Thursday, 13 June 2013

Hair

Hello. Long time and all that. I'm not at all sure where the last ten days went, but I imagine most of it went into aimless faffing, since I see no concrete sign of any achievements to speak of. F has moved into a cardboard box. L is composing a strip cartoon about vengeful pumpkins. I just press refresh a lot and snack. Thank goodness I can still compare myself to Oscar and come out looking dynamic (ish, as long as no one suggests a race). I'm beginning to suspect the whole household has Hand Foot and Mouth disease too, so that's delightful. Public health warning: when you google image that, you get a picture of a scrofulous infected bottom, so don't. God, living with children is like living with medieval peasants, disease wise.

However! I have had a haircut. This is a somewhat nerve-wracking process, in the way that only a haircut where the hair in question costs you a grand and from which there is no going back for 2 years can be, but it has all turned out Just Fine, indeed better than fine. Brilliant John who has been cutting my wigs for fifteen years did a brilliant job, all interspersed with glorious Yorkshire gossip about all the famouses whose hair he cuts. Both he and Sophie who does my brows are from just round the corner from where I grew up, and there is no greater joy in my world than having your head seen to by acerbic, funny, plain-speaking, genius Yorkshire people. I only had the wig done yesterday, but already I have had several of those nice moments when you see your reflection and preen slightly, which is the sign of a good cut: it has given me back a suggestion of cheekbones, and provides a cunning distraction from my incipient jowls (I am totally getting jowls. I am displeased with this, obviously, but it has become an unavoidable truth, the jowls are biding their time, installing themselves gradually but surely until one day I will wake up and be Cyril Connolly. Wikipedia informs me he died on the day I was born! I AM CYRIL CONNOLLY REINCARNATED. I'm fairly sure he wouldn't approve).  On top of my new eyebrows from last month and my new glasses which I have more or less come round to, I am in a real sense something of a new woman now. One who can leave the house in daylight hours without a balaclava. Sometimes.

In hindsight, I don't think I ever much liked the last wig: I was moved to hack it around with kitchen scissors late one night its mullety rear section was annoying me so much and you can imagine what a success that was. Then it started shedding until there was a big bald patch on one side. Then my skin had a total ludicrous collapse at the start of the year leaving me all scrofulous and pimply (medieval peasant, again) and my eyes started reacting to all sorts of make up very badly and I couldn't wear any, just had to go out with my bald, pink lids all exposed and naked mole ratty. My fingerclaws split right up the middle and flaked and broke with the shitty awful winter. All in all, I felt a bit .. unlovely. I did not like my reflection.

I managed to talk myself round to reasoning that I had reached some kind of middle age milestone and was simply past vanity and no longer needed to think or care about that kind of thing (an excellent quality in a beauty blogger, this): I could simply devote myself to higher things (undefined. World domination, perhaps. The life of the mind. Translating Montaigne. Sequencing genomes). I was telling myself how refreshing it was no longer need to try and shore up my crumbling looks against the inexorable advance of decrepitude in a Sisyphean fashion, but of course I did still care, really. You can't really switch it off at will, can you, caring about how you look? Not short of going to live in a cave halfway up a mountain in Greece with a small herd of goats (I'm currently reading My Family and Other Animals, which I view as a sort of aspirational life catalogue, to the boys. Young Gerald has just negotiated the purchase of a small tortoise from a hermit). Short of hermit cave dwelling, I do not want to look like a prematurely aged potato. Who would? But I was a bit stuck: I just had to wait for my skin to clear up and the new wig to arrive and the sun to finally come out and make me a little less tuber-like.

Now it's finally happened. I am not going to attribute magical thinking style qualities to getting a decent new haircut and some non-orange eyebrows, but it certainly doesn't hurt on the confidence and self-esteem front to be able to leave the house without having to dust my face in a thick layer of mineral powder and concealer and construct a complex thatch of hair over the balding side of the wig. I feel lighter (I am lighter. That was a shit ton of product I was wearing). I wore a DRESS yesterday. I can only think of about 4 times I've worn a dress in the last 18 months: I had deviated from the way of the sack frock and taken up sensible trousers. Now the sack is back and I am eyeing up lipsticks in colours other than "apologetic beige" or "normal human lip".

I've found it quite interesting following Nadine Dorries getting loudly angsty about her hair loss in the media in the past week or so, but it's also stirred up a weird nest of emotions. I felt a bit prickly at this suggestion that she felt "ashamed" at losing her hair even though someone else's emotions about what they're experiencing are no damn business of mine. Faintly affronted that she should be presenting what seems to be quite limited hair loss as a cataclysm (again, none of my damn business). Quite uneasy that she'd compare hair loss to a mastectomy. But also, I suppose, a recognition that her distress is very real, and hazy memories of how it actually felt to wake up every morning to a pillow full of hair and having to rush out and find hats and scarves to cover the yawningly giant bald patches. It's an odd thing, alopecia, because it's distressing, but it's not an illness really and you're not afflicted in any very physically significant way. Then confusion at feeling any scrap of kinship with Nadine Dorries whose every political conviction I oppose. I dunno. I AM CONFLICTED.

God, this is really boring, sorry. Here, it looks like this (I can't get the picture to go in here for some reason), and now I can stop trying to work out what I think about baldness for a while and try and earn some money to pay for all this cosmetic frippery.

Anyway. I am still woman, not goatherd, basically, which is good because it turns out I actually have no idea how to herd goats. I will continue to fight the jowls as best I can and try and relish the process (il faut imaginer Sisyphe heureux, after all). Tangentially relevant to that, the Facegoop Guardian blog page is now properly live and if you are minded to go and look at it I would be delighted and grateful and approximately 0.000001 pence richer. Yeah, our profile picture looks like an ING advert and the fourth highest search term for Facegoop this evening is "cockstump torture", but IT'S SOMETHING.

26 comments:

Isabel Rogers said...

Ah - brilliant stuff. If it makes you feel any better, we have Hand, Foot & Mouth here too. Have just admitted same to childminder & await permission to take 3yo today or for sound of drawbridge being raised & pirañas dropped in her moat.

Also in awe at your generosity towards Nadine. You are clearly a much nicer person than I am.

Waffle said...

Ha, I misread that as pinatas being dropped in her moat and had a moment of intense confusion. 'Pinatas in a moat? They'd disintegrate'.

Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes said...

I get you on the Medieval Peasants: we have been afflicted with the neverending green snot from outer space since Januari. And to top it off the eldest is coughing like a French onion merchant with a 4 pack a day habit.
Children, such blessings.

The Reluctant Launderer said...

Your new 'do is BEAUT. I love it. Did I ever tell you that the reason I first went down the Way Of The Fringe was because of a photo of you looking totally chic and Euro-gamine with a cute pixie cut and fringe and I thought - *I* want to look like that. Alas I ended up looking less chic / gamine, more Dave Hill from Slade (in this pic: http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2011/jun/11/slade-number-one - I should have borrowed Noddy's hat). Anyway, well done on new look and new vibe. I too spend most of the time washing face with a brillo-pad thinking who-cares-no-one-is looking-at-me, but then *I* look at me and recoil in horror and disgust. I have thus been reading all the back issues of Facegoop to see what can be done to draw out the 20 year old who has been residing within me in a vegetative state for the past couple of decades.

Anonymous said...

Waffle - and M - that Guardian Facegoop blog post is pure genius. You should write plays, or stand-up comedy, you really should. You don't have to go on stage, there are people who could do that for you, but if you could write something like this for a stage, it would be fantastic.

Tilia

missbaah said...

Oh dear. I had hand, foot and mouth as a young 'un. No idea where from. All I really remember about the whole ordeal is that it itched a lot and noone really wanted to get too close to me. I'm sure it's not that bad, really.

@700words said...

as a recently new reader of your blog (and immediate fan) I have no idea what you looked like previously, but I can confirm that they are some amazing cheekbones - I, afflicted with squidgy cheeks and no sense of supporting bone structure, am in awe! Hope the hand foot and mouth clears up.

cruella said...

I have to agree with Tilia!

Johnners said...

Great piece, as ever! Don't know if you saw it but there was an article in the Times yesterday from Sarah Vine about being an older woman (she's 46), becoming invisible and not being too care-y about looks etc. And jowls. They seem to be becoming a theme this week - I have just been to prod my own incipient ones. I can't quite bring myself to agree with things she says usually, a la Dorries, but it was an interesting thing all the same. (Not as well written as yours though!) x

redfox said...

Your new hair looks smashing!

WrathofDawn said...

OMG! Have you seen this?

WrathofDawn said...

Scroll down... to the... CAPYBARAS!

Margaret said...

Eh, I'm way jowl-y. What are you gonna do? For me, middle age is about fist-pumping the stuff that's holding up (boobs, hair) and willfully ignoring the crumbling remainder (jowls, midsection, when did my fucking FEET get fat?, crow's feet).

Waffle said...

WoD - I spent about an hour gazing rapt at the spa capybaras. It is officially at the top of my list of places to go, wherever the hell it is.

Johnners - Yes, I did read that Sarah Vine piece, I have similar - doubtless quite unfair - reservations about her, but it was quite thoughtful and witty, wasn't it?

Tinne - It's revolting.

Launderer - Ha, I can't even remember having a fringe. I bet it was disgusting and way worse than him from Slade.

Tilia - You are far far too kind.

700words - That's a flattering pic, mainly I look like an angry extra from Prisoner Cell Block H.

frau antje said...

Recently saw two documentaries directly or indirectly about fashion and aging. They were fascinating, in an alien life form observes humanity sort of way.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bR6KTlmYNeg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjFExY326vA

Ruthie Saylor said...

Excellent hair. And I think the glasses are great (she says, ruefully, thinking of all trips to Specsavers in forlorn grail quest for a pair with special jowl-minimising powers).

Dara said...

Love the new "do"!!

Belle said...

Read 10 interesting things you probably don’t know about the hair http://www.the-healthiest.com/archives/442

Helen said...

I love your new hair! But I also thought your old hair was good too. Euro-gamine is an EXCELLENT description, Reluctant Launderer!

'My Family and Other Animals' is brilliant. My dad read it to us when we were on holiday in Corfu at about the same age as your boys and we loved it. I wish I had my own boat. Sigh.

Brussels sunshine last weekend was so lovely, and lovely to see you.

cruella said...

Durrell is pure delight. Very difficult to choose from all the brilliant and hilarious accounts, but I think "The Picnic" may be a favourite after all.

cruella said...

That particular story från "Picnic and Suchlike Pandemonium" wherein you also find a terrific ghost story, "The Entrance".

Anonymous said...

I am not kind. My suggestion that you and M write plays or standup comedy is purely egocentric. English-language amateur theatre in Brussels (and theatre in general) is starving for good plays, preferably comedies, for women. I promise, you wouldn't earn a cent, not to begin with anyway, so it's perfectly safe to try it.
Tilia

Kath said...

Nice hair, you've got a lovely long neck. I too got an eye thingy (to use the technical term) whereby any liner with blue in it caused my eyes to weep until all traces of makeup were gone. Pretty disastrous too as coloured eyeline is what I do. I laid off the blue and purple and it seems to have backed off a bit. Although I had some bright green on Friday and eyes went all red. What a bore.

Leigh Stewart said...

It looks lovely! And you can also now use your cheekbones to cut glass, saving on future glass-cutting expenses. So not only is it a brilliant haircut, but an investment.

David Oliver said...

While I didn't laugh uncontrollably through your entire blog, I did for the better part of it. And I was never, ever bored! Maybe the reincarnation thing about Cyril Connolly was best or the medieval peasants, I dunno.

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