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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Old Boilers Wearing Long Hair

I set fire to my hair on Saturday afternoon.

I was carrying a pancake flavoured candle and had my hair out and it must have connected with the flame and before I knew it there was flash of radiant orange shooting up towards my scalp. It smelt appalling… like burnt hair, actually. 

I shrieked, like Nathan Lane in Birdcage and Scotto came running into the room expecting to see one of the dogs ablaze in a fiery fur ball.

Serves me right probably, for having long hair when I’m an old woman.

I’ll be seeing my mother soon when I go down to the Gold Coast and I know she’ll disapprove of how long it is. I’m a bit frightened because I know she hates it with a vengeance. As far as Mum is concerned I should have had it cut off short as soon as I hit forty. She’s not the only one. Some of my friends have suggested I might think about cutting it off… you know, to give it some ‘body’. “You look like Cousin It, Pinky!” was just one sensitive comment among many.

It’s not that I’m trying to look like a teenager. Although sometimes when I’m on a walk, a teenager riding up behind me on his bike will turn around for a gawk as he passes and I can see the expression of horror on his face when he sees what a wizened goblin I am.

It’s just that if my hair’s cut short, it has exactly the same flat, straight, fine texture… except it’s short and makes me look like a radiation victim or a very wrinkled ten year old boy.

Plenty of older women have long hair. I’m not going to put images of Jane Seymour, Courtney Cox, Elle McPherson and Demi Moore up because obviously they’re famous and beautiful and I’m not… but why should the fact I don’t have a personal stylist stop me from having hair long enough to braid?

I had it cut into a short bob a couple of years ago (it was a self-flagellation thing and I deeply regretted it, it’s what I do when I’m hating on myself) and when I walked into the staffroom, the first thing someone said in a shocked voice was, “What have you done to yourself, Pinky?” I held back the tears, somehow, knowing it would take years to grow back.

When I was a little girl my mother made me wear my hair short, like a boy. It was because of the turn I’d put on when she tried to comb out the tangles, I guess. But it’s my choice now and if I want long hair I’ll have it.

When I’m sixty I’ll have a long grey plait and dress like a hippy. When I’m seventy I’ll wear it in an elegant bun and wear pearls. Scotto says he’s fine with it, except he’s jealous because he hasn’t got much hair at all to speak of.

I might never have it cut again and go for the Guinness Book of Records for the oldest woman alive with hair so long she can use it as a lead when she takes her German Shepherd for a walk.

You’d think by the time you reached your mid-fifties, people would stop telling you how to groom yourself wouldn’t you? 

But no, apparently it doesn’t fudging work that way.

Most recent photo of my hair... yes I was a bit pissed... shut up.

What do you think? A trim in order?