Girl Problems 2

The title of this made me laugh. It sounds like a very boring, formulaic, straight-to-TV tweenie film from the early 90s.

It’s time for my eagerly anticipated (thank you two people) new installment of my series on female-related problems. This time: HAIR.

You’ve got too much. You don’t have enough. You want it long, You want it short. Then you want it long again. You want it a different colour. You get roots. You never should have dyed it. You’ve got split ends. It looks like someone has accidentally microwaved it and scrubbed it with a brillo pad. It’s the colour of boiled potatoes that have been cooked for two weeks solid. You get a hair cut. You get manipulated into spending £50 on products ‘specifically designed for your hair type’. You break up with your boyfriend. Time for a new hair cut! “That’ll show him I’m over him, and also a much newer, more attractive and all-round better person!” Your hairdresser is thinking: fierce bob. You’re thinking “What if I get mistaken for a man?”* You’ve got mousses and waxes, pomades and serums, sprays and oils, mists and cremes. And that is just for the hair on your head.

The way your hair is does say a lot about you. Absolutely. But with a guy, really all it has to say is: I get it cut. I’m neat. I’m clean. It costs £7.50 every six weeks. If you’re a man and this does not apply to you, say for example you have it long, or get it coloured. That says something different to me. Like, you’re not my type.

I’d like to take a minute, though, while we are talking about men and hair to mention that I know they do go bald. And I think this must be quite a hard thing to come to terms with. When I first met my husband, he had a full head of sandy-blonde hair. “He looks like Prince William!” I used to think. Now he really does. Because they have about the same amount of hair. His crown looks like a really shiny place where only five reclusive hairs grow, steadfastly remaining in the area, despite the fact everyone has left. Like some kind of extremely localised follicular apocalypse.

All of my life has basically been spent either: growing out a fringe, craving a fringe when I see the one picture of me where it actually looks nice, then absolutely hating my new fringe. Then the whole stupid cycle begins all over again, as if to remind me: “You are thick. You never learn. And you have a stupid fringe. Haha.”

The single "good fringe" photo

The single “good fringe” photo

Part of my problem is that I fucking love going to the hairdresser. Making the appointment, looking forward to it, and (now I have a child) enjoying three beautiful hours where I don’t have to pretend that I’m Gaston from Beauty and the Beast, or the big bad wolf, or Rapunzel’s Mummy, or pick little bits of dried-up playdo off the sole of tiny little Peppa Pig slippers.

Someone takes my jacket! And makes me a cup of tea! And looks at me in the mirror and asks me what I’d like! Then I get to sit and talk nonsense, read shitey magazines about how some lassie from TOWIE has lost 3 stone eating only green and purple foods. Then they wash my hair! And dry it! And tell me I look awesome! And then they say “You must be going out tonight now!” And I say “No… I’m just going to stay in and catch up on my washing…” But at least I’ll look amazing doing it! *Swishes head around, in the style of Jet from Gladiators*

Another problem is: bobbles and kirbies. Like, WHERE THE FUCK DO THEY ALL ACTUALLY GO? Because I’ve never found them. I must have owned millions of these things. I have visions of people living in houses I used to prising up a floorboard and just finding it stuffed full of brown kirkbies and black bobbles. CCTV would reveal I’d been putting them there myself while I was sleeping. Chilling.

Hair also gets everywhere. And I mean EVERYWHERE. It clumps up behind doors and in corners, covers all black clothing, and generally just floats in the ether. And also: Plugholes. It has to be the worst job in the world to dislodge what looks like half a head of hair from the shower plughole. It’s like a slimy, smelly, dry-boking scene from The Ring, especially if you have dark hair. I imagine for men, living with a woman with long hair must be a little bit like having a high maintenance pet that constantly moults. Strands of hair, bottles of product, and piles of kirbies mark out our territory. I remember feeling different about a boyfriend when I found one of his ex’s (blonde) kirby grips at his house. You’re not over her! She’s still here, like a wiry ghost! She watches us while we sleep! Also, you prefer blondes. I’m leaving! Don’t call! And all that perfectly normal, not-overreacting-at-all stuff.

All of this stuff basically comes down to one thing. I always think: I’d be happy if I had X or Y. Or “I would have enjoyed that night out if I’d had the red dress on.” Or “Once I’ve got that I will not need to buy anything else.” Or “This haircut will define me. It will crystallise who I am as a person. Everyone will know with a single glance.”

But this is nonsense. I get no self-fulfillment really from how I look, or from waiting for a new dress to arrive or from getting my nails done or getting a new colour. I feel good when I look good. But there is something missing. And I am not going to find it by getting stuff and things or through beauty services.

Although it is marginally less problematic than a drink problem, I grant you.

*This has happened to me.



Being Introverted

When I was about 8 years old, I was on holiday with my family. I can’t remember where, and they will likely none of them remember this. We were having dinner and there was a guy making balloon animals and stuff for the kids. I watched pretty happily from afar. Then I went to the toilet. When I came back, the guy came over and just put a wee balloon poodle down in front of me. It was so cute, and had a wee pom-pom on the end of its tail. My mum and dad, knowing that I never would have gone up, even with company, paid the guy to make one and come over and hand it to me. I was so embarrassed that I burst into tears. I think my parents must have thought, “What the hell are we supposed to do with this kid?!”

I think this illustrates my introversion pretty well. And it’s not the same thing as being shy. I quite like parties. People who know me well will laugh and guffaw when I say I’m introverted. I like telling stories and making people laugh; I don’t even mind being the centre of attention, for a while. It’s just that I find it wholly exhausting.

There are also major drawbacks to being an introvert. After a few hours in someone’s company I will just stop talking. I will want to be on my own. I’ve been known to retire to bed or have a bath just so I can stop talking or stop being in a conversation. It’s not because I don’t like the person or because I’m bored. I just need to recharge.

I also find interviews hard . I’m not very good at talking about myself extensively. Or at ‘selling myself’. All I can think is, “you sound like a total twat. Shut up. No one cares.” My other nightmare: “Let’s go round the circle and each say something interesting about ourselves!” Argh. I don’t care who once shaved their head for charity or if your son once sat beside Gordon Brown on the train. Inevitably, these ‘interesting’ things are so dull they make everyone sound like a boring bastard. It was definitely an extrovert that came up with that idea.

I think this is partly the reason why I find my job so exhausting. As a teacher, I’m always talking to folk. Then when I come home I like to be mute for a good hour or so.

I know I sound really boring but I can be really vibrant and funny. Just in sets, like a bizarre real-life comedian. They say the best entertainers are virtually reclusive in real life. Lessons 1-3 at school are amazing. Lesson 4-6 I’m like: “everyone read so I can stare at this wall.”

Anyway, I’ll do a list of introvert-y things. I like lists.

1. The two best things about going out are: getting ready, on my own, with loud music and loads of time. And coming home.

2. I think it’s because I’m tall, and I stride about or because I’m slightly paranoid, or possibly a mixture of both things. But I feel like a lot of people stare at me. I said this to a friend once and she said, “It’s probably because they hate your outfit.” At first I was offended and then it made me laugh.

3. Sometimes I need to be on my own so much I get chest pains. Maybe I should see a doctor about this….

4. I like to think. I consider it an activity.

5. I find busy places hellish. Humans in large numbers, all involved in the same pursuit, are not very pleasant or considerate.

6. I’m not good with friendly strangers. I always think they’re up to something. This makes me come across as a total d-bag.

Having read this, I don’t think I sound like a very nice person.

But being an introvert, I’m not bothered. Go away please.