The Babysitter’s Club Mary Anne’s Make-over – What’s all the fuss? It could’ve been much worse – 80’s bad hair samples


Mary Anne's Makeover

When I was five years old my cousin ( same age ) wanted to play barber shop , I was the unfortunate customer – real scissors were produced. Snip snip snip and a couple of screams from my mother later , To even out the damage I was given the stand-by pixie cut ( my cousin received the more unfortunate but well deserved spanking ( don’t get in an uproar – before Supernanny their was corporal punishment not as severe as it sounded – my cousin was probably screamed at more than anything. ) – my hair was not even long enough for a bowl cut. I didn’t care I was young and not the type of child who cared about my hair anyway , the less of it the better. I think for years my mother was still traumatized by the incident because my hair was always kept long, no matter the fact that I loathed having my hair brushed – I had super thick hair the kind that tangles , snarls , knots itself in little bows the moment the faintest breeze passed through it. It’s a little bit easier to manage now. I mention this because I was reading Mary Anne’s Makeover the other day one of the few BSC’s books that I actually considered buying long after I stopped reading the series simply to see what Mary Anne was up to. I mean finally a makeover for Mary Anne! looking at the cover I wondered what all the fuss was about. It was the 90’s so all 80’s haircuts were now history her hip little do looks like something that was circulating at the time, one of the most notable freaky/chic cuts was in Sleepless in Seattle – worn by the slightly dim babysitter Clarice who also wore paisley leggings.
I’m kinda glad I skipped picking up a copy back in 1993 for the simple reason – I would’ve found it majorly disappointing – the side story was abominable – I’m not often that blunt or mean but the whole side story of Marilyn ( one of the twins as in Marilyn and Carolyn ) deciding to build a time machine like Back to the future was about as skimpy as the whole story of Mary Anne’s makeover not to mention embarrassingly out of place. Often the book had an echoing theme going on , sometimes not – it would’ve been nice had Marilyn got glasses or something and had to deal with the fact that she no longer looked exactly like her twin anymore. Maybe hinting at sisterly independence – a riff that would be solved by communication which would echo – the Mary Anne / Dawn dilemma. But Back to the Future? weird – I checked the dates the last one had been put out three years prior to the book’s release.

80'S bride of Frankenstine perm ad

The story starts off with Mary Anne seeing a haircut she likes in a magazine and showing it to the rest of the members of the babysitters club during a meeting. They scoff and smirk, it’s just not you Mary Anne and give each other side looks, like Mary Anne is about five and has decided she wants to streak her hair orange and purple. Mary Anne has second thoughts about her taste until later at home she pulls her hair up and decides she would look good with short hair and asks her father if she can go for it. Her father agrees and even decides to make a day of it , driving her to the mall , sticking around for the result , letting Mary Anne get a free make-over and even taking her out to lunch. The highlight is a trip to a pricey store called Steven E’s where Mary Anne’s dad lets her purchase some new outfits to go with her new look. This is all done in total secrecy and when they get home after stopping off for Chinese food , Dawn sees Mary Anne’s new look and is speechless. Hearing about their fabulous day Dawn is hurt , jealous and feeling left out can only give Mary Anne the cold shoulder and later when Mary Anne calls Logan to tell him about the surprise Dawn picks up the line and blabs the news first in a scoffing ‘some surprise’ way.

The next day Mary Anne hopes for any support and you know she’s in trouble when even Cokie thinks her look is worth a jaw dropping wow! The members of the babysitters club however, have nothing positive to say about Mary Anne’s hair – I found it almost frustrating – who are these people?! I remember a friend having surprised everyone arriving at my birthday party transformed. She’d chopped off her long , to mid back length , hair , it was blonde , but straight and boring , she’d gotten this fabulous new Jennifer Grey perm with the underneath shaved to make it light and fluffy. It was way cool and we all spent like a half hour raving about it and it didn’t even matter that it was one of those haircuts that make you want to buy a wig or a paper bag to hide under – she looked good! And we supported her.

The only two I could see really getting mad were Kristy – after all Mary Anne is her best friend and Dawn cause she lives with her! As for the others – it reinforced how condescending Stacey could be , but Claudia? One described outfit in this book includes – ‘a slouch hat , sequined vest , an oversized button down shirt , stir-up pants , and lace up boots.’ anyone that can wear that – would’ve told Mary Anne how fabulous she looked. And sometimes it’s unnerving how Jessi and Mallory are made to kowtow to the older members. Groveling at their feet like their always on approval. I would’ve thought you could count on Mallory or Jessi to tell Mary Anne she looked good. Even whispered it discreetly after the meeting. I think sometimes that’s how the books following the absence of Ann M. Martin missed the mark – though the girls stuck together they could be counted on to do something unexpected. Dawn is a constant witch in this book – totally unlike her character in books 4 , 5 , 11 etc. but I found Dawn was given a unnerving childish streak when other writers came in – pushy about her vegetables, spying on Stacey , quick to argue. In this book she makes rude, snide comments to Mary Anne , smirks , and avoids her rather than actually saying flat out – why didn’t you ask me to come shopping with you?
The girls behavior made the reader want to reach through the pages and throttle them – To Jessi and Mallory get a backbone! 11 yrs old or not the first person that would’ve broken the ice and said Mary Anne I love your new hair cut would’ve thawed the others initial surprise and do they really think Kristy’s going to throw them out for speaking their mind? To Claudia – what are you offended that she didn’t come to you for fashion counseling?, Stacey -‘ it’ll grow out ‘?! – considering she got her hair permed and cut short – surprising the sitters in book 10 – without their permission who is she to talk – I can’t get over the snottiness of all this! and now I’m talking to fake characters – I must calm down. whew.

You’d think Mary Anne got herself one lulu of a make-over and who are they anyhow fashion Nazi’s? I never did figure out exactly what their problem was , I don’t even think the writer really knew – maybe everyone just followed the more legitimate leads of Kristy and Dawn. And just to show you how crazy Mary Anne could’ve got I’ve included some photo’s I found in an old magazine annual circa 1985? Could be 1984.
80's bad hair neon yellow
A look to scare the boogers out of your little brother , just pop in his bedroom at night with this trick-or-treat look and watch him scream. It could produce a similar reaction out of your boyfriend – and if you don’t have one is this supposed to snare you a guy?! Look into my eyes! and eyebrows and eyebrows and eyebrows. At least that’s what they look like – wave after wave of eyebrows. Tiger lily/silly meets Barf Simpson.

80's bad hair girls teddy-boy mohawk

A spot of tea , scuzzbucket? just a dab , love. This is the most elegant mohawk I’ve ever seen! perfectly coiffed , with a dashing little curl at the end , it looks like it belongs on a girl that would say pardon moi when she slam-dances. The pink glow is a nice touch , anything I suppose to make half a shaved head
look feminine.

80's bad hair big hair - haywire look

Extra! Extra! Explosion at Hair Salon – One casualty. (This isn’t a hairstyle it’s a freak accident!) Fortunately this dazed looking girl – who is looking at life differently – through a haze of bangs , has made the best of a tragedy and now works as a chimney sweep.

80's bad hair troll look_edited-1

Okay it’d be easy to say troll doll – forget it – I think pencil topper – member those?! with the faux troll doll hair , the googly eyes. You’d roll the pencil super-fast between your hands to freak out the little whatchamacallit’s hair – hmmm – Okay you take one side I’ll take another on the count of three we’ll spin her and hopefully come up with a better hair style.

80's bad hair - runs amok

Okay. Hmmm. I’m almost speechless – keyless? what on earth? or maybe not – it’s as puzzling as a crop circle – nah , even the aliens don’t want the blame for this disaster. The only thing this haircut looks good for is as an early model for the Swifer broom!

80's bad hair - the palm tree look

This handy dandy hairstyle is not just a fashion statement. No? No! It’s a spot for your next homework assignment. Yes? Yes! Tired of carrying around bulky school projects? Yes! Now just weave them into your hair! Welcome to paradise atop your head , complete with palm trees , jungle vines and a spot to put your oasis. It’s the future of fashion and function!

80's bad hair from every angle

Well , this proves bad hair can come at you from all angles – if it’s not bad enough to look ugly head on , how about when you’re leaving a room – hopefully, by the spectators never to be seen from again.

Hope you had fun , I did! Don’t take them too seriously as actual haircuts , though , usually anything this wacky is more experiment than anything.

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This entry was posted in 80's Hair, All Series, The Babysitters Club and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Babysitter’s Club Mary Anne’s Make-over – What’s all the fuss? It could’ve been much worse – 80’s bad hair samples

  1. marnalarsen says:

    I’ve recently been re-reading this series and have noticed the same thing. The members gang up on each other when anyone does anything different especially in the later books. In Dawn and the School Spirit War (which takes place right before she moves to California – you know – for good) and the way some of the other members treat her (because she doesn’t want to wear her pajamas to school) is downright sinister. I got an almost Orwellian vibe. (And, this may not have much to do with anything but I still will not speak to a hairdresser that gave me a mullet six years ago). File under hair is a sensitive topic? Good article.

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