Mum used to take us to the hairdresser in one of the big towns, about an hour away from the farm. The hairdresser was always very nice to us, even when I cut my sisters hair for her and tried hiding the evidence under the couch. It must have been quite mangled because I have a hard time cutting paper, let alone hair, in a straight line, even now. The girls working in his salon looked so grown-up, I loved the smell of shampoo and other products, and I was always trying to figure out what the mysterious little room with the bed in it was for. It was only years later that I realised it was for waxing and other grooming. Ah, how naïve I once was.
I think I was the only one in my class (of 8 girls, 4 boys) to get my hair cut in the big town. At a real hairdresser. The rest of them got their hair cut by their mum or a relative or by a local lady, on her verandah.
But I always wanted to get my hair cut by the local lady. My female classmates came to school with crimped hair and (what I thought were) the most fashionable cuts. I was desperately jealous and wished fervently that our hairdresser would propose something like this to me one day. When I was twelve, it took all my courage to tell him I'd like to grow my fringe out. I was tired of having a giant and heavy 70s fringe which I felt started right at the back of my head, when all my classmates had tiny wispy fringes which started just at the top of their foreheads. Despite having a giant cow-lick and the hairdresser's advice against it, I persisted. And he did his best with my sillyness.
I know my parents splurged by taking us to get our hair cut. Even if they couldn't afford to put us in the brands of tracksuit pants we wanted, we always got our hair cut properly.
I am sure that the local lady did her best with the tools she had available. But it is only now, when I look back at photographs of me and my classmates in primary school, that I realise how profoundly grateful I am that mum took us to a proper hairdresser.
Crimped hair. Jagged fringes.