How to Get Noticed in P-Town by Debutante Tish

Just about the same time as I converted to Judaism, my hair went curly. My sister said it was a freak hormonal thing that can happen to women in their early twenties, but as we now know, she cannot be trusted with the truth. I’m fairly certain it was the mikvah, the ritual bath in which a woman must immerse herself in order to become a Jew. Just prior to my arrival, the water had dropped below Kosher level and, in compliance with Jewish law, it had to be filled with water from the sky. You might, as I did, wonder where one gets water from the sky mid-February in Canada. Apparently, from the roof in the form of chunks of ice and, no, my immersion could not be resheduled.

I call it my convert-fro and it ate my summer vacation.

           Even 410° of heat was no match for the coming-at-me-from-every-freaking-direction, salt-sprayed winds of Provincetown. I straightened my hair at every opportunity, but the moment I stepped outside, my hair exploded. A few days in, I started trapping it in a rubber band, only to be followed around by what looked like the tail of a slutty poodle.


To make things worse, I was traveling with a herd of fabulous men, all of whom were managing to look extra GQish and were racking up quite the collection of sideways glances from the local boys. I, on the other hand, was invisible. I looked like someone who’d been checked out of the asylum for the afternoon and was due back by pill time.


Eventually, I noticed a pattern emerging among my group. When the guys walked together, without me, they got more looks. Whoever got stuck with me became invisible as well and, although they hotly denied it, they took turns walking with me out of mercy.

At the end of the trip, we finally had a dry, relatively wind-free day. I bolted for the straightening iron. We all went for a nice dinner and drinks; I was back to my old self. We strolled along Commercial Street, slipped in and out of galleries and stopped for ice cream. My hair wasn’t exactly flat, but it was well within the range of a normal head of human hair. Or so I thought.

Every night, Commercial Street is dotted with gorgeous drag queens, dressed to kill, kibitzing with the crowds, trying to entice tourists into their shows. Miss Richmond, resplendent in her lime green mini, white platform shoes and matching white glasses, with a cardboard TV on her head, had attracted a small swarm of admirers and my kids begged to meet her. We slipped through the crowd and stood watching as she doled out various novelty items and used Kleenexes from her purse. For no apparent reason, she dropped her bag, looked up and stared straight at me. Then, as cool as someone who didn’t have a TV on her head, she sashayed across the pavement.

How cool am I? I asked myself as she approached. I glanced back at my husband and friends, barely able to suppress my giddiness. I had attracted the attention of this most famous person on the sidewalk. She could have noticed anyone, but she didn’t. She noticed me.

We’d just see who refused to walk with me after this.

Miss Richmond stopped and smiled a sad Diva smile. She tilted her cubed head and said to me, “Don’t worry about the hair, honey. We all know you’re on vacation.”  



17 Replies to “How to Get Noticed in P-Town by Debutante Tish”

  1. Hilarious, Tish. As an exploding-hair sister, I can relate.

    …only to be followed around by what looked like the tail of a slutty poodle.”

    I don’t think I’ll be able to wear a non-straightened ponytail ever again.

  2. I almost didn’t come by here today because when I saw the week was designated “vacation,” I thought the blog was going on one. Glad I did though! I can see that scene so vividly I’m blinking from the brightness of that lime green mini.

  3. I was introduced to y’all yesterday by your “Honorary Deb,” Allison Winn Scotch. As an avid reader, in constant search for new voices to read, I’m thrilled at the opportunity to get to know you — and being able to claim “to have known you when” — before the novels debut.

    This grog is such a smart, clever concept as well as a wonderful dance of anticipation for all of us!

  4. Patry, Clever of you. The truth is, being a debutante is exhausting and we had planned a wee mini-break to fan ourselves after the first week of posting. Just in case. But it turns out Tasha’s Smartini party last Friday over on Good Girls Kill revived us. Something to do with the red dye, I think.

  5. As someone who often feels like the most unfabulous member of any group (though I’ve never had the distinction of having a drag queen tell me so right to my face!) — I can relate. However, just think how rich our inner lives are…

  6. Oh, Tish, you crack me up! 🙂 My arsenal includes the new Pantene Frizz Control shampoos and conditioner, Frizz Ease straightening balm, the T3 Ionic hairdryer and barrel brush, Frizz Ease smoothing creme, and finally, Frizz Ease Humidity Lock-Out (or some such thing) hairspray. Frizz ain’t easy.

    When is frizz going to be in, anyway? Aren’t we tired of all this flat hair?

  7. Loved your story! Hair, yes, the hair, wild and woolly…what is it about the hair thing? Uncooperative appendages…Medusa with a head full of snakes! GAH! I finally stopped worrying about it and it’s mind of its own nature, my mom was forever trying to tame it, keeping it in braids, or pinned up in a bun, or cut in a smart little style that always required forever in front of a mirror with a hair dryer. The last time I cut it was 1992, since then, I’ve let it grow long and wild and it’s curlier than ever (and getting grayer every year) there’s just no getting around it unless I shave my head (I almost did once in 1982, but lost my nerve and just went super short instead and experimented with various shades of unnatural colors). One of my students told me a couple of years ago that I’d look awesome with dreads…I told her “Oh, no, I’ll leave that look to Anne Lamott, she carries it well.” Yes, the hair…was it Jose Ebere (SP?) who used to do Farrah Fawcett’s famous locks in the 70’s? He used to say…”just shake it” when he was done cutting and fussing…that’s all I do to my doo in the morning, I just shake it…

    I gotta get back to the Cape someday!

  8. Ah, P-town. I was there four times this summer (from my summer roost in Falmouth). I went with my SE (spouse equivalent) and her daughter once (in the past) it was cooler than I’d expected so I went into a cute place for a sweatshirt. Tried one on, the man waiting on me commented that it looked fabulous with my eyes, my two ladies left the store instantly to laugh outside. I’ve posted some P-town shots on my blog, if you want to see them.

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