Like drunken Sox fans, bad hair days are an inescapable New England summertime scourge. But if the unruly tresses belong to Boston's most popular female news anchor, they can become a story unto themselves.

That's what happened when Channel 5's always cool, always composed, always impeccably coiffed Natalie Jacobson appear-ed one night sporting what can only be described as "beach hair." Her straight auburn locks had gone wavy, and viewers flooded the station's phone lines.

"Natalie's hair is naturally curly," says Susan Wornick, coanchor of the station's noon newscast. "I don't know if she blows it dry herself. It didn't get blown dry that day. It's maddening that people pay so much attention, but it's also sort of nice."

So what happened? Did Jacobson oversleep? Was she bored with her look? "I think you saw a bit of experimentation," says Channel 5's president Paul La Camera.

Hoping to put "Coiffuregate" to rest, a station spokeswoman added: "Our primary concern, of course, is the content and quality of the newscast. Natalie was looking for a way to deal with her curly hair and gave the natural look a try. Unfortunately, it didn't work for television. She's back to her normal style

— September 2003 Boston Magazine