Sunday 15 September 2019

Hair Affair

Photo of Pipistrello and her Mum, 1967
Me & My Mum, 1967
Photo credit: Flying With Hands

Dear Reader, my lovely mother and I were looking at this photograph recently.

"That straw hair of yours!", she said. 

Mum is 20 here (yes, a Child Bride) and I'm evidently thrilled to have turned One on this day. My big present, by the by, was Teddy, who you've met before around these pages. 

As you can see, Your Correspondent did not inherit her Mother's raven hair, but what you won't see is that neither did she inherit her ability to style said hair, even after a further 52 years have passed. Practise has not made perfect as Pipistrello has ... Hair Issues. Fine & straight at the front, thick & wiry at the back, a bit of a cowlick here and an ability to mat into wannabe dreadlocks there, all on its own volition, mind you, at the mere whiff of a breeze or glancing brush against a knit ... It pains me to admit I cannot master my own hair after all this time.

I necessarily keep mine long, as it gives more me more options for wrangling its unruliness into submission, and a sighting of a glorious mane of hair will always grab my attention. A casual glance at my Pinterest pages to see where my particular fantasies lie gives a good indication of my vexed relationship with my own tresses. Like any obsessive, I "pin" all manner of Hair Glories as inspiration. Par example, a youthful Lauren Hutton, below, sports my Idea of Unruliness:

B&W photo of Lauren Hutton and her hair in flight, Vogue Magazine June 1968
Lauren Hutton and her joyous locks
Vogue, 1968
Photo via Pinterest

But with hair like straw? Yes, in Reality, Worzel Gummidge doth spring more to mind...

Photo of Worzel Gummidge
Delightful, non?
Image via Google

Growing up in the 70s, the shampoo in our bathroom cabinet at home came in a couple of flavours: Green Apple or Egg. Conditioner wasn't around then but a tiny, little bottle of optimistically-named Tame de-tangler was all for me and my Special Needs. Sadly, Tame never really worked.

Tame hair detangler 1970s
Promises, promises
Image via Pinterest

Because I'm bewitched by fads, I've gone no-poo, so these days it's apple cider vinegar, unbelievably, that works a treat on those knots. It only took five decades to figure that out, but then any long-haired woman from ages past could easily have whispered the name of that magic elixir into the ear of any cloth-eared modern woman, deafened by Advertising and its siren's call of Promises. (Although Flex did a mighty good job, as I remember.)

I have not the disposition for a high-maintenance short cut & Mr P. is anyways a Man for Long Hair. So it is but once or twice a year that I trundle off for a cut, occasionally supplemented by a bit of scissor d-i-y at the bathroom mirror, and meanwhile Fuss About with pins, combs, hot rollers etc. And thank goodness for hats! Sheer laziness results in either the simple chignon or ballet bun as the go-to 'do, but the elaborate Up-Do worthy of gracing a satirical pamphlet circa 1776 is ever the goal.

Oh heigh oh, or a view of the back settlements engraving published by M Darley, London 1776
High hair fashion in 1776
Why not today?!


  1. I have unruly hair too. It used to be very thick and curly and horribly frizzy, especially during my teenage years and early 20s. Then I discovered straightening. That dried my hair out quite a bit so these days I resort to keratin treatments. Thankfully, I don't have as much hair as I used to. My hairdresser keeps telling me that I now have a normal head of hair. Beautiful photo of you and your mum. I am sure that it's a precious memory.

  2. Oh, a normal head of hair - one can only dream of such things! Yes, the attendant thinning is also a delightful accompaniment to age. I could never get the hang of straighteners but did have a chemical straightening done once in London about 20 years ago. It lasted all of about 2 weeks so luckily I didn't take up that Bad Habit. I don't remember the day of the pic, it's in the pre-memory department, but had to laugh when I took a photo of it for today's blog post as I realised I was wearing the same outfit - white top and red trousers! Some things never change...

  3. I'm just a hair--har-har!--younger than you with a similar situation atop my head. I hated having my hair combed out after washing. It would always make me cry as I had so many knots.

    I remember the shampoo choices being rather scant. I think we could choose between 'poo for dry or oily hair and that was it. Wella-Balsam was the brand that comes to mind as well as Flex.

    I can't be bothered going to the salon much, so I currently wear my hair long. It's usually in a bun and out of the way.

    My husband loves the fancy shampoos and conditioners that smell of tea tree oil and peppermint. I always nick his conditioner because it works so well!

  4. Ha! I've a headful of hair puns, too, but will keep them under my hat for now...Sounds like we were cut from the same cloth. I wore the allegedly fuss-free short cut until I was asked the fateful question by an inquisitive woman if I was a boy or girl (ah, the androgynous 70s) so I put my foot down and insisted on having it grow. Short, long, makes no difference to its natural state of unkemptness and knot situation, but long means you don't have to think about hairdressers for months at a stretch!

  5. Your mother is so beautiful!
    I have many complaints about my body (too short, never pretty enough or thin enough or big-bosomed enough to get a second look), but my hair is--was--my best feature. I had it down to my bum as a teen. Now it's in an Anna Wintour bob. Works for her, so why not. It doesn't take much of my attention.

  6. MY HAIR was MY BEST ACCESSORY TOO up until a few years ago!
    NO one really talks about these things happening and I at 50 something did not ever think my hair would be falling out at this age!
    My latest DISCOVERY is a white eyelash!!!!!!
    YES, just one eyelash on my lower lid!

  7. Thank you, Taste of France, I think so, too! A having a young and lovely Mum was ever a bonus in life ... Now for you, to have a crowning glory that distracts you not, what a joy!

    You are so right, Contessa, the complaints should really only come when it's not there any more!! You've still plenty to go around as far as your pics do show and I'd hasten to suggest it's still worthy of admiration. But I am shocked to hear about the eyelash situation - I did wonder if that was going to be the next major irritation in the Ageing Department. The eyebrows are bad enough ... Three cheers for brow mascara!! xx

  8. I tried commenting on this when traveling and was locked out. Your mum is beautiful and always keep this pic near at hand. No woman is more beautiful than when watching her child laugh.

  9. Thank you, GSL, mums are a lovely breed! I have since had it framed...Comments and blogger are strange bedfellows. Who knows what goes on behind the scenes?


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