Bad hair? Blame your parents

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 1, 2004

There’s a little wisp of hair near my forehead that, for years, has driven me crazy.

It’s not curly.

It’s not straight.

It’s not wavy.

Yet, somehow, this little sprig of hair manages to be curly, straight and wavy all at the same time.

Everyone who has ever cut my hair struggles with the sprig, too. It will do fine for a minute or so, and then proceed to go back to doing exactly what it wants. You can gel it, mousse it and spray it and magically, in an hour, it’s right back to where it was.

It’s called a cowlick, an apt term as this lock of hair does indeed resemble the long, curling tongue of a bovine.

I’d always just chalked this coiffure aberration up to my weird hair, but just this week I’ve learned it’s not my fault – my parents are to blame.

Researchers have recently discovered what they are calling the &uot;Frizzled 6&uot; gene. This gene has been found in mice and is thought to control hair patterns. The gene was first identified in fruit flies, where it was blamed for wing hair and other such attractive features.

In mice, the gene has been blamed for &uot;swirling patterns of hair on (the rodents’) hind feet, back of head and chest.&uot; Apparently, these patterns are passed down from one mouse generation to the next, something I’m sure the teenage mice are none too pleased with.

Scientists said since humans have a gene that’s identical to the mouse one, it’s logical that our bad hair is just as much inherited from our parents as is our eye or hair color.

The scientist in charge of this study said you can’t blame the gene for the proverbial bad hair days, and can only influence permanent changes, such as my cowlick. That’s where he’s wrong. Sure, he’s a well-educated researcher at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and I’m just a simple old newspaper columnist, but he’s going to have to trust me on this one. He may have studied hair on mice feet, but I’ve tried to fix my hair on a humid Southern day, so he’s going to have to trust me here.

I can see where my cowlick can be attributed to my genes, but I don’t think it stops there. Just last Tuesday, the back of my hair was sticking up for all the world to see and there wasn’t anything I could do to get it to behave. This situation can only be attributed to some gene abnormality, and thus, is my parent’s fault.

My bangs won’t cooperate? Blame mom.

My hair gets frizzy on a humid afternoon? Dad’s fault.

My natural blonde starts to turn brown? An aunt is to blame (My aunt’s name is Clairol, by the way).

This scientific discovery is a relief to me. I am not to blame, my parents are.

I hope they feel bad. After all, this cowlick is their fault.

Leada DeVaney is the publisher of the Hartselle Enquirer and the Madison County Record. She is the former managing editor of the Shelby County Reporter