History has shown that I tend to make irrational decisions when it comes to my hair. After I married Paul in the US in 2012, I was feeling the comedown of our wedding celebrations and decided that I needed to get my hair cut as a sort of pick me up. With a picture of Cameron Diaz circa Something About Mary screen shotted in my phone, I headed into an absurdly expensive salon and walked out looking like an 8-yr-old who had cut her own hair with round, blunt Crayola scissors at school. (Which I have done before – see the unintentional hipster bangs of 1995.) My mom, Donna, had warned me not to cut my hair after our wedding, but had I listened? Of course not. When Paul and I returned to Mudgee, I looked like his unfortunate little sister on school picture day.
A year later, it really came as no surprise that three months after I had our first baby, Daisy, I dyed my hair brown. To be completely honest, I truly believed that I’d look like Mila Kunis if I went dark. I did not. Nope. I actually looked like no one. My mom couldn’t recognize me in the grocery store. Paul never saw me driving down the street. Nothing. As someone who loves to be loved and adored, this was horrifying. What was worse is that I have a scar on the front right side of my head from when I was little that is more or less a giant bald spot. It glowed wildly from under my brown locks, which sadly made me look like my high school math tutor, Fred.
After failing to learn algebra at school in 2002, my mom enlisted Fred’s help and I spent two afternoons a week in his living room that was filled with a shocking amount of tennis memorabilia, VHS videotapes and VCRs to record tennis matches. The set up was quite impressive, but also resembled a house you’d see on a True Crime TV show. It was the kind of room that made you instinctively look for an exit and form an escape plan.
Fred was a very good tutor, but not so good at appropriate child/ tutor behaviour. In between math problems, he would often ask me if I wanted a delicious caramel candy. Of course I did. It was sugar and I was 14. As I’d reach for one, he’d wave his finger and say, “No, no, no. What do you have to do first?” And then he’d make me hug him for the piece of candy. One day I cheerfully showed Donna my caramel candy and told her that I had to hug Fred for it. Horrified, but also desperate for me to pass math class, she never left me there alone again.
One day, Donna flipped through a magazine while Fred tried to explain the Binomial Theorem to me. Mid sentence he paused and pointed out my bald spot. “Hey, what’s that from?” I explained that I had a weird pre-cancerous birthmark and that doctors wanted to cut it out just to be safe.
Fred smiled, “You know that they have very advanced hair plugs these days?”
Of course I knew. When I wasn’t busy hugging him for candy, I had been staring at his hair plugs. I may not have had the attention span for numbers, but I could flat out stare at a hair follicle for hours.
I smiled kindly, “No. I did not know that.”
Fred’s eyes gleamed and he seemed so proud that I didn’t know about his hair plugs and that he could educate me on them. “Do you know anyone with hair plugs?” Fred asked.
Donna put down her magazine and shot me a knowing look. My eyes widened. Both of our minds were shouting, “YOU!”
I looked down at my math scribbled paper, “No, I don’t think so.”
Fred looked so pleased that I hadn’t noticed. “I do!” he proclaimed.
NO SH*T - I’VE BEEN USING YOUR HAIR PLUGS AS AN ABACUS FOR THE PAST SIX MONTHS.
Since my mama raised me right, I put a look of amazement on my face and said, “No way! I had no idea!”
The thought of needing hair plugs to cover my extra visible bald spot thanks to my brown hair was enough to make me book an emergency appointment for a vat of bleach. I am going to put this here in writing so that I never forget – I, Summer Land, will remain an un-natural natural looking blonde with shoulder length hair for as long as I shall live. Under no circumstance am I to try out another pixie cut, bob, or colour other than straw.
But seriously though – how did this many bad hairstyles happen to one person?
Summer Land is the author of Summerlandish: Do As I Say, Not As I Did. Get a signed copy of her book at summerlandauthor.com