For the most part, everyone has a certain aspect of themselves they wish they could alter.
It may be the nose. The bum (wanting it to be more bulbous or less so). The pointy chin.
My most major affliction? (Aside from the physique bullying, of course). My hair.
I’ve spent eons on it. Products claiming themselves as miracle workers, volumising wonders, split end eradicators. But alas, aside from minimal improvements, I’ve been unsuccessful in attaining the ointment that results in luscious locks.
I mean, my hair isn’t that bad. My hairline is horrid, split ends form as soon as I’ve stepped out from scissoring a trim and the longer it gets the more it leans out (i.e, extremely thin), but it’s not all horrendous. It does grow (though at a rate on par with waiting for a customer service rep on the phone at IRD), it does do up, and on occassion I actually even manage to nail the tousled-bed-head look (other times it just appears I haven’t bothered). (Which, let’s be honest, I probably havent).
I’ve spent unthinkable amounts on hair extensions since the tender age of fifteen. I’ve been blonde, brunette, auburn, honey, caramel, verging black (never again; not a good look with blonde eyebrows), platinum (also never again; cheers for the heads up on how that looked friends and fam) and every shade in between. Pixie, bob, lob, shoulders, ribs, waist, repeat; all the chops to change to find the “do” for me. Unfortunately, I get bored easy and as soon as it’s grown to a lengthy length I start again with an almost crew cut.
Funnily enough as a kid, my hair was rather lustrous. I remember one time being in the bath with my cousin and my aunty shampooing my golden tresses and she remarked, “You have such lovely thick hair”. I stormed off home to Deb and told her of the insult, and she laughed. “It’s a compliment Poppy,” she insisted. “Thick hair doesn’t mean it’s stupid.”
When I was 19 I went through the usually pre-adult funk of a little self loathing. I’m so selfish, I reprimanded myself, as I sat cross legged on the limited floor space of my Auckland apartment. What can I do to kickstart the change to being a better person?
Like a sign from above (or more, an extremely fate-placed FB update) a guy friend of mine had shared a status about shaving his hair off to raise money for Leukaemia. That’s me, I deduced. Without a second thought (as I would probably have never shared it) I signed up and shaved.
Cue, bald Pop.
Well not entirely bald, more a number 3 or so. But definitely a hell of a lot less hair.
The first two months were fantastic. It was so easy, this no hair, and all for a good cause! I was proud of myself (though I must admit I did down a few ciders before the chop then collected some clumps in a snap lock bag for sentimental purposes afterwards) for lobbing off the locks that while not be in the best condition, were still my crowning glory.
But then began the regrowing period.
Always partial to a bit of curl (blast you, tendency to eat crusts as a child) the first few centimetres decided to spring back in pube-like coils. The obsession with my hair reignited; the purchase of headbands, hats, headscarves and head halos went into abundance. As soon as the stands surpassed the three centimetre mark, the straighteners were back in action.
One night I was out in Ponsonby for a rage and was languishing in The Longroom. A chap came over and spun a bit of a yarn and commented, “You know, you’d be quite pretty if you had long hair.” In my tipsy (ok, quite intoxicated) state, I barraged past the bastard and ran – yes, jogged along in my ankle supported wedges – all the way home (it was only 2km, but at 2am with a stomach full of Scrumpy it seems a far greater distance). I was supremely gutted.
The next morning however, I got all fired-up-feminist. To hell with that wanker! I was going to embrace my short shorn self.
The straighteners went to the back of my cupboard (well, makeshift clothes rack. Inner city apartments don’t loan much space for storage). The adornments were shoved in a drawer (once again, actually placed with the straighteners. But “gently folded into a box and placed until some shoes” doesn’t allude the same determined state). My hair stuck up in mouse brown corkscrews. And I loved it.
And then something amazing happened. The curls unclamped and it starting growing straight. It was soft, downy, virgin hair with a significant sheen and a natural way of falling that appeared as though it had been styled.
I resolved to stay with this do forever. No dye, no heated appliances, just a slight snippet of stray strands every six weeks. I was au naturale baby, and it was going to stay this way.
Two weeks later I got asked to so a modelling assignment. They chopped all the growth to a side-shorn pixie, bleached it pure platinum and pastel pink and chemically curled the crap out of it. This rocks! I enthused. I’m going to keep it this way forever!
I was over the pixie shortly afterwards, deciding long locks were the go for upcoming summer. The next few months were a blur of bobby pins, growth serums and (I’ll admit it) a bit of hair gel in desperate times, until at last the tangled tips started dancing on my shoulders. Thus, the sign to return to my teenage obsession with Superior Hair and a truckload transacted on top grade extensions.
I hit a gold mine in finding four lots of clip-in ponytails on TradeMe one afternoon, and the quad for a fickle fifty huck became my most loved possessions. Twisted up in topknots, parted in plaits, barricaded into buns; I never left the house without one of the hunks of hair securely planted on my head.
Until the evening I got dolled up after a few red wines and didn’t slot in the required 75+ hair clips.
I was at the majestic Mud (for those of you not from Cambridge and thus not acquainted with the Masonic, imagine the grottiest, seediest pub with its entire patronage in the far throes of intoxication and doing despicable things, then multiple it by 10.2. It’s the end-of-night go to for all) and dancing alongside one of my male soft-spots (i.e, unrequited crush). A particularly head-banging song blasted out and I proceeded to shake my skull, when an odd sensation of light-headedness overcame me. I’m not talking a faint spell, no; rather, in my haste to head out I had not done the necessary testing to ensure my bun was anchored to my cranium, and in one particularly powerful pump of the neck it had lost grip and flung across the floor.
I looked around horrified, but no one had witnessed my hair shed. I stealthily retrieved the hedgehog-like mound and planted it onto my head.
The smart, sober thing to do would’ve been to hot foot it to the bathroom, reattach -firmly – the bun, and then emerge as though I had just trotted off for a tipsy tinkle. But being in my somewhat tiddlywink state, I decided to stay put and continue to bop.
The object of my affections noticed me clamping my head. “What’s up?” He asked. “My hair fell out,” I answered.
He was puzzled. “Why don’t you just tie it back up? Here, I’ll do it for you.”
“Oh no, my hair tie hasn’t come out,” I enthusiastically explained. “My fake hair has.”
I’ve only ever seen such a bewildered expression on one other occassion, when I informed my Dementia-ridden Nanna that no, I was not a roast chicken and I’d appreciate it if she stopped prodding me with her fork. The guy’s facials literally read dub-tee-eff for a moment before he outstretched his palms for some pins and aided me to latch the bun back on.
Fast forward two years to last December. My real hair had finally grown to a notable length and extensions were only used on occassion to bulk it up a bit. Jason and I had just returned from an exploration around South East Asia, and six weeks of back packer hostel shampoo had wrecked havoc on my hair.
On day two of return I went to the hairdressers and demanded she lob the lot off.
Cue pixie cut #2, and the whole cycle starting again.
I’ve finally passed the Donald-Trump-like do of growing out the pixie, and am currently at fasten-on-or-fix-in extension stage again as I wait for the growth to garner. While I was in India it was constantly one big brassy birds nest. I thought I’d gone to be all about the inner beauty and would stay that way but no; the day after return I foraged around and found my four ponytails in my wardrobe. Whilst rather matted, worse for wear and remebling hunks of dreadlocks, I’ve taken to affixing them on in an effort to volumise.
Securely this time.
Hair hair to Deb for the inspo.