Right hair, right now
This may sound dramatic, but I don’t know what I’d do without my hair. Although it was late arriving- I was practically bald until the age of 3- since we’ve been together we’ve been inseparable.
My hair is no particular colour at all. Dishwater brown would be the best way to describe it. I dyed it for a year or so as a teenager: jet black was my colour of choice and it looked horrific. Thank goodness for photos: looking at them ensures I’ll never make that mistake again. There are now hints of grey and my natural highlights seem to be dulling, but it is still thick and around 24 hours or so after washing it, becomes somewhere near manageable.
My obsession with my hair comes from both parents, I think. My mum hasn’t given her natural hair colour any opportunity to make a reappearance since the late 1970s and used to spend for ever getting it ‘just right’ in front of the mirror, regardless of whether she was going anywhere. My dad is constantly heading off to the hairdresser and agonising over what style to get and whether it will look right. My parents are frustrated gay men. My father went grey shockingly young; he was badger-white in his early 30s but still held onto a luxuriant mane. I only ever think about my encroaching strands of grey when I’m in the bathroom at my mum’s house. She has a mirror in front of the window that reflects the light in such a way that I look as if I have milk pouring down my locks. I try to avoid this mirror at first but then find myself wide-eyed in fascination at the refusal of my 31-year-old hair follicles to keep in line with my 22-year-old brain.
I have had just about every hairstyle it’s possible to have without growing your hair overlong or ten feet tall. Hardly a product in the world exists that I haven’t tried in an effort to control my wayward barnet. Like a king of a far-off fairytale land interviewing suitors for his princess daughter’s hand in marriage, my hair has entertained mousses, gels, waxes, pomades, sprays and creams from all over the world, eaten and absorbed them whole, the result looking no different. When I get my hair ‘done’ somewhere new, the stylist will inevitably offer me the chance to buy some product or another and I will give a hollow laugh. Occasionally I give in because buying product from a hair stylist is one of my favourite pastimes, but regret it instantly as I realise the product only works within the confines of a salon and in the hands of a slightly effeminate, perma-tanned man with MTV hair. Sigh.
So, hair, while we haven’t always got on and we might be going through a few changes that I’m not thrilled about, I’m very glad you’re still here.