The Higher The Hair, The Closer To Heaven…

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I love having short hair.

From a functional perspective it’s always a winner, especially as a parent. In fact, if I recall correctly, a postpartum pixie crop is usually standard practice amongst those of us not obligated to hold onto our lovely locks.

Since taking the plunge age 14 and having my hair (previously resting somewhere around my upper thighs) lopped off for charity, I’ve never looked back. It’s been all the way down to a number one, a misguided albeit ‘brave’ choice, but never grown in further than my chin.

This has left me free to abuse it with every chemical procedure known to hairdressing, safe in the knowledge that when it becomes the texture of old candyfloss I can just buzz it off and start over.

That being said I do have several sets of hair extensions. Nothing fancy, just the lower end clip-ins that I dye and heat style to lend a bit of variety to my wardrobe.

They live in a box at the end of my bed and maybe see the light of day, at most, six weeks of the year. Putting them in each morning is far too much of a faff, my head tends to ache after a few hours and (most importantly) weird shit goes down when I wear them.

Take today.

I’m writing this from the comfort of my couch, the curtains are drawn (despite the blazing sunshine outside), I’m nursing a cup of sweet tea and contemplating the practicalities of never leaving the house again.

It all started with a well intentioned plan of buying Frank some new trousers. A simple recce mission up town to H&M and back in time for lunch.

As sometimes happens we were stopped within a few minutes by one of Edinburgh’s many homeless, I rarely proffer change often opting for buying them a brew and a sandwich instead but if that’s not possible a bit of friendly conversation never goes amiss.

Twenty minutes, one marriage proposal and an exchange of life stories later something entirely unexpected happens.

‘Steve’ reaches into his pocket and gives my son £1, telling him “that’s just for you, go and buy something to make your day brilliant”.

Initially I wen’t through the motions, got the wee man to thank him in Makaton and then made moves to retrieve the poor chap’s money. “No” he said “I’m fine, you just make sure he spends it on a big bag of sweeties. It’s what I would have done when I was a kid”.

So we rounded up our chat and walked away. With a homeless man’s money.

A few paces up the road was a Greenpeace representative, not surprisingly we were waylaid once again.

My hair is as much a beacon for chuggers as it is wasps.

Except he didn’t want to tell me about the campaign to prevent oil drilling at the North Pole at all. No. He wanted dietary advice, a conversation about spirituality, recommendations on yoga routines and to get half naked in the street to show me his seahorse tattoo.

At this point, I was fairly convinced I had inadvertantly passed through a portal somewhere around the Omni Centre.

During the rest of our jaunt we met an Irish traveller and self proclaimed ‘warlock’ who told me about his past lives and a chap called Billy Boy who “sometimes take[s] valium and rob[s] stuff” but he assured me it’s all in good fun.

For those who are particularly inclined towards being overtly sociable, nattering with the local characters may be common practice. I assure you, for me, it’s not.

This is not due to an innate snobbery. When I go out with my hair in its natural state, people don’t approach me.

I become (in essence) simply another one of the invisible, buggy pushing masses.

Whack in a ponytail that makes me appear something akin to Barbie’s glue sniffing, raver cousin and suddenly I’m Mister Sex.

I don’t think I’ll ever get over the difference something so superficial makes in the way even a stranger on the street views me – it’s questionable if I’ll ever recover from today at all.

Regardless of this, one thing is for certain; my extensions are going back in their box lest I inadvertantly start a cult when I venture out for some milk.

Ava

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