Current hairdressing woes aside, my life has been blighted by a rough deal dealt by my genes!
You’d think a sane and rational older adult, in a world with so many problems and so much sadness, would have better things to think about. But my genes preoccupy too much of my thinking time. It’s not my congenital hammer toe, but my hair, which disturbs me.
My mother used to tell me my hair would be the death of her, not a pleasant subject for a child to contemplate.
‘Your hair sticks up in all directions,’ she would say. ‘Cowlicks!’
Basically straight, my hair grows in different directions. The fringe flicks up off my forehead. At the crown it grows randomly in tufts and all along the neckline little twists occur. It takes effort, a water spray and hairdryer to slick it down for an hour.
I tried to imagine how cows could have got close enough for their tongues to have been in contact with my head. My mother had a photo of me in a bonnet at about a year old. She’d propped me on the saddle of a horse on a holiday at the farm of her aunt and some cousins near Nanson, in the mid-west of Western Australia.
‘There must have been a cow on the farm and someone had carelessly left me where it could lick me,’ I thought.
The bonnet was obviously meant to cover the damage done by the cow.
My father called me ‘Henry’ at least for a few months. Henry lived in a comic strip with his one hair curled on top of his head. Most of my hair had fallen out by the time I was six or eight months old, as babies’ hair often does. Dad thought I looked like the comic strip character. Maybe a cow licked Henry, too?
The moral, if there is one, would be that we should be careful what we tell children. Some of our careless sayings could last for eighty years or longer.
Life without curls
When my fine, mousy hair grew at last, my mother hoped it would be curly. She coerced hairdressers. They cut my hair shorter than I liked on the off-chance that if we worked hard enough curls might emerge. Curly hair became my aspiration. I regularly also ate crusts, believing it might help.
Goodness knows why curls were so special for my mother. Her own curly hair? Shirley Temple, perhaps? The baby boy down the street, who seemed to be the ‘gold standard’ against which I should have conformed?
Some of my children and grandchildren have curls. I watched how hard curly hair can be to manage. No harder than straight curly hair, I bet.
I fared badly at school. Bullies called my too-short hair a ‘boys’ cut’. Pigtails made my head ache.
My hair did, occasionally conform. Twice I had it permed, both times with success.
Hairdressers do not fit my idea of good friends. Hairdressing does not soothe me or make me feel special. Self-care never involves a trip to the beauty shop.
I slink off to the salon whenever my hair becomes completely unruly. Very rarely do I feel happy when look in the mirror after a haircut.
Over the past few years, my always fine hair thinned. After Anne died, it fell out in handfuls. My hairdressing woes got worse. Stylists decided that they could cover the patches where the hair thinned. They cut it shorter and shorter so that it stuck out everywhere. Especially over cowlicks.
It no longer covered my hearing aids. They’d been my prized, hidden possessions. Perhaps I enjoyed them most because they were hidden. No one wants the world to know they have a hearing deficit. However, you can read more about my hearing miracle here.
A future without hairdressing woes?
A few months ago, I decided I’d had enough. No more hairdressing woes or torture. I’d grow my hair until the old bob style shown above emerged. I’d also try to keep myself neat and tidy while it grew.
Try and tell a hairstylist you only want a centimetre off your hair because you are growing it! It’s like using a foreign language or speaking in tongues.
Chop, chop, chop! There’s hair all over the floor. More than you thought you’d grown in the past five years.
My new plan includes staying away from hairdressers until at least October. Then I’ll present for my longer, more elegant style. In the meantime, several family members claim they can cut my fringe, cowlicks or not. We’ll see!
Weekly word challenge
This blog is my response to the weekend word blog challenge from my friends, SueW in Yorkshire, who blogs at nansfarm.net and her blogging partner, GC, who blogs at themainaisle. You might like to check out their entertaining websites.