‘I need a haircut.’ I say complaining for the millionth time about my unruly locks. I’m still mourning the loss of my fine, dead straight blond(ish) hair, the kind of hair I did not appreciate when I was letting it dry naturally straight from the shower and running a brush or my fingers or whatever I had handy before sauntering out into the world without a backwards glance at the mirror. Now the mirror just laughs at me, and I’ve tried all different cuts to figure out what to do with my now frizzy, slightly curly, thick, wiry mousy brown hair. Whose hair is this anyway? If someone had told me my hair would change this much with kids, I might have not gone into it so brazenly. Then again if someone had told me my life would no longer be my own, that it would almost kill my marriage and as a bonus I would be so tired I’d feel it in my bones, oh hang on, they did, I just thought It’d be different for me, somehow, I naively/arrogantly thought I would figure out a way to be more resilient (I did not).
‘Why don’t you get a pixie cut?’ says my Mum.
I’m sure my eyes grow wide and my skin pales somewhat. ‘Maybe…’ I say attempting to find a polite way to say hell no. I’m still holding out hope that one day I will wake up to find my hair had miraculously returned to its former glory. I’m also hoping to sleep soundly through the night. Neither look good at this point.
I shove my hair back up into its customary ponytail, and forget about it entirely. That may, of course, be part of the problem. It’s been in a ponytail so long, my hair can stay in one without an actual hair tie. Also, my scalp has started this weird itchy, oily thing, right underneath where the hair tie usually sits, and I’m beginning to suspect the permanent ponytail/bun status has come at a price my scalp can no longer afford.
‘Your hair has been in the ponytail since you were old enough to do your hair,’ says my Mum clearly not letting this go.
‘That’s true,’ I concede. I take a look at her hair and really look at it. She has a pixie cut, and it was short and dramatic, and I wasn’t sure I liked it initially but it really suits her. It’s short and she styles the front so she looks a bit rocker chick like. It’s hard, edgy, and way cooler than I could pull off. But now I can’t imagine her any other way.
We are rapidly morphing into each other, it started when I was living with her not long after my first daughter was born, okay so it probably started way back when I was still in utero, but similarities really became noticeable around then. It started with our eating patterns, I actually influenced her. Farmers markets, organic, cutting out sugar, making everything from scratch, I vaguely recall it happened around the time I spilled several kilos of blueberries across her kitchen floor. She’s a much neater cook than I am, actually, she’s a much neater everything than I am. In this way, we will never be alike. When I moved back out, I bought the same couch – it’s really comfy and I couldn’t be bothered looking. But our colors were always different, our styles were always different. I liked bold colors, and blues, and yellows, and she liked pastels. I played around with Instagram and announced finally that I knew my colors, monochrome with pink and natural greens. That was how I decorated my house when we moved to Amsterdam. She laughed and shook her head. They’re my colors. Shit. So really, cutting my hair short would just be the natural next step in my evolution.
Except I really want my hair to be long and straight and beautiful. I see the look everywhere and it feels like femininity. ‘You can’t have it,’ my Mum says, shaking her head and slamming me back to reality.
So I look at Pinterest. And I think maybe, maybe I could do this.
‘It’s so easy,’ Mum continues, well into her sales pitch ‘You don’t want to do anything with your hair,’ she’s right. I am so lazy. My hair lives in a ponytail, mostly because I can’t even be bothered to brush it. Could I really do this?
‘No,’ says my new hairdresser Frikri. Bold and blunt. He shakes his head emphatically as I sit in his spacious monochrome minimalist studio. Just he, Mum and I. ‘No,’ he says again, shaking his head. He is Dutch but he is short, he looks Mediterranean. And his love of coffee is definitely Mediterranean Or Turkish perhaps. I, of course, don’t ask, I don’t want to look stupid, instead, I just ponder this all in silence as he circles me.
In a previous life, Fikri cut hair for rich and famous and worked in fashion. He was booked out for months in advance. He must have had enough though, and now just cuts hair in his own studio, just him and his coffee machine and his classical music. I love him, but I am a little bit intimidated, as he walks around me, looking at my hair, pulling at strands. ‘You have lovely hair, it is so interesting. Curly hair is more interesting than straight.’
I’m not sure how I feel about having interesting hair. I feel like the best friend of the pretty girl, you know the funny one, the quirky one. I want to be the pretty one, I want to have beautiful hair.
‘We’ll end up somewhere in the middle,’ Fikri continues, ‘short but not a pixie cut. We can go shorter later if you want to.’
It was liking watching an artist at work, my hair was his clay and they were having this secret conversation that the rest of us mere mortals couldn’t possibly comprehend. There were no magazines, no Pinterest pictures, nothing. He cut, and I watched. I loved it. Then he cut some more and I hated it. This went on and I flip-flopped till I felt nauseated. When he was finally done, I hated it. It was messy and wild and crazy. I was not messy or wild or crazy. I wanted to be but I was not. I thanked him profusely trying to hide my disappointment and promptly went home and did it again. I still hated it. Mum added some texturising-something-something, that she called ‘product’ and I loved it! I was a new woman. I was in a new country, I could be a new me, and that me, might just be wild and messy.
A month later though, I still want a pixie cut. Mum’s, how do they do it? They get inside your head. I never even contemplated a pixie cut and now all I can think is that I might just be a short-haired girl trapped inside a long-haired girls body.