My hair is straight, and I have never been very adventurous in my hair styles. It’s either a bob, shoulder length or longer, and, except for henna, I’ve never colored it. I go to my hair dresser 4-5 times a year, and she always makes sure she gives me a cut that will last well. Basically, I save all my hair adventures for Lydia McKenzie in my book Posed for Murder. She changes her hair color and style quite frequently, and not every one suits her.
But I did have one major hair disaster when I was four. My best friend and I got a hold of a pair of scissors and decided to give each other haircuts. We knew we weren’t supposed to, so we hid behind a door in my house. We cut big chunks off each other’s heads, and thought it was so much fun. I don’t know if we even knew how terrible the haircuts were until some other kids laughed at us.
Luckily a family friend was visiting who was a hairdresser. He did his best, but we basically ended up with matching crew cuts. I don’t remember the boyish cut bothering me too much. It was summer and I probably liked not having to have my brushed and washed very much. I have no idea what my great-grandmothers made of my hair cut when we visited them in Missouri that summer, but I’m grinning in all the pictures my mother took of me. I was clearly oblivious to my hair disaster.
When I was 13, visiting my aunt in Wales, I decided to cut my long hair short. I went to a hairdresser and I remember them asking me several times “are you sure?” It made me nervous. Did they think I would look good? The result, with my freckles, was cute. And the rest of the summer, traveling with my mother in Europe, I was frequently mistaken for a boy. It wasn’t just the short hair, but I was already five foot eight and still flat as a board. Is it any wonder I let it grow again?
I occasionally see a woman on the street with truly adventurous hair. Bright pink or red, an interesting short cut, an asymmetrical style, thick curls or thick bangs, and I think—hmm. How would that look on me? But instead of trying it, I just give the haircut to Lydia and see how she likes it. Because I know from experience that some hair disasters take longer then others to undo. So I just save my hair adventures for the page.