Recently my email inbox was bombarded with spam messages about protecting myself from identity thieves. Hmmm. Granted, the scary electronic spam was focused on credit card identity thieves, which is a very scary and real danger. However, all that mention of ID thievery got me thinking about another less commonly discussed phenomenon - the hair identity thief.
Huh? Is there such a thing? Absolutely! Lurking in your very midst is a co-worker, acquaintance or random stranger that may some day lust after and then blatantly copy that unique way you customized your saucy shag or captured the absolutely perfect combination of highlights and lowlights for your captivating crop.
Before you report me to your local funny farm, think about it. It has probably happened to you more than once. Maybe you are not consciously aware of it, but nevertheless, you have probably been victimized. Think about the time that went to a lot of trouble to create a hot new look that was a step above the massive sea of bobs and crops only to be instantly copied. So how did it feel? Now you know what I mean.
The first time I became aware of a Tress Taker was in high school. I was obsessed with a cuddly Irish lad who came with the total package of twinkling eyes, the appropriate sprinkling of freckles and the large jovial Irish Catholic family.
I was shaken to the core of my carefully straightened platinum blonde roots when I discovered that the object of my affections only went for ringlet endowed redheads.
Not one to let a little barrier like hair color or texture stand in my way, I doctored my hair in the downstairs sink. My hair turned an unusual shade of carrot with random strips of blonde. After I added the required ringlets I looked like a hippie version of Broadway's Annie. Kinda bizarre but definitely unique.
My carrot topped do caused shocked stares followed by giggles and ultimately resulted in a ton of new attention for everyone I encountered. Suddenly a lot of guys were hot for me and my new orange crush curls. My Irish hottie was immediately forgotten as I basked in the glow of my accidental identity shift.
After one week in the spotlight I was surprised to discover a classmate arriving at school with a similar shade or hair color as mine. Soon I was surrounded by copycats and my days in an orange glow faded along with my accidental hues.
I later attracted blatant hairstyle copycats when I was the first to stroll into a major party with my first set of Farrah-like wings. Later as my hair painstaking grew towards my waist I noticed some of my friends suddenly sporting long extensions.
Don't get me wrong. I am not a major hair trendsetter. I have never danced down a catwalk, posed for a major men's magazine or danced nearly naked at a local hotspot. My periods of hair morphing were triggered by a mix of boredom and curiosity mixed with flights of fancy and a good hairstylist.
So how do you foil (no pun intended) would be hair thieves? Consider the following style robber busting techniques:
1. Always unveil your latest hairstyle creation in a large crowd of friends and acquaintances so that it's publicly recorded that you were the first to sport the sizzling new style. When the first hairstyle thief lifts your look, it will be said that they are copying your style rather than vice versa.
2. Never give out the name of your hair colorist, hair extension expert or hair designer to anyone unless they are completely unaffordable or uber famous. If you must rave about their magnificence, whisper it only to your therapist, priest, minister or rabbi since they are all sworn to secrecy.
3. When asked how to recreate your fabulous look, do what the great chefs do and absentmindedly forget some of the steps. Even better talk fast and mumble a lot.
4. Cheat with wigs and hair extensions to keep everyone guessing. Many celebrities are pros at completely changing their hairstyles in an instant with a range of wigs and pin-on strands.
5. Constantly alter your new look with a dizzying range of haute couture hair accessories to keep everyone guessing. Throwing the hairstyle pirates off balance shows them down, at least temporarily.
6. Hang out at the library and browse old fashion mags from the turn of the century to get new hairstyle inspirations. Remember that what goes around in hair and fashion comes around, over and over. Why not be the first to bring a hot look from the past back?
7. Once the hair pirates lock onto your fabulous new style, change it. That will always put you a curling iron above the crowd.
8. Brag about the celebrity copycats. When your hot style appears on the head of Oprah or Carmen or Jessica, tell all your friends to check out "your" style on the hot celeb. That will get them to thinking that maybe your share a stylist with the rich and famous.
9. Have fun and let your creativity ooze out of every follicle. If you have decided to be a strand style setter, enjoy the challenges, the hard work and the ultimate compliments and admiration for a style well designed.
10. Take lots of photos. Someday, like me, you will want to look back at your glory days of hairstyle pioneering and a picture is worth a thousand words.
Whatever you do, when dealing with hairstyle copycats, always remember to smile sweetly and throw lots of air kisses. Enjoy the spotlight and keep in mind that it constantly moves its focus.
Don't lose your sense of humor or forget that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.