Beautiful Disaster, Part II: English Lesson 7

This isn't me, just fyi

As mentioned in previous post, I have the type of hair that responds to the elements. If the elements are humid, my hair rebels against the half hour I spent straightening it with my flat iron that morning. And England was often humid, well, England was often raining which equals ultimate humidity. So riding a bike/walking everywhere meant my hair was constantly at the mercy of this wet climate. No matter how carefully I straightened it before going somewhere, it was inevitably wavy upon arrival.

I found some ways to help: wearing a beanie and tucking all of my hair underneath was one decent strategy, but this got old (and hot). A couple of times I borrowed a flat iron from whomever I was visiting, but this seemed imposing. At some point, I finally got over myself enough to look around me at my fellow cyclists. They didn’t seem to care their hair was getting wet or falling out of its neat braid or growing more curly by the minute. English girls overall, and in my opinion, were much less obsessed with which hairs were in place how and, therefore, much less concerned with their outward appearance in general–one of my favorite things I learned about them and a lesson many American girls with their noses stuck in the latest issue of InStyle (this is me, religiously, every month) would benefit from.

England is trendy–don’t get me wrong. I’m referring to a leaning toward natural beauty over “fixed” beauty. They were less concerned with looking perfect and more into their personal style and more accepting of their God-given features. I was forced to accept my natural hair texture when I was consistently rained on or riding my bike through the morning mist. In the end, no one cared. It was freeing. My hair could be its real self for the first time in years, since I bought my first Chi.

I never expected to learn an inner-beauty lesson from riding a bicycle around England, but then I again, I didn’t expect to learn many of these lessons.


  1. Katie @ cakes, tea and dreams on June 7, 2010 at 10:26 am

    I totally hear you here. My straight, fine hair benefits from a curling iron – unless it’s damp out, in which case it falls flat. And when I rode my bike around Oxford for a year, I learned – somehow miraculously – not to care. And when I shared a floor with five guys over at the ACU houses, I learned that they REALLY didn’t care if I had makeup on or not. Crazy, huh? 🙂

  2. Jacklyn Johnston on June 7, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    I know it’s corny but I loved MTV’s series where Jessica Simpson went around to different cultures to see what beauty was. I think we (or at least I) could benefit from getting a more well rounded view of self beauty, not just the American one.

  3. Big Fat Mama on June 9, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    Have you ever been to Houston? Another unfriendly enviornment for hair. 🙂
    Big Fat Mama

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