Hot rollers are not a weapon

February 9, 2019


Knowing how much Southern women value beautiful hair, Reese Witherspoon recently devoted six pages in her book, “Whiskey in a Teacup” to the art of using hot rollers. 

If you’ve outgrown big poufy hair bows and it’s not a good day to wear one of your towering tiaras (actually, it’s always a good day to sport rhinestones on your head), then fluffy hair is a good place-holder until you can grab a beautiful hat. 

Angels sang the day I discovered a small travel-sized set of hot rollers. Whoever worked at Remington and developed this marvel of modern technology, was a genius and held a passion for all things lovely. I’ve worn out three of these mini-sets, toting them here and there and almost lost a fourth the last time I traveled. 

Our mamas taught us to represent our family well. “Remember who you are” they’d call out as we left the house. As Southerners, we have the same responsibility to be good representatives of our homeland. The unfortunate description of “ugly American travelers” should never apply to Southern women. 

Reese goes out in public like this. She’s wild like that.

In addition to respecting international dress codes and local customs, I also think it’s my civic duty to fully cooperate with the TSA and show respect for airport security. 

However, upon a return flight from London, I was pulled aside for a “random” search. This wasn’t just waving a cancer-inducing radioactive wand around me a few times. I had to step aside, yet in full view of strangers, remove my shoes and empty my suitcase. Everything was dumped out, and I mean everything. It drew a curious and poorly mannered international crowd who doesn’t know we think it’s rude to stare.  My husband knew I was close to angry tears, so he just said, “I’ll see you on the plane.” So much for chivalry. 

Embarking on a trip, my suitcase is neat and tidy. On the way home, It’s crammed full of wrinkled clothes and souvenirs like cheese.  I pride myself on being able to travel with a carry-on most times and was mortified having to pull everything out. And then, the three officers surrounding me said, “Halt!” They pointed at my rollers and looked at each other as if to say, “ah-ha! We’ve found the axis of evil.” 

The two men and one woman — who weren’t British, but from an area where I’m just guessing they don’t have a Bee Bee’s Beauty Barn on every corner, poked at the rollers with sticks and looked back and forth to watch my expression, as if they were going to catch me saying, “Oh dear, you found my explosive beauty accessory I planned on using to overtake your government.” (Although Queen Elizabeth has beautiful curled hair and would have completely pardoned me).

 “They’re mini- hot rollers I explained.  The TSA looked perplexed. “You know, curlers.” Then, we launched into a game of charades and I pantomimed rolling a section of my hair and helped them with the international message of, “I come from a place where we are bombshells, not bombers.”  They looked at my passport again and one said, “Ala-bam-ahh”

I had to re-stuff everything in my suitcase, only to be pulled aside again in Charlotte. This time, after dumping out my bag, the Southern TSA ladies spoke my language and said, “cute little rollers.” But then they took my cheese. 

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