Back in my glory days in my glamorous 30s a rude colleague asked me: “ Is your hair colour natural?” I wish I’d been quick enough with the comeback: “Are your teeth real?” (However I was never quick with comebacks. It usually takes me a week to think of a clever retort!)
|Blonde mop top, age three|
Yes I was born blonde as all the fading black and white childhood photos prove. There I am with my little blonde mop, actually basin cut (thanks mum!) smiling cheekily from under the crooked fringe.
|Just 12 years old and growing my hair long|
And in my teenage hippy/surfiechick/folkie days, my unkempt long blonde mane, parted carefully in the middle, streamed across my shoulders and down my back.
|Hippy days with long golden locks|
Resisting the Dye Pot
And then all through my natural 20s I resisted the dye pot until I hit 30 and resorted to a touch-up of my darkening roots. “Oh it got sun bleached on my holiday!” “Yeah right!” Since that turning point, there’s been agonising streaks, with the merciless hairdresser picking at my scalp like a demented chicken, and then foils, so I felt like I was being prepared for a turn in the oven and finally home jobs, so much cheaper, with just a few botched slightly orange results!
So now I’m in my 50s I swear I will be forever blonde with future visions of an old lady sporting a blonde ponytail like the tragic ageing starlet who refuses to accept the ravages of time.
Hair. It is a woman’s pride and joy and expression of her femininity, attractiveness and identity. Really it is just filamentous biomaterial that sprouts from the follicles in the dermis to keep our heads warm and protected. But hair is given so much false meaning by human vanity. It is a secondary sex characteristic defining attractiveness for males and females shaped by cultures and changing fashions.
What can we do with hair? How can we differentiate from another woman’s locks? Well our genes will determine the initial colour, blonde, dark or red, whether it’s curly, frizzy or straight, the texture, thickness, volume and rate of growth.
But we get to choose what we do with it artificially. We can vary the length; short, medium or long. Most women tend to be committed long-haired gals or short-haired gals; those who couldn’t bear wearing their crowning glory above the shoulders and those who couldn’t stand their carefully clipped spikes tickling their necks! The great divide!
Thanks to chemical concoctions, we can alter the colour at whim. Dark-haired women can ponder: “Will I have burgundy highlights or perhaps, chocolate? Blondes can go ash or honey and red-heads can opt for true ginger or rich auburn. And there’s always the purple or green streak for the dye-hard festival-goer!
In the perm-mad 80s we got to ask “Should I go wild and curly?” But really staying smooth and straight was no longer a fashion option. It just wouldn’t go with our shoulder pads, huge dangling earrings and gaudy clothes!
And if we were taking the plunge for the perm, it meant having our neat all-one-length hair layered! Shriek! What a crime against nature for us silk-haired chicks!
Oh the hair traumas! I remember my first disaster as a sensitive, self-conscious teenager when I allowed a butcher-hairdresser loose on my beloved long hair. She hacked it into a hybrid of the pageboy and the dolly cut. I was mortified. My whole identity was swept away on the salon floor!
|A perm that went wrong for my wedding day!|
And then I stupidly opted for my first perm for my wedding day! Note to Self, NEVER try a new hairstyle for your wedding!
My beautiful long blonde hair was layered and frizzed but the perm didn’t take so had to be done again just days before the big event. The perm on perm wrecked my hair and it took two years to grow out.
I long lamented my wedding photos and wished I’d gone natural.
You would think that disaster would have been enough to put me off perms for life but it was the persuasive Greek hairdresser who talked me around when I was Fashion Editor. “To be honest Diane, your straight hair does nothing for your pretty face. And smooth hair is OUT. BIG hair is IN. You need VOLUME!”
Wow! He wasn’t kidding. I soon had the lollipop head and was introduced to “product”; that gooey gunk we scrunched in our mops every morning to keep the precious volume intact all day! How did we ever hold our heads up?
|The compulsory 80s perm!|
Long blonde hair for me!
By my mid-30s I’d recovered from the perming aberration and come to my senses.
I swore I’d keep my hair long, soft, straight, one-length and yes, blonde, forever blonde.
Hair dye is my open secret to eternal youth.
I refuse to go grey. No matter how much some women claim grey is glamorous or elegant and sophisticated.
Sorry Honey, grey, to me, just screams ‘old’! Dumb Blonde jokes, bring them on!
We don’t need botox and face lifts, boob jobs and liposuction. Just a simple touch up with the Nice ‘N Easy or Naturtint (without the nasty chemicals) and there’s 10 years knocked off, just like that!
Oh yes, remember to stand up straight and smile. Good posture, a face-splitting smile and no trace of grey, keeps us Baby Boomer Chicks forever young!
|At 40, proud of my crowning glory|
|Blonde and smart!|