The XX Factor

For Farrah, A Wing and A Prayer

I was 10 years old when Charlie’s Angels debuted in 1976. This is my school picture from that year, my aggravatingly straight and unstyleable hair awkwardly plastered into the style that was referred to, at least in Texas, as “wings.” Wearing your hair in wings, with a middle part and plenty of hairspray, was near-obligatory in the fifth grade at Helotes Elementary. Even the boys, at least those aspirationally cool enough to have left behind the childish mushroom bowl cut, feathered and sprayed their hair. When the girls played “Angels” at school or at each others’ houses (tossing our wings, pointing imaginary guns and shouting “Freeze!” in breathy voices), I usually took the part of Kate Jackson’s Bree. (She was the “brainy one.” Now there’s a low bar: The brainy Charlie’s Angel.) But the beautiful, athletic, popular girls, the ones who could run fast and had hair that feathered right (and who lacked the pink plastic glasses and epic overbite on view in this photo), got to be Farrah Fawcett’s golden and gleaming Jill Munroe.

I can’t agree with Ellen that Farrah will be remembered only for her hairstyle. She did an admirable job of reinventing her career in midlife with the play and movie The Burning Bed , which brought a lot of attention to the domestic violence issues she advocated for later in life. And I’ve always been touched by her turbulent but enduring partnership with Ryan O’Neal, who was by her bedside when she died (and who told the press this week, heartbreakingly, that he’d finally ask her to marry him “when she’s able to say yes”). But since Farrah’s iconic legacy was her glorious, ridiculous, leonine mane (and the unfortunate imitations it inspired), I think it’s fitting that we mourn her with a photo gallery of attempted Farrah-dos gone by. Readers, please dig through your yellowing snapshots and contribute ! Don’t leave  Hanna and me alone in our winged shame! Send photos to .