Ever since I was five years old, I’ve wanted long hair. Not ridiculously long – I have no interest in being able to sit on my own pony tail – but maybe just long enough that I could use it to preserve my modesty if I was unexpectedly interrupted whilst wearing no top. Which has happened maybe twice in my entire life. Still, it’s good to be prepared.
It started out as a jealousy thing. Back in year one, my friend Claire had the most wonderful, lustrous, thick waist-length hair I’d ever seen. I was in awe of it, and the endless different hairstyles that her hair made possible. French plaits? Of course! Cute bunches? Go for it. A lovely giant bun? Yes indeed. Meanwhile, I was sitting there with my boring straight shoulder-length hair, which had two styles – “up” and “down”. I had serious, serious hair envy.
And so, at the tender age of five, I started upon a quest which I have still not finished. I tried to grow my hair. My aim was to get it as near to waist-length as I could; I wanted to have a wonderful plait as well. I was convinced it’d take all of about two weeks to get there, and I was very excited.
But I was wrong. Two years later, my hair was still not that far beyond my shoulders. And it was thin, and breaking, and pathetic. It looked straggly and flat and crap, and my plait was far more anorexic than voluptuous. It was a serious, abject failure, and I grudgingly got my rubbish hair hacked back to shoulder length. And had a little cry.
But I hadn’t learnt my lesson. It’s more than twenty years since I first embarked on my quest to have super-long hair, and I still keep trying it. I live in a cycle of perpetual hope followed by crushing disappointment; I’ll get bored of my shoulder-length hair, hack it all off really short, and then keep growing it and growing it until it becomes useless and flat. Which is when it’s about two inches below my shoulders. Expectation doesn’t make it any easier. If anything, it just makes it hurt more.
I’ve just come to the end of one of these long hair cycles, and had to grudgingly admit that my hair looks crap if I attempt to make it long. I just have to accept that my hair in 1990 is the hair that I should have; shoulder length and with a fringe. My hairdresser was visibly relieved when I told him that this was what I wanted. He was clearly incredibly happy that he wasn’t going to have to try and force my hair into doing something it was never going to do, and put up with my wrath when it just sat there being rubbish.
And so, I should really accept that there’s no point in my ever trying to grow my hair or do anything different with it. I’ll just have to go back to fun hair colours instead. That’s one thing long-hair-Claire never had. At least her ponytail was mousy brown.