Hair. Why is hair often so fraught with drama as women get older? Hair is very important to a woman. I know this. When I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Disease over ten years ago, my diagnosis came about because I was losing my hair at the front of my hairline. This was one of the single most horrendous discoveries of my life. It actually lead to a drama-filled breakdown in a bathtub followed by years of anxiety about my hair.
Of course, this was most certainly made much worse by the fact that my hair was considered (by me and many other people) my crowning glory up until that point. I was the child and then the teenager and then the woman that people stopped in the street to compliment my hair. When women of the more jealous variety found out it was all natural their responses were occasionally far from magnanimous. You see, I had inherited my father’s extra thick Italian hair, but somehow got my mother’s blondness with it. It was the colour of the sun and it was glorious.
Of course, all this attention on my hair made me both vain and anxiety-ridden at the same time. From quite young I had a recurring nightmare that a horrid little bald man with a few long, grey wisps of hair on his fleshy pink head was trying to sprinkle dust on my hair to make it fall out. Because of that I used to wrap my long hair around my arm and sleep with it like another child might sleep with a teddy bear.
Apparently thick hair with the natural colour I had was a bit of a rarity and I was offered several thousand pounds for it when I was living and working in London. I was a barmaid in London living on about £2 an hour. My hair grew at an alarming rate of knots, but I never even entertained the thought of actually considering the offer. Don’t touch the hair, man.
Except for a disastrous dying of red for a stage play when I was 19, I didn’t touch my hair with hair dye until my wedding day and that was with a few highlights. Prior to my hair starting to fall out, just like in the nightmares of my youth, I never had any concept that as you age your hair changes in texture and colour and volume. I thought I would have the head of hair that wig-makers offered thousand of pounds for forever. There really should be a guidebook about all these things.
So why am I musing about hair and is there a point to this story? I’m musing because I don’t love what my hairdresser did with my hair yesterday, and there really isn’t a point to this story, just good old-fashioned musing. Yesterday I paid my hairdresser handsomely for her attempt at dying my hair to its glorious colour of old. (I’m actually always paying hairdressers to do this.) It’s an un-replicable colour though. I’ve been told this by every hairdresser I’ve ever shown a picture of my virgin, younger hair to. They all say wow and then look uncomfortable.
I know I shouldn’t complain. I still have a fine head of hair. And thank the lord (and my Italian genes) that I had so much to start with when it started falling out.
My hair and I have had some grand adventures together: the red dye job that went horribly wrong, the $700 African braids that looked amazing and weighed several kilos, the offer of thousands of pounds from a London wig-maker, the post-India, Sinead buzz cut, and of course, this one on the lead up to my wedding day – this one still makes me laugh.