THIS is a blog post about a hair disaster. My hair disaster. It is also a post about a temporary loss of sanity, a beer and some wayward thinking while holding scissors. It all started when I saw this photo (left) posted on the 612 Brisbane ABC website, following one of my regular fortnightly parenting panels. The lovely lass on the left is Tracey Egan, mum to twins and another little boy, and blogger at Passing Phase. That vast expanse of forehead shining out at you with its blinding light on the right, that’s me.
I recently had an event, a luncheon, a ladies luncheon to be precise. And with me being the person that I am, thought I’d like to make an entrance with a new fringe, just a small but dramatic difference. I’ve long known about my shiny forehead but the hassle of a fringe usually outweighs the desire to have one. I’ve had lots of fringes in the past, some cut in by the hairdresser, some by me. It’s no big deal.
So on the Friday night before my Saturday luncheon, I’d had a beer and I happened to pass a mirror. There was that glowing expanse of forehead.
I pictured the type of fringe I should get to cover the oil slick above my eyebrows. There are so many styles of fringe these days, that you really need to choose carefully. I definitely did not want Audrey Tatou from Amelie. Definitely no cute little teeny tiny fringe. That would never go the distance. Remember Chrissy Amphlett back in the day, with her long bangs that fell sexily into her eyes (pictured right)? Or Demi Moore in St Elmo’s Fire? The floppy length of fringe that just reached her eyes? I was aiming for that. Something with a bit of attitude. Something that made a small, but declarative statement.
So, what I wanted was rock chick cool. Did I get what I wanted? Nooooo. I did not get rock chick cool, or even ’80s punk cool. Not even close. What I got was Moe Harvey (Three Stooges, right) or perhaps Lloyd Christmas (Jim Carrey, Dumb and Dumber). I know what you’re thinking – how could she possibly get that so wrong? It’s just a fringe? Pretty straightforward. Nothing complicated. It’s not like I was trying to cut layers into my hair!
How this shit went down
What I normally do when I cut my fringe is watch myself in the bathroom mirror under the intensely luminous fluoro lighting as I gradually trim millimetre by millimetre off the carefully sectioned hair. That’s how the sensible people do it. That’s how I should have done it. But that’s not how I actually did it.
What I actually did was a long way from that. A looooong way.
For some inexplicable reason (and I’m not ruling out the possibility that aliens took control of me just for a giggle) I walked outside into the cool night air on the back deck, with a section of my hair in one hand, the kitchen scissors in the other and in one swift, erratic movement took a giant hack, like a demented gardener cutting back an overgrown hedge.
In the midst of the fog of insanity I looked at the liberated swathe of hair in my hand a tiny frisson of alarm sparked as I saw the length.
“Don’t be silly,” I said to myself as I hesitantly walked back inside. “It just looks long. Really, it’s just a short section. No problem. It’s probably cut nice and straight too. I probably jagged it,” were the words I was actually thinking. Truly.
Then I looked in the mirror. At first I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. I was in my bedroom and my bedroom lighting is soft and a little muted (not great for reading, but perfect for fooling yourself that the dress in the mirror is flattering to the lumpy figure wearing it). So I went into the bathroom where every flaw is harshly illuminated under the intense white light. Eek.
When I looked more closely at the damage, the shock set in. I leaned closer to my reflection, unable to believe what I was seeing.
Oh. My. God.
Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit. Shitty shit shit.
I raced back into the bedroom, grabbed the straightening tongs and tried to magic my hair longer. I clamped the tongs on really tightly and tried desperately to pull my hair out by the roots, just a little bit, to give it extra length. I wish I was kidding.
My brilliant plan failed. Of course it did. My hair is not Playdough hair that can be pushed out longer every time you cut it short.
No, my hair is real hair. When you cut it too short you have to WAIT A REALLY LONG TIME for it to grow. No worries. I can do that.
The only problem is the ladies luncheon in about 12 hours. Will it grow long by then? Not fucking likely.
So, rather than being an exemplar of glam and chic I was fast becoming the punchline of the ladies luncheon – NOT HAPPY JAN!
Then it occurred to me – aha! I could pull another section of my hair forward and cut a *longer* fringe and it would cover the shorter fringe! (I can hear the collective groan from the sisterhood as you correctly assume that this disaster is about to get 10 times worse).
So, trying to learn from my mistakes (hahaha!) I pulled forward a new section and began trimming it slowly, millimetre by millimetre. Hairdressers reading this know what happened next.
The section wasn’t thick enough! You could see the stubby fringe underneath poking through the longer fringe. It wasn’t working!! The stubby little bristles were jutting out from my head like a toilet brush! This disaster was getting much, much worse.
At that point, for the first time since I picked up the scissors, a little tiny bit of sanity returned. I stopped trying to solve the problem with further cuts. Thank god.
I surveyed the carnage and realised I was in a fair bit of trouble. Strangely, I still wondered if I was panicking unnecessarily.
I walked out to the living room where my husband was watching TV. He looked up as I walked in. The expression on his face would have been hilarious to anyone but me.
“Umm… trying something new?” he asked.
“Yes,” I replied with what I hoped was an air of nonchalance. “Like it?”
“Sure. You look like one of the Three Stooges,” he said before turning back to the TV.
There are a lot of lessons to be learned here.
- Don’t drink and trim.
- Don’t wield scissors near hair without the appropriate qualifications.
- If you must go off the map do your hairdressing apprenticeship on your own hair, for the love of god, make sure you stick to the original plan and trim it millimetre by millimetre until you get it right! In front of a mirror! Not on the back deck in the dead of night!
So, how did the ladies luncheon go? Well, luckily I did learn a trick or two from some super-talented hair and make-up ladies at Channel Nine when I was doing Mornings with Kerri-anne. (A big shout out to Annie and Amber!)
The swoop fringe was a genius solution and with half a can of hairspray I was able to pull it off. Well, at least for a little bit.
It was a ladies lunch, so inevitably things got messy. The fringe lasted as long as my sobriety and by the time we hit Cloudland that night, I was back to my Three Stooges/Dumb and Dumber fringe.
A lesson learned.
Have you ever had a hair catastrophe? I can’t believe nobody has a streaking or perming disaster to share! Go on, be brave. Tell me about your hair-raising issues. They can’t be worse than mine, can they?