Thursday, 4 June 2015

131. HAIR!!!

Spot the difference.

June 2012

May 2015
There were, of course, various in-between looks. Like these ones, for example.
July 2014 (too long,
but is it worth going to the hairdresser
if it's all going to fall out anyway?)

July 2014 (yes, it is worth going...
The pixie cut, just before it all fell out)
But you can see why my hair has become a talking point.

Or, rather, an exclaiming point. People don't talk in normal Times Roman font when they see my hair. They talk in CAPITAL LETTERS WITH EXCLAMATION MARKS AT THE END OF IT!!!

Because it looks nothing, nothing like it has ever looked before. I mean, seriously, quite apart from the rather startling greyness: THERE ARE CURLS!!!!!!

That needs at least - at least - six exclamation marks. I have never had a single curl in my life. This is how my career in coiffures started...
...and it was ever thus. If fashion dictated a more voluminous look (1980s, I'm looking at you), then a shelf full of hair raising products was needed to prevent the cat-that's-been-out-in-the-rain look, the one where your hair faithfully follows the contours of your head, clinging to it for dear life. (That June 2012 photo? Seems a natural look? Let me tell you, it kept the hair gel-and-blow-dryer businesses in comfortable profits.)

Nowadays, when you put me out in the rain, the curls just go curlier.

So here's the scenario.

You haven't seen me for a couple of weeks/months/years. This can go any of the following ways.

Option 1


Yes, that's right. LOVE, not just in capitals but in bold, and underlined.

ISN'T IT LOVELY! you say. You turn to others, all equally keen to comment.

Don't get me wrong, I'm joining in with gusto. I'm happy to have this conversation several times a week. (And I do.) Wouldn't you much rather discuss hairdos than chemotherapy regimes?

Plus, I genuinely want people's opinion. I'm all for Dutch honesty, which can, to the polite English person, seem to border on rudeness. But I now find that if you've had chemo-induced hair loss, even the English are finally unafraid of speaking their minds. Opinions abound, and I'll hear about them.

"Hm, I'm just wondering whether this is getting ridiculous," I'd say. "Perhaps I should ring my hairdresser?"

And they'd go, "NO!! LEAVE IT LIKE THIS! I LOVE IT!"

Or they go...

Option 2


I have some sympathy. I also rather liked it when it was short. More than liked: I loved the ultra-short look. (Hence my hairdresser suggestion. Wasn't the shorter-than-short look somewhat better than this poodle-like arrangement?)

The drawback: very short hair was (and still is) more high-maintenance than it seems. Not the hair itself, but the rest of me. Without the make-up and the earrings, the funky look (I'm using the most-heard vocabulary here) quickly turns into the old-man-look. And the trouble with make-up is that all too often I just can't be bothered.

More than once, supermarket checkout youngsters (it's usually youngsters) have squirmed with embarrassment at their mistake after I returned their greeting of "Good morning sir" in a voice that clearly didn't match my appearance.

One person went one step further, and said ACTUALLY, I LIKED IT WHEN YOU WERE BALD.

Too bad. I'm not going back there. Let me say that again: I! AM! NOT! GOING! BACK! THERE!!

Option 3


You may well ask. I am as startled by my new look as you are. This doesn't sound like a compliment (and it usually isn't - it's often followed by Option 2).

Option 4


This came from someone I hadn't seen since 2012, and who was unaware of last year's trials and tribulations. She clearly thought I'd been busy with the scissors and curlers.

The dilemma: What to do with it?

Keep it ultra-short? It's quite possible that I suddenly lose heart and call Andrew the lovely hairdresser in a moment of despair.

Let it grow? And grow, and grow, and see what happens? I'm intrigued. How will this end? When will gravity take hold of my curls?

"You looked more like yourself when you had no hair at all," a friend commented recently, and whilst this sounds bizarre, she has a point. I look in the mirror and I think, Hm, who does that remind me of? I definitely don't remind me of myself.

Shape it? Whilst it grows and grows? Because frankly, my current state of affairs feels like a carefully rounded hat.

Dye it? I'm not the dyeing kind, I tried it for a year or so but it was too much like painting the Forth Bridge. Having said that, my current shade of grey is rather startling and only this much removed from the Blue Rinse.

Whilst I am pondering these matters, it suddenly occurs to me who I am reminded of when I look in the mirror. No, it's not me.

Reader, I believe I have finally turned into Denise.

Me as Denise, August 2014

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