A long, long time ago I had really severe issues with cutting my hair. I had dead straight blonde locks and the very idea of losing them terrified me. That goes some way towards explaining why photos between the ages of 5 and 10 have me looking like I was trying to get cast as Creepy Ghost Girl #4 (the other half of that explanation is that I was, and in fact remain, as pale as a ghost).
My hair was one of the key reasons I dreaded Mother Painefull going away for any length of time. That left Father Painefull and I staring at each other fearfully each morning in the knowledge that he was going to have to plait my hair. Nobody looked forward to that (including the neighbour who would then re-plait my hair as I went past on the way to school). Pity the Housemistress who inherited that problem once I headed off to boarding school.
Mother Painefull once became so exasperated with my refusal to have any significant haircut that she tried to trick me into getting one by lying to me about how big 10 inches was. Luckily she was foiled.
It wasn’t until late high school, sometime after my fellow boarders threw out my beloved overalls and before Mrs Woog frogmarched me to get my ears pierced, that I truly accepted what was clearly an irrefutable truth – it’s just hair. This occurred to me just as I was coming to terms with the fact that Life wasn’t really going to let me sail through it as an Icy Blonde, no Life was intent on making me a Mousy Brown.
Determined to deny the genetic instructions being sent to my follicles I began an era (that still continues) of Open Season on my hair. After some trial and error it became apparent that, wait for it, hairdressers know more about hair than I do. Revelation City: Population 1.
But my ongoing system of pulling out a book, telling the professional with the scissors to do what they want and letting them have at it hasn’t always led to resounding applause. Sometimes I have to agree, yes, the hairdresser has made me look like some weird hybrid Zebra-Cheetah.
Some of my more distinctive outcomes have included…
The ‘Funky’ Asymmetrical Cut
Useful For: playing Two-Face in a community theatre production of The Dark Knight
SALON STRANGER: (1st to the woman next to me)Wow, I just want to tell you I love your hair. (turns to me) Yours is… well I’d never have that kind of but… aren’t you… but each to their own, right?
Back Of Head EXPLOSION Cut
Useful For: being the body double for Kate Gosselin during her own hair EXPLOSION era
DAME DEADPAN (former boss): Well now the back of your head is better to look at than the front of your head.
Top Deck Colour
Useful For: paying tribute to a superb block of chocolate
MRS WOOG: I didn’t like your hair last year.
ME: Which look?
MRS WOOG: All of it – 2009 was a bad hair year for you.
Useful For: looking like the unemployed, oddly red-tinged student I currently am
LIVINIA: Don’t take this badly but the word that comes to mind is... ‘Newtown’. Then paired with your glasses, you know thick rimmed and square, it’s kind of like… Newtown times Newtown*.
And so my quest to avoid the Mousy Destiny fate intends for my hair continues. And every time I look up to discover what some overly-chatty hairdresser has done in the process, I can reassure myself that at least hair (like my dignity) will always grow back.
* = Newtown, for the unfamiliar, is where the Sydney student-art crowd typically can be found sipping lattes while wearing brightly coloured, mismatched footwear, berets, skinny black jeans and statement shirts, paired with the ironic gaze of someone who knows exactly how soy products are made. When Livinia likens a person’s hair to Newtown (as she did this Saturday), she's just searching for a polite, euphemistic way to say she’s not a fan.