I woke up two hours early for school
and pressed my brittle porous ringlets between the electric cure for ugliness. The plates hissed like a radiator as they clamped down, congealing water and product to create scarecrow chic. I thought the headache
from sautéed hair gel
was all worth it when
I heard my crush say—
Wow, your hair looks
so much better straight.
Justine Defever is a second-year student in Arcadia University’s Master of Fine Arts program. Justine lives in Michigan and is an Associate Professor of English and Communication at Cleary University. In her spare time, she enjoys researching the spirit who occupies her Victorian-era apartment and ranking flavors of Ben & Jerry’s.