Now the question is – do I need a hairdresser to shave my head?
It’s a simple enough operation, you’d think. Just zzzzt, zzzzt, zzzzt and voila! bad hair days would fall softly to the floor and be swept away. I’m looking a bit like Cousin It from the Addams Family these days, it’s all I can do to not shave my head.
However, I would then have long term bald head days. Many, many bald head days, in fact. And I’d need to invest in hats.
It would be a real change for me; I’ve just about always had long hair (though my mom insists I started off bald. She used to frantically rub tonics in my scalp to encourage my hair to grow, grow, grow, dammit!). If I had a manual (not Emmanuel) one of my FAQs would be, “How long did it take you to grow your hair?”. Seriously. People ask me this all the time. It’s not like I timed it! I don’t know; a long time. In fact, my hair is so long I can put half over each shoulder and could walk around topless – like Lady Godiva or a mermaid – without exposing anything ‘indecent’. Unless, of course, a Cape wind took advantage of me. Which it often does (I have a knack for wearing dresses on inappropriate days). Some people, very wittily, make allusions to Rapunzel and wink at me, “Hey, hey, hey?” they ask, until I make some attempt at laughter. Ha. Ha. Ha. Now look, you can plait my hair or run your fingers through it. But there will be no climbing, you hear? NO CLIMBING. And minus points for a lack of originality.
Hairdresser hunting isn’t easy in a new city. It’s kind if like, though not exactly, trying to find the end of a rainbow or a sparkly vampire – everyone talks about it, but nobody’s seen one for real. The last hairdresser I went to decided to hack away a rather liberal chunk of my hair, and completely renovated my fringe in a rather risqué ‘skew’ style that made me look like my head wasn’t on straight. It’s little things like that that make me miss both my home city and my hairdresser. She was affordable, friendly and had enough common sense to keep me from looking ridiculous. I have yet to find that combination here. Affordable, yes – but then they look at my head as an abstract art piece. Friendly, yes (example: a friend’s stylist; he was Greek, quite camp and lovely. Example dialogue: “My boyfriend, he gets berrry jealous,” a short pause and a small smile, “but I lyke it.”) – but sadly not affordable.
Well, if I don’t shave my head, maybe I should go over to the dark side. You know, become a non-blonde. A brunette. (You heard that ominous thunder too, right?). Maybe then I wouldn’t have to hear jokes like, ‘Two blondes walk into a bar. One would think the second blonde would have seen it.’
OK, I like blonde jokes as much as the next person (whenever I tell one people always laugh and say, “But you’re a blonde!”). But hey, in fact, people actually kind of believe it. The excuse “Oh, I must have been having a blonde moment” works wonders on a social gaffe. It’s a totally acceptable excuse.
Another consequence of blondness is that people think you’re cute. Even Dorothy Black, sex columnist, called me cute. Now, I’m not surprised she thinks I’m cute – I’m lemon and herb to her spicy peri-peri – but you’d think someone that throws around the words ‘cock’ and ‘cunt’ like they were candy would find a stronger word to describe me than ‘cute’. Who the hell decided my key adjective was ‘cute’? It makes me feel like I’m a bag of kittens masquerading as a woman. Now, however, I realise it’s a side effect of the blondeness.
Aside from being cute, people also think I’m innocent. I’ve heard this from other blondes too, especially ones that ‘turned’ – went brunette for a while before coming back. Fluttering eyelashes and laughing a bit, hopelessly, is a very effective weapon used by many blondes. My fair flatmate said when she was brunette hard core, bad to the bone, naughty boys hit on her; compared to the kind of guys that were attracted to her blondeness.
It’s not new information that people are armed with a set of assumptions. Psychologists say that prejudice is a mental short-cut. It cuts out a lot of hassle if you can ‘Post-It note’ people, you know, pigeon hole them with a list of behaviours and assumptions and act accordingly. It’s easier than taking each person entirely on their own, easier than starting from scratch with every individual you meet. And yeah, you got me. This is a pretty thinly disguised allusion to racism.
Prejudice of all kinds makes me instantly angry; like a fire shooting up from my belly, I can actually feel the rage unfurl inside me. Other days it makes me tired. I don’t understand why people think its ok to make generic statements about entire nationalities. Quite frankly, it doesn’t make any sense, and is an old way of thinking. With the internet and the introduction of global communication, it’s becoming clearer and clearer that there is a universality that reaches across all people. Different colours in people mean about as much as it does in Smarties. The purple one and the green one taste exactly the same (please note I don’t take any responsibility if you start biting people to see if they’re filled with chocolate).
Different cultures exist, as well as different socialising techniques and loyalties. Different cultures are almost a result of geography instead of fundamental differences in people. Cultural differences are real, I’m not denying that at all – my point is that people are more alike than unalike. The Soccer World Cup is an indication of this – everyone blowing on their vuvuzelas in a surge of audible patriotism at 12pm on 9 June was really, well, awesome.
I guess what I’m saying, not totally originally, is regardless of colour, with shaved heads we all get sunburned scalps.
Lucky it’s winter now, so all my scalp’s going to get is cold. Or I could just find a hairdresser.