Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Bad hair day

Hair is a funny thing. The state of our follicles, or lack thereof, can be either a person's crowning glory or the bane of their life. Still, everyone seems to have a bad hair day story sure to elicit instant sympathy and knowing nods from anyone who cares to listen.

I always know when it's time for a haircut. Once I get to the stage that all I can do is wear my hair up or tied back, it's time for a tidy up. Actually, I'm pretty low maintenance when it comes to hair. I suppose hair is a bit easier to maintain when it is long and straight, hence there are very few products lurking in my bathroom. I don't even own a hair dryer - and if I did, seriously, who has time to style their hair and fry their brain every day? Sure, I'll drag hair straighteners through my hair every now and again, but can't imagine subjecting myself to this process on a daily basis.

I used to work with someone who could seriously be up to an hour late for work if she couldn't get her long, flowing locks right in the morning. I have friends who fret at the first sign of rain, lest their hair start to curl or (shock! horror!) friz after being invaded by sinister raindrops. Years ago, a friend was lamenting yet another bad hair day when she announced that she thought we'd all be better off without hair at all; she wished people just had heads and left it at that. I notice she never shaved her long hair off like she threatened to ...

It amuses and astounds me in equal parts when I hear people in their 40s/50s/60s whose hair is very obviously dyed talk scathingly about others whose hair might be a different colour to what they expected. Maybe the chemicals invading their scalp over the years has helped them conveniently forget that their hair colour hasn't been natural since the 20th century, or do they simply think that no-one has noticed?

A few months ago, I was waiting near the entrance to The Warehouse and overheard a conversation that a passerby struck up with a woman who happened to be standing nearby. Looking up, I noticed that the woman was quite young and completely bald - arguably an unusual sight but not one that I'd feel the need to comment on. The passerby noticed she was wearing a pink hoodie and assumed this 'poor woman' was suffering from breast cancer and standing there to collect money for a good cause. No, the woman replied; she just has alopecia. Apart from having lost all her hair 27 years ago at the age of 4, she is and always has been perfectly healthy. No, it doesn't cause her any bother and no, it will never grow back. The passerby checked (more than once) that the woman didn't in fact have breast cancer like her sister-in-law had. She insisted that the woman must be so brave to go out without wearing a hat or even a scarf ... "Why?" the woman tried to interject (several times). "It's only hair."

And that says it all, folks. On even the worst bad hair day, it will be alright as long as we remember: "it's only hair".

Remember -
bad hair days
were cool in the 90s


Kez said...

It's amazing how much time, effort and bother we put into our hair. We really do let it define us. Which is why those with hair loss disorders or those who suffer the effects of chemicals like chemo are seen as so brave...although that woman in your post sounded rude!
I used to change up my hair style and colour every single time I went to the hair stylist and now I've been sporting the same haircut for months with my natural colour shining away. I'm less fussed about it now and as long as it isn't shaggy as all hell I like it. I'm much more than my hair and outward appearance and it's taken 27 years to feel that way (although that doesn't mean I don't have my moments)!

Susan said...

I must admit I've said "its only hair" on occasion, usually when family or friends nag me to do something different with my hair. I used to wear it long in a ponytail for years and years. Everyone hated it. Then I cut it off real short and failed to get the needed trim every 4 weeks so again everyone hated it so I grew it back and again everyone hated it and I would yell ITS ONLY HAIR. Seems I'm always in a bad hairday doesnt seem to be any good hair days to me sigh. But after reading this I guess I,m glad to have some because my head looks like an egg so being bald is not an option. I envy her self esteem.