The setting? A Long Island hair salon. The year? 2005. The event? Junior prom.
I was 16 and though I had already been to two proms, this was the first school function I'd ever gotten my hair professionally done for. I saved a little each week from my job working at my grandfather's video store, where ironically enough, my love affair with Buffy the Vampire Slayer began.
B.B.O. (Before Buffy Obsession), I remember teasing my father constantly whenever he would watch the Buffy reruns on TNT. "I cannot believe you watch this, Dad. It's, like, so embarrassing. Switch to MTV and see if Laguna is on?!" (I regret nothing. Laguna Beach season one is MTV's Mona Lisa.)
Oh, but then I wised up and decided to check out BtVS while working one particularly slow shift at the video store. Sure, we were supposed to only play previews or fare that was strictly family-friendly, but hundreds of viewings of Half-Baked, Office Space and Mean Girls told a different story.
I quickly became addicted. Like, really addicted. I burned through all of the seasons. I downloaded music from the show on Limewire (RIP!) and burned CDs. I vowed that The Saturdays' cover of "Wild Horses" would be my wedding song. (Still my No. 1 pick.) I ordered old TV Guide and Entertainment Weekly issues with the cast on the cover on eBay. I scribbled quotes on all of my notebooks. (My yearbook quote? It hails from the Whistler in "Becoming: Part 1.") My dad and I would spend all of our car rides to out-of-state soccer tournaments talking about BtVS. OK, I did most of the talking. He, most likely, grew increasingly more concerned with every passing mile over the Buffy fiend he had created. He was my pop culture Dr. Frankenstein and I was his monster. (This would continue in college with Lost.)
So back to May 2005. It's my junior year of high school and after months of planning, junior prom had finally arrived. My hair inspiration? Buffy Summers in "Homecoming." Which brings us back to that Long Island hair salon, which will forever be known as the Hellmouth. (I take great pleasure in knowing that it is now a liquor store.)
I arrived for my appointment, at a salon I had never been to (rookie mistake), with a photo of SMG from the episode in one hand, a headband almost identical to the one Buffy wore that I found at a store, I s--t you not, called Pizazz, in the other. I was ready to become my idol.
Forty-five minutes and dozens of bobby pins later, I was horrified by what this hack of a hairstylist had done to my head. "It looks nothing like the picture," I wailed, on the verge of tears, holding the photo up next to my face. Fine, I'll admit it: I was totally crying. I was that girl in the salon. Hack of a hairstylist insisted it did and remained unfazed by my meltdown. Her first rodeo this was not.
With no time to change it, and a stylist unwilling to spend another moment with the sobbing Buffy fan, I was forced to head home to finish getting ready. And to watch an episode of Buffy for some much-needed comfort. What was ailing me also cured me.
So what does this all mean? I'd love to wax poetically about the vast impact Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the character of Buffy Summers, had on my youth, that it, and she, helped to shape who I am today. Which they did. When something pretty crappy happened to me during my junior year and it felt like the end of the world, I binge-watched episodes and felt a little less sad, a little less alone. Sometimes, to this day, I wonder how I would've coped if I didn't have the Scooby Gang there to comfort me with their witty banter. Sure, Buffy saved the world a lot. But she also rescued me a time or two, as well, when I needed it the most.
But when it comes to this particular instance, I think it just means you should never take fashion or hair cues from a character who rocked butterfly clips and chokers. At the same time.
Did you ever draw fashion or hair inspiration from a beloved TV character? Sound off in the comments!