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by Abigail Van Buren

Bad Hair Days Are Ended by Stopping All the Fuss

DEAR ABBY: The letter from "All Chopped Up and No Place to Go" could have been written by me about 10 years ago. I had found a particular hairstyle that I loved, but then my hairdresser quit. For months I searched three towns to find someone who could replace her. Along the way I leaned some important things about hairdressers:

Always choose a hairdresser who has a hairstyle similar to yours. If you want short hair, chose someone with short hair. A hairdresser with long hair will never cut yours short enough. Likewise, never have your hair colored by a red-headed hairdresser, because she will always want to add a little red tint; and never get a perm from someone whose own hair is too curly.

Or you can do what I did -- give up on hairdressers completely. I grew my hair down to my waist. When you have long hair, you can't fuss over it too much, so I sold my hair dryer, curling iron, hot rollers and crimper. I no longer buy mousse, styling gel or hairspray. My husband trims it with a pair of sewing scissors when it gets ragged. I don't color or perm it, and I'm constantly told how beautiful my hair is.

Occasionally, on a really hot day, I consider cutting it. Then I remember the twice-monthly trips to the hairdresser, the roar of the blow dryer every morning, or the way a windy day could ruin my hairstyle (and my day). I just pull my ponytail higher on my head and use the time I would otherwise spend on my hair to do something I enjoy. -- JUST BRUSH IT AND GO

DEAR JUST BRUSH IT: I'm glad your advice works for you. Many of us who are slaves to fashion can't help but admire your sense of independence and freedom. However, it's wrong to generalize about all hairdressers because of your negative experience. If what you say were true, one could not explain the success of hairdressers such as Mr. Kenneth, Vidal Sassoon, Jose Eber, etc. According to your logic, all of their clients would resemble them!

DEAR ABBY: Something must be wrong with me. My problem is that I like many of the things your readers write to complain about.

For example, airline food -- every time I have flown, the meals have been delicious.

And fruitcake -- I wish they made it year-round.

Or paintings on velvet -- the two that my son has in his room depicting outer space are beautiful.

Or Spam -- it's so versatile! And lava lamps; I wish I had one.

I also love Christmas newsletters. My friends love mine, and I love theirs.

Maybe it's because I grew up in the '30s, when we had so little. I used to put cardboard in my shoes when the soles wore through, and I even made my own drink-and-wet doll. I guess my childhood during the Depression helped to make me a more appreciative person. -- ELAINE MACH, CHICAGO HEIGHTS, ILL.

DEAR ELAINE: I'm sure the makers of lava lamps and Spam are delighted with your preferences. As the Latin proverb reminds us, "De gustibus non disputandum." (There is no accounting for tastes.)

To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable -- and most frequently requested -- poems and essays, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby's "Keepers," P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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