And then I was eight
No cute childhood picture today, I think. Nor, perhaps, for the next few days/years. Not because kodak happened to be on strike for several years. Unfortunately, they didn’t. Nor because no pictures were taken. Unfortunately, they were. They’re not, however, in my possession. For a very very good reason.
Because, for several years back there, I looked very much like a boy, with a fish on his head. A fish that sounds very much like bullet. No, hang on. That’s spelt similarly but sounds not like at all. A fish that sounds like … erm … wulllit. It’s a word, honestly.
I remember – very clearly – a day when I was playing on my own in a park near my dad’s new manse [church house, house for the minister], and I dropped my ball, and a mother asked her child to ‘pass the ball back to the little boy’. I cried fron that moment until I went to sleep that night. I must have been about ten, therefore. But this is all about haircuts.
The hair, gone from the fringe and bunches of the pictures I’ve uploaded here, suddenly contracted, as far as I remember, to spikes and tufts and easy-cared-for late-eightiesness. On some people this looked good. On me?
Tony. He was our hairdresser. He worked. It wasn’t the most imaginative name, but we seemed quite loyal.
Every time Tony cut your hair, he would finish, and hold the mirror to the front and the back and the side, and tell you, in a confident and romantically accented voice, that you looked like “A meeeeeleeeon dollars! And the Chaynge!”.
No economics expert in my youth, I had no idea what that meant, and took it to mean a good thing. Unfortunately for me (I wasn’t to know) the exchange rate was particularly bad at the time, and a million dollars (and the change) seemed actually to be worth about 15p.
No hairdresser, looking at a head of hair as thick as mine, would think that a shortallover style would do well on my bonce. But it was the beginning of my experience with hairdressers who didn’t give you a haircut, but just gave a haircut.
It may also have begun my fear of haircuts. After David’s we went to His n’ Hers. New hairdressers, new stylists, yet I still managed to get exactly the same crappy haircut, time after time after time. Until the last time. I had been staying with my primary school age cousins – I was early teenage at this point – I went in, they took my coat, my bag, put me in the washing chair, tipped my head back, rinsed my head, soaped it up, and found a nit.
And threw me out.
Out on the street. In my school uniform, with my bag, and my coat, thrown at me. And with soaking wet, dripping wet soapy hair, and a sense of humiliation that has not left me to this day.
I grew my hair long. I kept on growing it. It was long, then, for a long, long time.
To this day, I’m happier if my sister cuts my hair, or a friend, or whoever. But they don’t, anymore. I’m a grown up now, and have the kind of proper job that’s supposed to lead to proper haircuts. And so, duly, every couple of months, I brave a proper haircutter, and pay the million dollars (and the change) that that involves, in London. And then I hate it, and wish my sister had cut it instead.
Last time I had it cut, I had a haircut so bad that the only way I can fix it is by wearing it in bunches. With a really big fringe. Which makes it, funnily, exactly like the pictures you’ve seen these last few days. But not blonde.
I think that’s a coincidence.
(What is this ’28/28′ thing? What the hell is going on? Confused? Ah, well then, you should read this. It will inform you. Also, it has important birthday information)