I used to hold my hair round in a field. Just a few additional items that I wore, like Bert Newton, every time I did telly or a red-carpet occasion. A intelligent make-up artist would magically pin it in to make my hair look thick and luscious, as a result of my very own hair is baby-fine and sits on my head like a lank helmet.
I had brief hair for many of my life. As a 10-year-old, I had Princess Diana’s ‘do. In my 20s, I had a crew minimize to match my anti-establishment, feminist, arty-party methods. However once I hit my 30s, an ambition to work in tv – and its unstated understanding of what ladies have been speculated to seem like – satisfied me to develop my hair lengthy. Nobody ever informed me this, however conventions of femininity sort of acquired in my head and hijacked my look.
It was ridiculous. I spent a decade back-combing and teasing, leaping on each supposedly miracle-working contraption – together with a crimping iron that made me seem like I’d simply woken up from 1984 – all for a median end result at finest. It hurts to consider the hours I wasted making an attempt to get “physique” – I might have performed a PhD on the precise physique.
Anyway, fortunately I hit 40 and determined I used to be too drained and busy to spend one other minute making an attempt to make my hair do what it can’t. So I minimize all of it off. Shaved the edges and fluffed up the highest, sort of like an 18-year-old Justin Bieber. It was the best aid of my life. That was 4 years in the past, and ever since then I’ve continuously been informed I am very courageous. For having brief hair! No. Paramedics and the armed forces are courageous. I am simply lazy.
After which, two months in the past, I did one thing I’ve all the time wished to do, however by no means had the heart. I bleached my hair white (see under). I am a hybrid of Billy Idol, Pink and a Collingwood footballer. And now, as a substitute of courageous, in response to the feedback on social media, I am “surprising”, “outrageous” and “hideous”. Or, if the commenter is ruder, I get “yuck”, “disgusting” and “sorry, however you look extra like a person”. The final one significantly makes me giggle. Firstly, why does blonde equal bloke? And secondly, should you have been sorry, you would not say what you mentioned, would you? Luckily, I discover all that on-line noise humorous, not hurtful. Though I do surprise, who says that? It makes me consider a loopy particular person yelling randomly on a bus.
Anyway, I did not ask for approval, so I could not care much less that I did not get it. However I did surprise what had modified for me to lastly spend the 4 tedious hours it takes to go from brunette to blonde. I could not care much less now, however for a few years, together with that field of hair, I additionally carried round a cumbersome, ugly worry of not being accepted. On this occasion, I feared that having hair that was not solely brief however clearly bleached would make individuals suppose I used to be too radical or too masculine or too confronting for our conservative mainstream tradition (really a reasonably correct worry, judging by the web feedback.) Worse nonetheless, I used to be satisfied I might cease getting work. However, as 40 grew to become 45, caring what different individuals suppose grew to become exhausting
Greater than that, I started to get depressed on the sight of myself – not as a result of I used to be ageing, however as a result of I used to be trying much less and fewer just like the particular person I felt on the within. It was bizarre to look within the mirror and see a wise, well mannered model of myself once I nonetheless felt just like the occasion woman of my 20s. Effectively, often, on a Saturday evening if I might discover a babysitter to remain previous midnight.
I made a decision I might quite produce other individuals disapprove of me than fake to be one thing I am not. So I plunged headfirst into bleach, and it is one of the vital liberating issues I’ve ever performed.
My driver’s licence photograph continues to be of brown-haired me, and a postal employee just lately commented, “Look how you’ve got modified!” To take a look at, I’ve. However I believe I’ve all the time been this particular person. The one factor that is modified is I am not scared for different individuals to see it. And there is been an surprising profit. Bleaching damages hair, giving it quantity and physique – at the least till it breaks off altogether from chemical burn. However that is okay. I’ve acquired a field of the stuff to fall again on.