16 Feb A Hairytale
I was ‘that’ baby that only a mother could love. I was fat and bald with a moon shaped face and a forehead so big that you could project a movie on to it. I was like a baby version of Bert Newton crossed with Yoda. My sister, who started school shortly after I was born, was so mortified by my appearance that she made our Mum promise to put a bonnet on my big, shiny noggin before wheeling me in for school pickup. When I finally did grow some hair, at around age 2, it was so blonde, fine and wispy that it was barely visible to the naked eye. The picture above is not a result of a disastrous haircut or a stint in the military … nope …. that winning look is the culmination of three years of painstaking hair growth and much TLC. I have vivid memories of standing on a stool with my head in the laundry tub and a cloth over my eyes while mum washed my hair. Afterwards, we’d sit out on the steps and she’d gently comb out all the knots and tell me that my hair looked like threads of gold shining in the sun. I believed her. Well, at least until I started school, when it became blatantly obvious that I was not as well endowed in the hair stakes as some of the other girls who sported voluminous pony tails which made my scrawny piggy tails look pathetic by comparison.
The next few decades were witness to a succession of disastrous hairstyles, all trying to overcompensate for and compete with the natural predilection of my hair to hang limply over my ample forehead. I tried fringes, centre parts (fyi … do nothing to flatter a round face), perms, teased up front fringes and flicks. Litres of hairspray went into securing these styles all of which screamed “trying too hard!” Eventually, in a sleep-deprived haze, shortly after the birth of my first child (and armed with a healthy dose of perspective), I cut off my pathetic attempt at the Jennifer Aniston ‘Rachel’ and I haven’t looked back. My hairstyle may be alarmingly similar to the one I rocked aged three (sans the yellow ribbon), but I’ve finally found peace with my hair.
My new look was met with an equal mix of admiration and surprise. “Wow … I love your hair. How brave of you to go so short” was the general consensus. I suspect some women felt I should have been nominated for a Cross of Valour, such was the courage I displayed. Others barely disguised their disdain with loaded words of encouragement like “that must be so much easier to look after” or “I could never pull off such short hair … but it looks great on you!”
I appreciate that short hair isn’t for everyone … I have nothing to hide behind and I can’t switch up my look … which is the same 24/7 … (unless I’ve been swimming, in which case I resemble Gollum from Lord Of The Rings.) I also get that there’s still a widely held belief that “men prefer long hair” … to which I would say, “well yes … a certain type of man does. Probably the same type that would prefer you to wear short skirts, high heals and to greet him at the door with a glass of scotch.” Contrary to popular opinion, femininity and short hair are not mutually exclusive. (I think Michelle Williams, Elsa Pataky and Audrey Hepburn more than adequately demonstrate this).
So, work with what you’ve got … not against it and dare to be different (unless of course you have a ‘fivehead’ like me, in which case centre parts should be avoided at all costs). As Dr Seuss said …. “Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”