Hair, hair, all kinds of hair

6 Jun

The Suzi cut. One I never want to revisit.

I’ve had a bit of a heavy week, so rather than talk about it I thought I’d write about something shallow instead. Considering I spent the best part of an hour-and-a-half blowdrying my hair tonight, only to be ruined by the first whiff of rain as I stepped outside, I decided to release some of my vitriol by talking about my hairy problems. Not body hair, which I’ve read quite a lot about recently, but the stuff that grows on my head. Both my hair, and the problems I have trying to control it,  are massive.

Now you’re lucky if you’ve got hair, that’s for sure. My friend Kathi writes an excellent blog called All Vega – little baldylocks, about her three-year-old daughter who has leukaemia and is undergoing a two-and-a-half year course of chemotherapy. WIth everything the family are having to deal with, it seems that hair loss is the least of their problems. The whole thing is miserable and unfair, in fact.

Then there’s my best friend. He noticed he was going bald a few weeks ago and it’s making him feel depressed. I told him that I could see why he was feeling down, despite having a pretty decent head-shape. It must be strange waking up one day and noticing that your hair is failing out, thinning, and exposing a scalp that has not seen the light of day since babyhood.

Indeed, when I look at friends who are having issues with hair, or lack of it, I must be grateful that I have an impressive headful. And yet I’ve spent most of my life moaning about it. It was fine before I hit puberty. If Jarvis Cocker wanted to write another verse for his song ‘Something Changed’ then he could have dedicated it to me:

When you woke up that morning you had no way of knowing
That in a matter of months your hair’d change the way it was growing.
Where would you be now if you’d never met
Your amazing friend who styled your frizzy locks
Into something smooth instead
You dunno why but like you said
Your hair changed.

Luckily he never had such an idea, because despite there being a few decent songs about hair, this one, had I been advising on lyrics, would have been rubbish.

Alas, when I started growing pubic hair, the stuff on my head seemed to undergo an identity crisis, thinking it was supposed to take on the personality of another kind. Gone was my thick, straight shiny hair. In its place, arrived a wild, frizzy forest that was undecided on whether to grow straight or curly: the shape of my barnet was also something to behold, as it formed a perfect triangle, the narrowest point starting at the top of my head and flaring out with equilateral perfection, on either side of my ears. My bracken mane had lost its shine altogether. It was a little like the horse hair that was used to stuff old-fashioned mattresses, and by the end of my first year at secondary school I had looked like an extra in a caveman drama.

When it comes to frizz, Grace Coddington and Sonia Rykiel have nothing on me. My hair could down a couple of bottles of serum and still be on its feet. It’s thirstier than a man stranded in a desert. This rapid transformation happened in the days before GHD straighteners. My mother obligingly used to stick my stubborn tresses under a brown paper bag on the ironing board, and in between shirts, would press and flatten it. I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that my hair will never be well behaved. But it doesn’t stop me trying to find new ways to control it.

Here are some more memorable hair disasters:

1) It was my first visit to a salon (i.e. not my mum cutting my hair with orange handled kitchen scissors whilst also occasionally cutting into my neck because she was too busy watching Dynasty). The hairdresser was slimy as hell. His first words as he turned to me were “Now your mother has left, tell me what you want. You’re a big enough girl to make up your mind.” From the cut that he gave me, you would have thought that I had answered “I really think Suzi Quatro has the edge when it comes to hair. I want to look exactly like her please.” The resulting cut meant that I wore a baseball cap for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I think I even kept it under my pillow in case we had a house fire in the middle of the night.

2) I once went out with a guy who hadn’t seen my ‘real’ hair: he’d only encountered it after a muscle flexing blow-dry, or when it was tied back. One evening we went dancing. When we returned to his flat, we showered together. In my slightly drunken head, I was Brooke Shields under the waterfall in the Blue Lagoon. I also had her silky tendrils. In reality, the water had done what it always does. Made my hair like wire wool. Without a single elastic band or a hairdryer (and let’s face it, who blow-dries at 4am?) I think I scared my date. In the morning, my hair, in its natural state, frightened me too, and I still couldn’t find anything to tie it up with. Now, if someone wants to shower with me, they have to realise that I wear a precautionary cap at all times. I also always carry an elastic band on my wrist.

3) The Brazilian blow dry. All I can really say here is I spent £300 on what appeared to be a Superdrug deep conditioning sachet that made my hair smell like a nappy bin for a month. On questioning the stylist the next day as to whether she thought the treatment  had worked, she then told me she’d give me a re-style as a ‘goodwill’ gesture. I was too polite to say no because I’m a sucker for anyone who offers me a complimentary coffee. She then razored my hair from root to tip and sent me right back to the Seventies with, what can only be described as a recurring hair nightmare: the Suzi Quatro.

I’ve just heard about something called the digital perm. It’s meant to transform unruly locks into soft goddess waves. I have to stave off the temptation to go and try it though, because I’ve come to the conclusion that one day, frizzy, dull, dry big hair will be de rigeur.

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One Response to “Hair, hair, all kinds of hair”

  1. lucy June 6, 2012 at 11:12 am #

    You seem to be writing about my hair, which is particularly out of control at the moment. Need to compare notes!

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