More Hair

25 Jan

There were so many comments about hair yesterday, I thought I’d reblog an old post on that very subject.  I wrote it way back in 2009 so I doubt if any of you have read it.

I don’t like shopping; I never have, even when we had plenty of money. I am intimidated by bored and rude sales assistants – but at least they are better than hairdressers. Hairdressers are scarier than dentists; scarier than walking Stockport streets at night; scarier even than a doctor’s cold hands at a five-yearly check-up. They hold the key to my appearance in their hands, and I am powerless to stop them having their wicked way with me.

I once had a hair cut. I asked the hairdresser to bob my hair to the top of my shoulders, and give me a fringe. As she was combing my hair she remarked on my natural kink, saying that she had one and it was useless trying to fight it. She decided to give me some layers to make it manageable, and then she began cutting, and cutting, and cutting; a snip-snip here; a snip-snip there; here a snip, there a snip, everywhere a snip-snip….

I was in the chair for at least an hour but by the time I realised how short my hair was going to be, it was too late to protest. I wasn’t wearing my glasses and her friendly chat had lulled me into a state of torpor.  She bobbed me to the top of my neck, not my shoulders, so I had what’s known in the hairdressing trade as ‘short hair’.

The hairdresser later confessed to my Mum that she just couldn’t stop cutting, and I was sitting so quiet and accepting that she kept talking and cutting and cutting and talking and cutting in panic.

Tory Boy decided to grow his hair long when he was fifteen. I had to accept his decision but it drove me nuts, particularly as he is the only person I know who can wash his hair without cleaning it and dry his hair so that it remains wet.  Aren’t adverts misleading? As a child I thought only brunettes got dandruff because there were no blondes in the Head and Shoulders ad. I was astonished when Tory Boy got dandruff: my then scruffy blonde baby never rinsed his hair properly, of course.

Then there was the unexpected side-effect of his unplugging the hairdryer without switching it off. Every time I came to use it, it would explode into action as soon as I plugged it in, leaving me several heart attacks closer to a hospital. I tried telling him politely, and followed it up with a threatening email when that didn’t work; eventually I was forced to hide in the kitchen, jumping out on him whilst simultaneously turning on the hairdryer as he walked past, so he could have the hospital bed next to mine.  It didn’t work; he looked at me as if I was stupid and, when using the dryer, began exaggeratedly showing me he had switched it off, and then secretly switching it back on again to catch me out. My only choice was to ban him from hairdryer contact altogether and wake him an hour early so that his hair had time to dry naturally before school. Lack of sleep on my part meant that strategy lasted one day.

Hair plays a big part in my life. I wear a full body apron, no sleeves, and a tubee over my head when I cook, à la Yentl, because the favourite saying in our house during a meal isn’t, ‘That was delicious, Mum,’ or even, ‘Well, at least you tried,’ but, ‘I got the hair.’ My hair finds its way everywhere: the usual places like plug holes and bed, but also into all food (even when it’s stored in the fridge) and behind the toilet. I don’t know how it gets there; it’s not like I ever go behind the toilet to clean.

Even Christmas Dinner can be hair-perturbed: one year, things went better than usual in spite of my mild hysteria, first over cooking, then on putting my chair and all my weight on TB’s foot (screaming adolescents are not good for my nerves, no matter how much pain they claim to be in).  My hat would not fit on my head over my tied-back hair, and I pulled out my clip in a hissy fit, threw it on the floor and tried again to adjust my hat, which snapped back over my right ear, leaving it ringing, me sulking, and my family laughing.  That was the year the boys gave me thoughtful gifts: TB bought me a month’s supply of Maltesers and Spud bought me a Christmas apron, a collapsible washing bag, and a pair of nose hair clippers.

I truly believe that the hardest part of being a parent is letting my children go, which is rather ridiculous, given that I spend all my time preparing them for independence, for a time when they won’t need me. Having said that, there are mornings when I am more than happy to let some of my children go…like the morning when TB berated me for being cruel, wicked and unfair, for not only did I make him polish his shoes and apply his acne cream, I didn’t pass him the lemonade bottle last night when it was me who wanted him to tighten the top after pouring him a drink while he was drying his hair, thus making him late for school fourteen hours later and forcing him to rush.

I admit it: I am a dreadful mother; I thought so as I watched him through the window, strolling to the bus stop while fiddling with his mp3 player, hair doing a passable imitation of Jimi Hendrix in a wind tunnel, clearly determined not to miss that bus he was so late for. It was not the first time my teenage son had stressed me out: he once managed to turn a civil invitation to the cinema into an argument that left me rescinding the invitation and stabbing an innocent chicken sandwich. This is the child that I took shopping with me when he was nineteen: determined to one day rule the world (watch out teachers, you’re heading for a colony in Antarctica), he spent the time choosing alcohol supplies, riding the trolley, and out-Barry Scotting Barry Scott with his Cillit Bang advert impression.

A final word on hair things: the Hub once made pom-poms with our niece, helped her with her cross stitching, made bracelets, and beaded her hair, much to Spud’s disgust at such girlie activities in the man who claims to be his father.  He can cook, he can sew, he sings soprano to my alto…the boys claim he is the most feminine macho man they know.  Twenty-one years of teaching our sons male-female equality and they still think cooking is women’s work.  I don’t know why: never in their lives have I served them anything edible.

A last word on the Hub: when we were courting in our teens, I sat with my cropped head and watched his mother plait his pony tail, muttering all the while, ‘I expected to do this for me daughters but not for me son!’ No wonder he never objected when the gerbils groomed his moustache. And don’t start feeling sorry for him because I’m giving away his secrets: he likes to be kept on his toes by me, believing contrariety is the spice of wife.


23 Responses to “More Hair”

  1. SammyDee January 25, 2012 at 13:01 #

    Fantastic post, Tilly! Absolutely hilarious. I can empathise on so many points.

    My hair gets everywhere too, including in food and behind the toilet. Your conversations / arguments with your kids remind me of ones I had with my sister. I also have my own ‘short hair’ story. I had hair down to my waist when my mum sent me to a neighbour for a ‘trim’. Before I realised what was happening she’d cut my hair to my ears. She told my mum later that she ‘didn’t like long hair’. As if it was up to her!

    The same neighbour, a fully qualified hairdresser I’ll have you know, also gave me the most horrendous perm in the 80s. Not only was it the most ridiculous thing you’d ever seen (flat top then vertical curls to just below my ears – giving my head a distinctive square shape) but she also burned my head in the process leaving my scalp with painful pealing skin for weeks whilst it healed.

    I’ve been uncomfortable visiting the hair dressers ever since. It’s not just ‘leaving my appearance’ in their hands that bothers me – It’s all the additional extras that you don’t know whether they’re going to charge you for or not. (Would you like conditioner? There’s another £10 then. Oh and the scalp massage will cost another fiver. We’ve dried your hair a bit so we can see the colour – That’ll be another £45…) I don’t want to make small talk and I don’t want to be ‘pampered’. Please just make me look presentable and let me out of here!


    • Tilly Bud January 26, 2012 at 12:53 #

      What a horrifying story! Perhaps your neighbour was a prison guard in another life.


  2. laurieanichols January 25, 2012 at 13:23 #

    That was a fantastic post, your hub is a good egg. I have my own issues with hair everywhere because I too have a lot of it and it likes to deposit itself everywhere as well though not in food, odd. on the subject of the offspring, when they drive me crazy I do find myself looking forward to the day that they become parents themselves in the future so that they can be equally or even more tortured by their own offspring. I know not very motherly but there are just some days when you want them to feel your pain.


    • Tilly Bud January 26, 2012 at 12:54 #

      Not motherly, perhaps, but I bet every mother reading this is cheering you on 🙂


  3. bearrunner January 25, 2012 at 13:24 #

    Great post 🙂



  4. imexcited January 25, 2012 at 13:50 #

    Great post Tilly! It keeps me smiling til the end 🙂


  5. viv blake January 25, 2012 at 13:57 #

    Ooh Tilly, what a tortured life you lead. I just love that final pun.I’m definitely not showing that to Jock – he would use it against me for ever more.


  6. Lorna's Voice January 25, 2012 at 14:29 #

    Love your writing style. If only I had the time, I’d go back in your archives and find more of these gems. This was wonderful! 🙂


    • Tilly Bud January 26, 2012 at 12:57 #

      Don’t go back! This is tidied up and much more presentable.


  7. misswhiplash January 25, 2012 at 15:38 #

    You got anymore like that tucked away in your archives?
    That was really funny, and its strange how having your hair done can lead to gerbils and hubby’s tash

    great stuff thank goodness you reblogged


  8. Big Al January 25, 2012 at 16:37 #

    I make it a point to be out of town whenever my wife schedules a hair appointment. She invariably comes back in tears.

    Note to new husbands: saying “it looks fine, honey” will only increase the tear flow!


  9. Pseu January 25, 2012 at 18:46 #

    What glossy locks you have.

    I laughed out loud several times… and as I worked hard a t my Pilates yesterday, my abs hurt ……


  10. bluebee January 26, 2012 at 09:54 #

    I don’t like shopping either

    Entertaining post, Tilly 🙂


  11. earlybird January 26, 2012 at 14:32 #

    I really enjoyed this post, Tilly.


  12. eof737 January 27, 2012 at 11:31 #

    I really can’t stand it when hairdressers do that… they lop your hair off and claim they were in a trance. Please, give me a break! At least you were a bit more forgiving of the snafu.



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I welcome your comments but be warned: I'm menopausal and as likely to snarl as smile. Wine or Maltesers are an acceptable bribe; or a compliment about my youthful looks and cheery disposition will do in a pinch.

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