Tuesday 4 August 2009
Ironing out who I am
The questions I am probably asked most in my life are ‘London paper/ London Lite?’, ‘would you like a blueberry muffin with that?’ and ‘have you ever had your hair straightened?’
The first two I answer without difficulty- to the first person who asks me about a paper it’s likely to be yes, to the ten people who subsequently ask it’s a ‘no thank you’- I would like to say ‘why would I need two?’ but it can’t be the most fun job. To the second question it’s usually a ‘no’, even when they ask me three times (it’s not like I’m going to think about it at 8.05 and 30 seconds and think no I’m not hungry/ going to ditch the healthy eating this early in the day but at 8.05 and 45 seconds I’m going to go sack it all, I’m starving I’ll have 2 blueberry muffins and a side of fruit toast with lashings of butter and jam- but I guess they have to try).
The third question makes my blood boil far more than the first two. I’m afraid the implication is usually that straight hair is by far the more superior type of hair to be born with and it would be a life changing event if I suddenly became enslaved to a pair of straighteners and many different kinds of solution.
The truthful answer is yes of course I have had my hair straightened, it generally takes one hairdresser about an hour of back breaking blow drying and a whole bottle of heat protector but it can be done- and I do get it done periodically when I feel like a change or have a special occasion.
I also sometimes wear my hair straight at the top and wavy at the bottom- and I quite often wear it curly. Now my hair does have the potential to look like Monica’s in that episode of friends where the humidity factor is 100% but when I wear it curly it’s mostly in ringlets with some Frizz ease (unless I’ve been caught in a sauna).
When you look at celebrities working the red carpet or on your TV screen you do actually see plenty of people with wavy or even curly hair- but out in the real world of the UK Summer 09 the prevailing hairstyle is still the ironed straight look which has ruled since GHD’s became available everywhere.
I resent the constant implication that I haven’t noticed that my hair is curly and that if I straightened it I would morph into a goddess overnight. I like curly hair and it’s part of who I am. Carrie Bradshaw, a modern curly haired heroine, talks about her curls when she discusses why she and Big didn’t work out in series 2 of Sex and the City- and thinks about not being able to be tamed or turned into the sort of clean but slightly less interesting perfection that Natasha, who he is marrying, embodies. Taking the curls away from me would change who I am, sure I can pretend to have straight hair sometimes the way I can pretend to be brown by loading on the fake tan- but it isn’t who I am and sometimes I want to have curly hair and let the ringlets tumble down freely because I’m lucky to have them. So there!
Monica with frizz picture courtesy of here
Carrie picture courtesy of HBO