With warmth comes new fashion hassles

Spring is finally here, and in D.C. that's something to talk about. But we'd best enjoy it while we can, because only a few more weeks remain until these idyllic, breezy days turn into a swampy, muggy nightmare.

I love summer as much as the next girl, but surviving it in style is a perpetual challenge. The hair-hating humidity in D.C. (and in my hometown, Memphis) is enough to drive a fashionista crazy. During all the other seasons, I get my hair straightened every few weeks without having to worry too much about the frizz factor. But last summer, D.C. taught me a lesson I'll never forget.

It was the Fourth of July, a time of patriotic celebration and jubilee. I was ready to eat, watch fireworks and revel in all activities American. But, alas, my beautiful holiday was wrecked by a serious case of the frizzies. It rained that morning, which would've been no big deal, were it not for the skin-melting, unbelievably stifling humidity holding me (and the rest of the city) hostage. Afraid that the rain would prove too much to handle, I was a virtual prisoner in my hotel room.

After hours of sulking in the Crystal City Marriot, I decided to brave the weather and get something to eat. Big mistake. As soon as I stepped outside, I knew that something was amiss. It wasn't raining, but it wasn't clear either. I soon realized that I was in the midst of a deadly drizzle. By the time I realized my mistake, it was too late; the damage had already been done. To my horror, my precious hair was ruined. Just like that, the frizz took hold of a strategically located tuft of my straightened hair and turned it into a sad little afro puff. My emotions took over immediately. I was devastated, pissed off and worried all at once.

As fate would have it, there was one saving grace that turned my horrible hair day into something a little more manageable. A few days earlier, I'd bought a cute, go-with-everything hat from H&M, which I proceeded to wear faithfully until I resolved my hair predicament. This year, I'll be so ready for a showdown with D.C. and its dreaded accomplice, the frizz. By July 4, 2005 I'll have my hair braided, wrapped in a scarf and tucked under a hat. How do you like them apples, D.C.?

Unfortunately, frizzy hair is just one of my aesthetic concerns during the summer months. I also have to contend with shaving every few days, getting a bi-weekly pedicure and not getting white deodorant marks all over my shirts.

Winter is a time of virtual abandon. You don't have to shave if you don't want to. Your feet are covered up most of the time, and putting on deodorant is not an ordeal. But as the temperature increases, so does my frustration. Though it seems counterintuitive, the more skin you show, the harder you have to work.

The actual act of shaving is not that bad, and it does feel good later, but knowing you have to do it every two days takes its toll after a month or so. Although I'm not a big fan of cosmetic procedures, laser hair removal on my legs is one of the few things I've seriously considered.

Even finding a good razor is an ordeal. When the Venus razor debuted a few years ago everyone, including Oprah, was talking about how great it was. Of course I had to see what all the fuss was about, and much to my dismay it wasn't about a whole lot. After the Venus fiasco, I switched to a razor my sister was using, the Bic Soliel. It was great for a few months, but I soon noticed that I was developing some annoying and unsightly razor bumps on my knees because the blades were too sharp. I recently changed my razor game again by going back in time a bit. I've regressed to a middle school favorite: a men's razor.

For now things are going pretty smoothly on the leg front, but there's still one more annoyance threatening to put me over the edge: deodorant residue.

Though this may sound strange, putting deodorant on in the summer is probably the most frustrating part of my day. The problem is in the false advertising of deodorant-making bastards like Dove, Suave and Secret. "Invisible solid!" "No residue!" "Goes on clear!" they tout, but it's all a lie, a clever ruse. I've spent many a sunny June morning rubbing my chalk-white deodorant into a barely visible layer of freshness on my armpits.

For the rest of the day, I have to make sure some of the sneaky white stuff hasn't found its way onto my lovely black tank top or on the wrong part of my arm. Most of the time I feel like freakin' Lady Macbeth, shrieking, "Out, damned spot! Out, I say!" from the nearest ladies' room. If I were a chemist, my mission would be to invent the perfect deodorant: completely invisible, smooth and fresh. But at this point, all I can do is keep hoping and praying for a scientific breakthrough.

Keep your fingers crossed and wish me luck this summer as I combat the frizz, dull razors, deodorant residue and outrageous pedicure prices. It's gonna be a long one.

Need fashion advice or a makeover?

Contact Arienne at at5887a@american.edu.

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