Note: Julia Rizzo has entered her freshman year at Cornell University where she will continue to write about being a curly teen.

Every month, before I sit down to write this column, I grab a pencil and paper and I spend some time brainstorming. I write down any topic that comes to mind. Some are practical or motivational. Others are outlandish and obscure. Then I pick my column topic from the list.

At home, I frequently seek my family’s advice at the dinner table But since leaving for college, I use a web cam to connect to “the fam.” This month, when I asked them if they had any ideas for my November column, their responses immediately turned silly. They shared every ridiculous idea they could think of, and suddenly offbeat stories and amusing comments were springing up left and right. So I’ve gathered together all the crazy things that I thought were too “out there” to put in a column, and the result is a column on my Curly Teen Scene ideas that never quite made it — until now.

The Unlikely Advantages of Curly Hair

As soon as I mentioned I was looking for a couple of ideas, my mother immediately suggested that I should talk about how “curly hair can be used as a storage unit,” citing the fact that I frequently stick pens and pencils in my bun absentmindedly. My siblings also had their own suggestions. According to them, having curly hair increases your chance of being cast as the lead in Annie or hired as a circus clown. It was the general consensus that having curly hair is useful for predicting the weather, as it has a tendency to grow exponentially as the amount of moisture in the air increases. It also keeps your head warm as the temperature drops — something my brother cites as an advantage over his soccer teammates with buzz cuts.

Our Classmates’ Unusual Misconceptions

My siblings and I have had heard some unusual ideas about what having curly hair is like. We’ve all had acquaintances test whether or not small, airborne projectiles will bounce off our hair (to the kid who threw the paper airplane at my head the other day, the answer is NO”>, and we’ve been asked if they hurt (yes”>. Curly hair isn’t a force field, people! Other eyebrow–raising questions we’ve been asked include “If you shave your head, will it grow back straight?” and “Do you hide stuff in there?”

My friend Allison and I discovered another strange phenomenon — no matter how often we bathe and no matter how well styled our curls are, our straight-haired counterparts can’t seem to get over the fact that we don’t own a hairbrush. When was the last time we brushed our hair? We can’t remember. How do we keep our hair detangled? With our fingers and some leave-in-conditioner. They think we’re joking.

Over the last few years I’ve realized there is a kinship among anyone who has ever felt a little different because of their curly hair. Do any of these kooky comments sound familiar to you? Do you have goofy curly hair stories of your own? I’d love to hear your questions, comments, and ideas for new column topics. Click the link on the left-hand side of the page and send me an email. I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

Stay Curly,


Email your questions to Julia.

Cozy Friedman

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