History Lesson

by Marinka on July 29, 2011

My 13 year old daughter and I get ready to run out for some quick groceries.

I notice that her hair is unnaturally shiny.  Like Grease-is-the word-shiny.

What the fuck’s up with your hair, I ask. Albeit not in so many words.

I put olive oil in it, she explains as though that makes sense.

Olive oil? I tilt my head to the side, because I admire the RCA dog.

Yes, she says, with a side of duh.

Whatever for? I ask. Albeit with some hand gestures thrown in.

And she’s all, “Look, the Greeks put olive oil in their hair and they have the softest hair in history.”

And this is why kids shouldn’t do drugs.

What the ever fuck?

But who has time to argue? We go to the store.

And on the way to the store, I tell her that my friend Greek friend Loulou has never once, not ONCE mentioned slathering her hair in olive oil, so I ask my daughter where she heard this load of crap from. (By the way, when I see Loulou, I don’t say, “Hello, my Greek friend!  Let us eat olives and watch Zorba movies!”  I just put the fact that she’s here for clarification. Because I am building my open and shut case.)

“I mean the ancient Greeks,” she tells me.

“That’s not true.”

“Yes, it is,” she tells me. “The Ancient Greeks had the softest hair.”

“They did not!” I tell her, because I don’t want her slathering her hair with oil going forward.

“They did too!” she says, because she is thirteen.

“Well if they did, that’s why they’re extinct!” I say and my daughtger is absolutely stunned.

“They’re extinct?” she asks. It’s like they learn nothing in school these days.

“Well, do you see any ancient Greeks around?” I am not giving up.  I’ve seen Sarah Palin in action. I know how it’s done.

“I’m Facebooking this,” she says.

“Do not.”

“Why? Is it private?” She is mocking me, you see.

“It’s controversial,” I try to massage it.  “It’s painful for our Greek friends.”

And then she says some other stuff that I can’t bear to listen to anymore.

I’m going to be buying a lot of olive oil.

One year ago ...

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed.

{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

July 29, 2011 at 8:10 am

With a side of “duh” – Love that line.


Marinka July 29, 2011 at 9:26 am

I can’t wait until you have teenagers. I can’t wait.


July 29, 2011 at 8:18 am

She is certainly dedicated to this soft-hair thing if she’s going out in public with greasy hair. I mean, if you want to look at the…bright side?

(Also: it’s not mayonnaise. That’s probably an even brighter side. Because, who KNOWS how many cultures that one expired. Gross.)


Anthony from CharismaticKid
July 29, 2011 at 8:27 am

No joke, this idea was floating around in my subconscious this weekend.

“What would it be like if I put a lil OLIVE OIL in my hair? Would my hair but luscious and bold? Would it shine in the sun and bounce like a bounce castle?”

Then I realized I was an idiot.


Dimity July 29, 2011 at 8:52 am

What happened to good old-fashioned lemon juice? I guess it comes down to whether or not you want to be slick or sticky!


Marinka July 29, 2011 at 9:27 am

Lemon juice is for blondes. And my daughter, poor thing, is a brunette.


Carol July 29, 2011 at 9:52 am

Look at the bright side, when she discovers boys she won;t want greasy hair, so that should put an end to the “olive oil makes the softest hair” thing. Boys won’t dig “olivy” hair. And her school chums won’t like it either, so just bite…er I mean hold your tongue for now. This will be done come September……


July 29, 2011 at 10:11 am

Just empty the olive oil bottle and put some watered-down hair gel in there. Just don’t forget to stash a secret bottle of actual olive oil somewhere in the kitchen… I’m thinking Dep probably doesn’t taste good in stir fry.


July 29, 2011 at 10:16 am

You could replace what’s in the olive oil bottle with watered down hair gel. Just don’t forget to stash a bottle with actual olive oil somewhere… I don’t think Dep is any good in stir-fry. 🙂



DawnA July 29, 2011 at 10:35 am

Buy the olive oil with garlic infused. Might keep her out of your pantry! Good luck.


Megan July 29, 2011 at 10:42 am

I get the olive oil thing, but I don’t get the going out with olive oil in your hair thing. My brother and I used to rinse our hair in beer (my brother is gay if that clarifies things) and brush with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide (for a whiter smile).

The real question here is… how does she know the ancient Greeks had the softest hair ever? Who is in charge of feeling the hair of every culture and grading it? Is there a numeric scale? A panel of judges? I need answers!


beyond July 29, 2011 at 10:48 am

umm… i did that as a teenager a few times. although my mother would never have let me leave the house. (it did give me soft hair!)


the mama bird diaries
July 29, 2011 at 10:57 am

You know it pains me to take her side on this because I believe in mother solidarity but…
1. I’m pretty sure the Greeks are still around.
2. Olive oil is amazing for your hair. And it’s very eco friendly. Much healthier that most hair products on the market.


Marinka July 29, 2011 at 11:46 am

I’m too busy rolling my eyes to put you on friendship probation.

Yes, Greeks are still around. But they’re MODERN Greeks. The ancient ones are totally extinct.


July 29, 2011 at 11:30 am

Tell her to use Morrocan Oil instead. Less greasy, smells fabulous, and won’t make you extinct.


July 29, 2011 at 11:42 am

LMAO!!! This post is awesome. Let’s just hope she never hears the one about adding eggs to hair dye. Oh yea, I did that (though I’m not Greek. And word on the streets it’s another Grecian formula for soft hair).


anymommy July 29, 2011 at 11:42 am

A side of duh is genius. Also, What the ever fuck. New phrase.

Not to gang up on you or anything (although I do like aligning myself with Kelcey), but I put olive oil in Saige’s hair almost every day. But, in your defense, I’ve never heard of using it on non-African-heritage hair. FYI, it stains the crap out of your pillow cases … buy cheap ones.


joeinvegas July 29, 2011 at 12:19 pm

When does it feel soft if there is always oil in it? Does she wash it and have one soft hair oil free day a month or something?


marathonmom July 29, 2011 at 12:47 pm

I think you WASH it in olive oil. Like alberto V05 hot oil treatments? But I don’t think he was greek….maybe italian…..maybe spanish????

Tell her she needs to buy her own pillowcases from now on.


Sophie@Fabrications July 29, 2011 at 3:44 pm

Ew. And that’s all I have to say about that.


Heidi July 29, 2011 at 5:11 pm

Yeah. As a kid, I read on the back of the baby oil bottle that you could put it on your hair to make it soft and shiny. So I did. And went to school that way. And had to answer, “Why is your hair still wet?” all day with the excuse that my brush had been wet. You know, that morning — six hours ago.

All because I didn’t figure out that you could put baby oil on your hair to make it soft and shiny, but then you had to WASH IT OUT.

My brilliance was a thing to behold.


Stephanie Smirnov
July 29, 2011 at 6:40 pm

Did you fight the urge to cover her head in tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella, maybe sprinkle some chopped basil over the whole arrangement? That would have been my instinct.


jess July 29, 2011 at 7:20 pm

yeah…confession….after my second baby when my hair went to crap and fell out like I was going bald…one of my first thoughts was that maybe olive oil would help. but now i know, it would not.


July 29, 2011 at 7:44 pm

I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that the ancient Greeks are extinct. That’s some of the most serious bull slingin’ I’ve heard in a long time.


Tina :) July 29, 2011 at 8:07 pm

Once a week you rub a LITTLE olive oil in your hair a half hour before you shower. Then when you shower, you rinse it out. It’s like a deep conditioning treatment. Also, tell her if she does it to much or uses to much oil, the oil can get on her face skin and cause breakouts.


Kara July 29, 2011 at 8:10 pm

Hey, if it keeps the 13 year-old-boys away, I say, “Light? Or Extra Light?”


ladyday July 29, 2011 at 8:14 pm

She’s only 13? Ha, you are so screwed.

said the mother of 18 & 21 year old girls still going through hell.


July 29, 2011 at 8:16 pm

Here’s what you tell her: olive oil doesn’t just stay in your hair, it leeches onto your skin (face/neck/back) which could lead to (insert deep dramatic breath) pimples! That should stop the oil-in-hair antics right in its tracks.


dusty earth mother July 29, 2011 at 9:54 pm

Ack, bad memories. Mama Rose used to put oil in my hair because I had a dry scalp and it caused me no end of humiliation. Tell your daughter that she needs to appreciate you.


July 29, 2011 at 11:41 pm

Laughing so hard at this.

And going to hide the olive oil just in case my daughter gets any ideas.


Kimberly July 30, 2011 at 8:00 am

Mine is putting butter on her lips to keep them from chapping. They read this shit on the Internet.


July 30, 2011 at 8:49 am

I’d love to post a reply, but I’ve got to get Costco to stock up on Olive Oil, as I am totally looking forward to my new soft hair. Does your daughter have the secret to covering grays also?


Anna Lefler
July 30, 2011 at 9:01 am

Dear Lord, this crap had better not start happening at my house.

Although, with my luck, my daughter will go for bacon fat. Because that’s what the ancient rednecks did.


Lady Jennie July 30, 2011 at 5:50 pm

Oh I dread when my children will be old enough to get the better of me.


Nina July 30, 2011 at 6:49 pm

Olive oil is pretty good for hair. Or at least my mother swears by it. It’s the centerpiece of the hair-nurturing regime that she has for my children every summer which begins with shavin their heads, massaging the scalp in olive oil and rubbing it with terrycloth. I have to say my son’s hair has gone from zero to hero since she has been at it, although I wouldn’t mind if she stops because the kid does not need to be Samson.

This Hair Lore was very much the norm in my own childhood. One time a boy in my class put chewing gum in my hair and I ripped it out by the roots leaving a bald patch on my head. I had a troubled summer in which my mother rubbed my bald patch with olive oil and garlic and then made me sit in the sun. I spent several months smelling like salad dressing, but my hair did grow back thickly and luxuriously.

Re: olive oil, the way we do it is as a conditioning treatment. If I oil my hair then I wrap it in a towel and a plastic bag, leave it overnight and wash out in the morning to limit stainage and social awkwardness.


Cherilyn July 30, 2011 at 7:51 pm

Wait till she tries dying her hair with Kool-Aid.


Loukia July 31, 2011 at 9:03 am

My hair is especially dry right now… Maybe I should put olive oil in it? 😉


absence of Alternatives
July 31, 2011 at 12:33 pm

When I saw the title in my inbox, I thought, Yeah, she’s just kidding. She’s funny like that. Then I read the first paragraph and almost had a heart attack. Thanks a lot.


Rhianno July 31, 2011 at 3:30 pm

I use olive oil in my hair just to help with frizz, bit very little. I also saw an Oprah episode where she said she used it in her hair and on her skin as mousturizer, So you know, if Oprah does it it must be good.


July 31, 2011 at 7:51 pm

Maybe if you spent more time with your Italian-American mother-in-law you would know that almost all Italian girls use olive oil in their hair – although they do wash it out. Still, I think a get-away week – maybe to Italy – with just you and your mother-in-law would be very helpful.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: