I’m a fan of the 60’s and I’ve always loved the geometric creations of Vidal Sassoon.
Part of my husband’s mantra in life is “…expectation is the root of all disappointment.” He’ll say it half-serious, getting the words all mixed up until he has no idea what he’s saying anymore. Despite the fact that he grew up middle-class in a happy environment and he has a great job working in the film industry, his glass is usually one-third full. And when it comes to ME making a trip to the hair salon, he always warns that it’s better for him if I ‘play it safe’–this of course is based on his previous girlfriends, where apparently visits to the hairdresser always resulted in tears, and which, he says, he’d hate to see repeated.
Yes, it’s nice to know that I’ll always be compared to ex-girlfriends, and that he looks to his past experiences with women as a marker of what he now considers ‘predictable’ female behaviour.
Blogger and fashion designer Anne-Catherine Frey always looks impeccably together, and she pulls off short hair like no other.
Hating to prove my husband right, I have to confess that I have indeed cried a river of tears over my hair in the past. The first time I was about 6-years old and my Dad decided that it was time for his daughters to part with their long tresses immediately. He forced all three of us to sit one-by-one, whilst my Mum hacked away until we all had hair which sat bowl-like, just above our chins. I’m sure that we hated our father that night, because in many ways it was the end of our girlishness and denoted the end of our freedom…My Dad had his say, and what we were left with was ugly-versions of ourselves. I’m sure both of my sisters have never had short hair again for that same reason.
Although that was a rough night with plenty of howling, tears, and thoughts that we’d never have our hair in pigtails ever again, I’ve never been one to shy away from drastic hairstyles. Training in martial arts from the age of eleven, I rejoiced in having my hair cut super-short and was often mistaken for a boy, which I rather liked. I even had my hair completely shaved off (to a no.1 ) for a theatre show. Although it was a dramatic change, it was also an empowering one. I remember one night (working part-time as a waitress), I had started wearing a wig to work. A customer commented that he thought I was very ‘exotic’ and trying to be charming, he invited me to have dinner with him during my shift (which of course I declined). I couldn’t help but snigger to myself and felt rather pleased when I walked out the door to go home, having whipped off the wig to reveal my shaved head. The man, still at his table, had a look on his face of complete horror! It was a small victory in my books, and I felt like I wasn’t just doing it for me…but for all womankind!
*The downside of a shaved head was trying to grow it again. My hair grows outwards, so I went through a period of resembling a furry kiwifruit!
Photography: Scott Schuman (The Sartorialist)
But yeah, I’ve always romanced about the prospect of a new hairstyle and the possibility of being somehow transformed. Going back to when I was growing up– I aspired to look like the brunette with luscious, long wavy hair that adorned the box of my Mum’s hair perming kit. She looked like a young Brooke Shields, and to me, she was the ultimate woman. One day (I told myself), I would be just like her! In reality I had extremely thick, coarse straight hair. Hair ties would snap as I’d try to wrangle them around a pony tail, and the weight of it tugged at my temples giving me a headache. My hair is stubborn at best and barely takes to colour, plus it requires double the amount of perming solution to have any effect.
I cut my hair short the day after my wedding in April 2011 and kept it short for a year.
Thinking about it, it’s hard not to be attached to our hair in an emotional way.
People judge us by our hairstyles as much as they might do the clothes on our back. If our hair is unruly and unkempt, it can convey an attitude of “so, what?” And whether we wear dreadlocks, a mohawk, a classic bob…or we cut our hair (or conversely), grow it long as a statement of rebellion or defiance–our hair will always say something about our lifestyle, attitude, religious beliefs, and more importantly, how we feel about ourselves. And perhaps that’s why we might cry over a bad hair day or be overcome with emotion, when the hair cut that we hoped and prayed would magically transform us, doesn’t go according to plan.