Let me count the ways. I will begin by listing every hairstyle I have unfortunately been in possession of. It makes me tired just to think of them all.
01 – began with blonde fuzz, progressed to long hair
02 – plaits until end of Grade 4; plaits were a curse, as whenever my dad (who can plait) was away I was subjected to the botched plaits of my mother, who cannot.
03 – had hair hacked off on second attempt at Korumburra salon. Social standing at school immediately improved (though it could hardly have got worse).
04 – steadfastly resisted the 1980s ‘spike’. Thank you god. First perm? About Year 9. It last about three months and then I had to frantically prime it with this new invention called ‘mousse’! There was a girl at my school who used so much of the stuff she was just referred to as Moose.
05 – L and I discover henna. We go fluorescent orange. As do our hands, ears and necks. But it’s natural.
06 – Doesn’t really count but I go second perm. Head is burnt by perm solution and scabs up. Salon closes soon after. Have ‘undercut’. i.e. shave off all the under part of my hair. This is about 1989. I stick with it for a while. Still red.
The actual years and order in which the following styles took place are thankfully all a blur. So, in no particular order we have…
07 – Cropped short and red.
08 – Shaved off to number one.
09 – Black fuzz.
10 – Growing longer, back to red.
11 – Somehow, long and blonde, circa 1998. Too much hair, I look like that screaming Munch painting.
12 – Short, Annie Lennox white blonde, circa 1999?
13 – Short apricot.
14 – Bobbed blue black.
15 – Manky mouse brown circa 1997. Gag.
16 – Longish, blonde on top, pink on the bottom. 2006 spasm.
17 – Then long traffic light red. With layers. Interesting.
18 – Red with some blonde foils. Big mistake. Christmas 2006.
19 – Fried blonde shaggy trailer trash bog. Help me.
20 – Less fried, boring, 50-year-old hair. Straight and sleek. “Your hair,” gasps M, after a decade of messy styles, “It looks clean!”
I’m sure there are people out there ready with the ones I’ve forgotten. The point is, by now, a normal person would have found one of those 20 options suitable and stuck with it. But, for some reason, I continue the hopeless quest for the ultimate hair. Which, as my ultimate hair is curly, I will never attain.
The current downward spiral began with the blonde foils on the red. And was then exacerbated by a spasm, when I had a bad hair day, hooned over to the lady to whom I swore I would never return (my mother’s hairdresser) and ended up with fried blonde trailer hair. Even while she was doing it, she was telling me about the slow release, high dosage opiate narcotics she was on – did I care? No. I just wanted my hair FIXED goddamnit.
It was only later when I was told by a reliable source that the opiate narcotics had become something more than just helpful, that I realised the extent of my follicular tragedy. And that everyone looked at my hair and said nothing. While their eyes said “OxyContin Trailer Trash”.
So, we get to Number 20. I went to a pseudo-classy city salon while we were on holiday. Hemorrhaged my credit card. The whole sordid details will be covered elsewhere. Needless to say, M popped his head in during the 15 minutes that I had been CNN newreader volumised and said that the fog of rage that was emerging from the top of my head had permeated the room, and people were stepping around me like I was some kind of heat dried hand grenade.
With much prompting I managed to salvage a style that was only marginally better than the one I had entered with. I lived with it for exactly two weeks. And today, in my lunch break, I went over to the no-name salon across the road, told them of my woe, and demanded that they do their best to fix it. No, I didn’t want it washed. No, I didn’t care about the colour. For god’s sake, just cut it in a way that makes me NOT WANT TO GAG when I happen to glance in the mirror. And they did. But I continue to muse… Maybe a little bit shorter?