The Big Bulbous Hair Lady

If you’ve lived in my neighborhood long enough, you’ve probably seen the Big Bulbous Hair Lady. Her hair is the color of a Golden Retriever’s coat and has the consistency of the matted fur in its armpits—it is sort of like a giant uni-dred, but looks more like a big burlap sack than it does hair. It measures a good foot and a half in width, it hangs down five inches lower on the right side than it does on the left, and towers several inches above the top of the woman’s forehead, though she herself has a rather small, feeble frame.

My first sighting of the Hair Lady occurred a few years ago, during the summer, as I headed down Broadway with my friend Claire. Mid-sentence, Claire gasped and quickly pushed me around the corner.

“NO WAY,” was all she could say to explain herself, and then finally started pointing at a little old lady in a trench coat (in July) buying a bag of oranges from a fruit stand. It took me a moment to grasp the enormity of it all, but there it was: three cubic feet of an other-worldly substance, misshapen like a deflated basketball. It was, indeed, bulbous.

But as Claire and I stood there in awe, I began to feel saddened by the hair mass. The poor woman—I thought—she can no longer brush her hair.

One day, though, on the subway, she entered the train and sat down next to me. I watched as the entire population of the subway car began to eye the bulbous mass. Snickering started up on one end; suppressed smiles on the other.

And then: the woman sat up straight, and as she examined her reflection in the opposite window, reached up to her hair, and moved the matted entity to the right an entire inch and a half. Satisfied, she patted it a bit and smiled, and got off at the next stop.

When the doors closed, everyone erupted in laughter and disbelief. A woman nearby turned to me and said, “That was intentional.”

I nodded—she was right. This was no ordinary bulbous mass: it was a hairdo.

8 thoughts on “The Big Bulbous Hair Lady

  1. so there I was procrastinating when I happened upon your blog. Reasons I will continue to read:1. stories about things like ‘hair ladies’ amuse me2. nyc is in my head right now3. another procrastination tool4. I like dogs.5. I enjoy your writingmerci :)

  2. I went to your left side of the page & read that too- I liked no little toaster left behind…ha…I am not procrastnating by being at your site. We are snowed in so time has stopped. I couldn’t agree with you more about the Sats.If you are a good student but test bad that shouldn’t hinge so much on the outcome of life.That is cool that you saw Ms. King. She was one of my hero’s and I got to see her speak. I saw Spike Lee once too, but he was angry, while she was peaceful. The sad part was a while ago I went to an Alicia Keyes/ Beyonce,concert. There was ice and snow on the roads but it was packed at $65 a ticket for semi good seats. Then I go to see living History Ms. KIng- who helped change the World & only a few hundred show up.Tickets were only $$25 dollars. There should have been a crowd around the block.I wanted to go to every house in the state , knock on the door and saw *Don’t you get it. She won’t live forever, listen to what she is saying.”She was VERY anti war & it made some people uncomfortable.Maybe she should have wore a sexy dress like Beyonce—ha.I hope you have a safe, warm week- end . I enjoyed your writing.

  3. LAURA PARISI! its natalie meltzer, just so ya know.
    mbekka informed me that you have a xanga, she told me what it is, and i instantly thought of the picture you drew on the wipey board of your beloved chelsea. you are an amazing artist.
    i have finals this week, so im around in hte afternoons. we should call rachel and get together.

  4. I’m in love with bulbous hair woman! I only have “Stoop Sitter” and “The Queen of England” to entertain me in my neighborhood! A bunch of yuppies moved in last year and now all the crazy people are packing up their raggedy shit and leaving me!

  5. Yeah we have a lady like that who goes to the same grocery store as I do. She has this bigbeehive like hairdo (and I mean BIG) of matted long black hair. Ugh….just thinking of it makes me want to go wash my hair – TWICE!

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