the transformative power of a new hairdo


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Who knows where the sudden, almost violent, all-consuming urge for a makeover comes from? I certainly don’t but I do know that when it comes, I must obey it. Like a dog scratching at a back door, or my mother when she uses my middle name, the siren song of the new hairdo jangles my nerves and blurs my vision until I submit to it, heart and soul. 

This is why I am currently sporting about half a kilo of a Russian woman’s hair on my own head. It’s been sewn in with a needle and thread by my mate Mon, also a white girl from the country, who spent her youth (pre-internet) phoning African-American hair salons in Chicago in the middle of the Australian night, begging for tutelage in the ways of the weave. Don’t you love it when someone lives their passion?

In primary school I used to sit next to a kid called Trevor who did incredibly detailed drawings of trucks all day long. I Facebook-stalked him a couple of months ago and sure enough, there he was standing proudly next to his very own big, shiny Kenworth truck. It was so life-affirming it made me teary.

While Trevor was busily drawing away in class, I was sitting next to him daydreaming about growing up, moving to a big city and being on TV. It goes without saying that my daydream hair was stunning. I mean, who has bad hair in their fantasy future?

Fast-forward 30 years to last Friday, when I was sitting in the make-up chair at Channel 10 for my weekly session of smoke and mirrors before appearing on The Project. My hair was curled and pinned, teased and sprayed, but an empty space to the rear, on the right, was undeniable. My hair generally had snapped off to the point where no two strands were the same length, but this particular patch sported a gape the size of a tennis ball. You couldn’t see scalp exactly, but it did look like the SES had been doing some back-burning in preparation for summer. 

As anyone who’s ever endured the agony of growing out a very short hairstyle will know, it’s an emotional journey full of regrets and leave-in conditioning products. There’s no escaping the ugliness of it – even Miley Cyrus went MIA from Instagram during the inevitable heavy-bobby-pin phase of her grow-out. 

I thought I was almost past all that. But alas, a couple of months of restless sleep have ground entire patches at the back of my head into my pillow slip. (I tried a satin slip, but I kept sliding off it.)

I knew what I had to do. I needed hair extensions and Mon, sensing the gravity of the situation, found a way to fit me in.

I left Mon’s salon looking and feeling like me, but me in 1998. Is there anything that can possibly beat that? 

“So there’s some poor bald sheila rattling around Russia now?” was all my dad could muster on seeing my stunning new ‘do. I rolled my eyes at him like I was a teenager because that’s how I feel with my lovely, healthy, long blonde hair. 

I’ve started flicking it out of my eyes coquettishly and I’m booked in later for a spray tan. Just don’t look at my head from the back though, please. From that angle I look like a broken doll that’s been hastily patched back together, just in time to star in a small child’s nightmare. Luckily, I can only see myself from the front – and I’m loving myself sick.

It never ceases to amaze me how easy it is to make over my outlook. Honestly, I don’t have to change much to feel completely different about things. I can wake up in the morning feeling like an old woman with nothing to live for, go to a body-pump class, and spend the rest of the day strutting around smugly like Kayla Itsines on day 12 of a juice cleanse. 

My “reality” is incredibly malleable, and when I remember to do something great for myself it changes the way I see everything. Hence I’m currently wearing mascara for no reason and feeling like my life is full of wonderful possibilities.  

May I suggest you try it? Not hair extensions or body-pump necessarily, but whatever will fl oat your boat a little higher in the water. It’s spring, after all. As for me, hopefully the glare of the sunlight will distract people from the back of my head. 

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