03.02.11: ask kidchamp, round IV {quiffs, magazines, beach reads}

What do you know about gelatin & hair?!?

A: i know that gelatin's the go-to stuff for relatively weatherproof mohawks,* and that it's the styling product of choice for synchronized swimmers (it'll reliquefy with moisture and warmth but stands up to cool water quite well). it's better for your hair than spray (which is often alcohol-based) or glue (which is, you know, glue), as it's related to keratin; it's related to keratin because it's made of bone and connective tissue, unfortunately, which is why vegan punks won't use it and why i can't eat most haribo products.

saw the devil wears prada for the first time last night. is that really what it's like?

A: my first magazine job bore an unfortunate resemblance; i spent a miserable summer afternoon sprinting around the city in search of a particular kind of vitamin water, and i was frequently frostbitten for missing references to peripheral media properties in the dozen newspapers i had to skim before leaving for the office each morning (or for forwarding those references a minute or two late). i was tempted to expense my cigarettes that year, and i still feel queasy panic when i read certain new york papers. my current job is almost nothing like lauren weisberger's at vogue: my coworkers occasionally wear flats, are frequently pregnant, and are almost always considerate. that said, there is a fairly constant stream of weird free stuff, i quarter cupcakes without irony, and i've lost count of the number of times i've shared an elevator with someone who suddenly whipped off their pants.

can you recommend some beach reading? i'd like something fun to read that isn't trashy.

A: well, i continue to think raymond chandler turned out some of the tastiest prose in town. though his novels are detective stories, i don't think you have to worry about putting him down and losing your place as you vacation; he's a stickler for continuity, and his eye for detail is so bleary-perfect that you can return to his settings in a blink. try the big sleep, and maybe have farewell, my lovely on hand for emergencies. if you want to stretch a bit more, several of the essays in DFW's a supposedly fun thing i'll never do again are great fun; try the title piece (re: a caribbean cruise), or "getting away from already being pretty much away from it all," on the illinois state fair (pdf here). i also conferred with some bookish locals on your behalf: our lovely entertainment editor recommends the paris wife (a fictionalization of hemingway's relationship with hadley richardson), a novelist friend says that she "kind of liked/hated" j courtney sullivan's commencement (about four women who meet as undergrads at smith) and notes that freedom moves along at a good clip; maddie dawson's the stuff that never happened is a big favorite with my lady the book editor, and said editor's upcoming thriller (cara hoffman's so much pretty) is "amazing." i also think you should make a grab for my itinerant copy of a discovery of witches, which has, i believe, recently returned from thailand.

imaginary reading group discussion questions

01 how big was/is your biggest hair?

02 would you be more likely to need gelatin for a mohawk or for synchronized swimming?

03 worst job you ever had?

04 should i bring a book to iceland? one could need a beach read for the blue lagoon, no?

*a friend of mine dated this kid called ender who'd slather his hair with gelatin and iron out his foot-tall mohawk on a board. that's neither here nor there, i just thought you should know.


naurnie said...

1) my hair is naturally big. it's think + curly/wavy. i grew up in louisiana, so the humidity made my hair massive. it took me a long time to learn how to fix/control it, but it gets big easily. especially when it is hot outside.

2) probably neither. i'm not brave enough for a mohawk and i need earplugs for swimming (like a huge dork).

3) i am currently sitting at my desk at the worst job i've ever had. and i've had lots. most of them involved record labels and my bosses were eerily similar to ms. wintour, except with bad fashion.

4) you should, although i dont know what it should be. you've probably already read everything i would suggest. but you should not read something stressful. vacations are for relaxin'.

celia said...

01 my life's mission has been to make my hair not big

02 both, at the same time.

03 sadly, there's been too many to narrow it down to just one. garde manger at a chinese restaurant where i was the only girl in the kitchen and the only one not born and raised in china was pretty bad though. it's not fun when all your coworkers are talking about you and snickering at you in another language. 

04) yes, at least for the plane ride over. 

Rachel (heart of light) said...

1. My hair does not go big without a major battle. There is plenty of it, but it is almost painfully straight and I am painfully inept. Sponge rollers + copious gel application remains the only route to biggish hair and I haven't tried it in years.

2. Are vegetarians allowed to use gelatin as a topical application? Gray area? (Not that it applies to me)

3. Calling people to ask for money. I would sweat through my clothes during my shift, cry after every shift and I was getting paid minimum wage.

4. Um, you should bring multiple books, everywhere. What if you get stuck in an elevator and there is no good graffitti on the walls?

kidchamp said...

oh, naurnie. you should get to expense your sazeracs.

celia, i can never decide if i'd rather understand what's being said about me or miss it and assume it's not as bad as i think it is. my hearing is all rock-concerted out, so the latter is effectively chosen for me.

gray area here, rachel; i've brought home a couple of bottles of hair stuff with caviar extract in them (see: strange freebies) and used them without too much cognitive dissonance. that said, i wouldn't buy them in the store; i decided they were OK because they were scavenged. THAT said, i do, or did, buy leather products (here is the big ideological justification: when i was 13 and went veggie i didn't want to wear plastic soccer cleats). i'm experimenting with cutting that out, and so far it sucks but feels better.  

anonymous said...

1. my hair is straight as an arrow, even more so from the weight of the length, and can't hold a curl. but SOMEHOW, with her magical new jersey powers, my ma gives me GIANT hair upon request. HUGE.

2. synchronized swimming

3. i'd say its a three-way-tie between outback steakhouse server, pharmacy technician at CVS, or demolishing kitchens & bathrooms for a general contractor (one with my history might have included census taking in 2010, but fuck, i made 6k in 2 months doing nada! thanks USA!)

4. no. drink in your surroundings.

holli. said...

oh, why was i "guest" :( ?

Amanda said...

01 My family's all about hair, meaning that I was the recipient of goodly amounts of bang teasing until I was old enough to remove my noggin from my mother's and aunts' Aussie-hairspray-wielding purview(s). Which is to say that my hair was regularly amazing (read: teased into oblivion) for school-picture days and weddings throughout grammar school and then not again until I moved to NYC two years ago and realized curl, which I do my v. best to diminish. Only the smell of Aussie hairspray remains.

02 Synchronized swimming. Or fashioning stickers to affix to my head.

03 Worst jobs always seem a challenge to me--I revel, in some strange way, in sticking them out. This has made for several of them.

04 Always carry books. Especially to Iceland.

Amid Privilege said...

01 - My hair is biggest just now. Today. On the sofa. Since I'm giving up hair dye, the slightly coarse nature of the greys is causing bigness. Said bigness is aided and abetted by lack of expensive cuts and the resultant lotta hair.

02 - Mohawks. Swimming is too lovely to mess around with costumes.

03 - My worst job was also the one that paid me the most. Managing what started out as 30 people, in a company run by a husband and wife team. The bloody saga shall remain untold.

04 - Bring a book. For the airplane. Buy it at the airport. Something with Large Gold Script on the cover.

Amanda said...

01, cont. This is not to say that I *use* Aussie hairspray today, but that it is, to my mind, the smell of the '80s. Unsure why I needed to clarify this point.

04, cont. Furthermore, I beleive this question to be a trick--you wouldn't not take a book with you, she who carts W&P on the subway. You're just trying to pinpoint your enemies, aren't you?

kidchamp said...

pharmacy techs unite, holli! i actually liked many things about that job (getting to rescue newborn kittens and hide them in our file cabinets with latex gloves filled with warm water, researching weird drug interactions), but i did not like having to mix up the controlled substances the vet techs used for euthanasia. 

A, i think i need more of your big hair pictures. and you know i covet your curl; i thought of you last night when i got in a "no, YOUR short hair is better!" duel with a freelancer in the elevator. 

it's true that a book almost always lives in my bag. but it could be a book i could finish on the plane and/or in the hotel after joe's fallen asleep, as opposed to a book big enough that i carried it around reykjavik and/or on the bus to thingvellir.

...but yes, probably.

@AmidPrivilege i do love the airport zen of finding a plane-friend from the local population. i was once at a kiosk in...JFK?...and discovered someone's used copy of as i lay dying mixed in with the dan browns. in retrospect i should have taken it, but i think i bought the russian debutante's handbook instead.

g said...

01  big: no.  stupid: yup.  you already know the story - had long hair, got hot in mid-summer, shaved off sides and back.  resulting double-wide mohawk-ponytail was ... something.  i drank a lot in 1994.

02  see 01.  not that i ever put it up, but we're just talking odds, here.

03  receptionist.  seriously, i was a receptionist for an entire summer.  the job and i hated each other equally.  the fact that people were often openly confused by a male voice answering the phone somehow made it even more annoying.

04  i have this weird compulsion to buy shitty novels at airport bookstores.  this is why my bookshelf contains "the bourne improbability," "bourne vs. the supremes," and "bourne: ultimate party mix."  or whatever they're called.

olivia said...

1) I have big and wavy hair. I think the biggest was when I was about 12 and the hair stylist gave me an awful bob designed for straight hair.

2) swimming, I guess

3) working at an "upscale" athletic apparel brand

4) when I was in Iceland in May a few years ago, it was so windy that any part of you that you let surface above the blue lagoon was instantly cold. I can't imagine hanging out with my hands in the air holding a book. Also, my Iceland trip was the best vacation I've ever had, I hope you love it.

gracie said...

01 4" taller? <a href="http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=176922819005018&set=a.176922449005055.39957.100000619023486&theater">here</a>

02 mohawk, duh.

03 interior design assistant

04 short stories