Shampoo Boarding

The CIA has finally released an account of the many and various interrogation techniques used on suspected terrorists during the early years of the millennium.

This “torture” report details formerly unheard-of horrors such as “rectal rehydration” and recalls old favorites including “water boarding”.

Not to compare, but whenever I hear the phrase “water boarding”, I am reminded a most unpleasant childhood memory.

See, my mother was not a gentle person and even everyday hygiene tended toward the traumatic.  Especially when it came to my hair, which I wore flowing down my back.  I do not recall that I had any choice in the matter.

While my mother took herself to the hairdresser every week, she never brought me for a professional cut.  She would “trim” my bangs and ends, always at a precipitous slope.  After one of her “stylings”, schoolmates would invariably ask “what happened to your hair?”  So embarrassing.

But even worse were the “yankathons” I endured every morning before school and each night before bed as my mother endlessly jerked a brush though my lengthy locks.  My scalp would throb and burn and it felt like some kind of a punishment.

Captivated by the TV commercials pledging “no more tears”, I begged and begged her to buy “No More Tangles”.  Alas, the promised miracle was merely pretense; in actuality, the potion did nothing to dull my distress.  What I really needed was a topical anesthetic.

Worst of all, without question, were the days when my mother decided that my hair needed to be washed.

She would sit me in the bathtub with my back to the faucet, slide me down, and tip my head, front side up, under the running water.  At the same time the hot and forceful torrent would flood my face, the water level below would rise above my body.

Although I would squeeze my eyes and mouth shut until my head hurt and hold my breath until my chest felt to explode, this routine inevitably led to the same unhappy conclusion: shampoo in the eyes and water up the nose.  Simply terrifying.

It would be many years before I came to learn the pleasure of having someone tend to my tresses.  To this day, though, I still find soaking in a tub terribly uncomfortable.  I could shower for an hour, but I just loathe to take a bath.

© 2014 Jaclyn Schrier. All rights reserved.

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