Ever since Dorothy Hamill figure-eighted across the ice to gold in 1976, I’ve been into hair. Not Farrah or Bo, but Dorothy. I guess she looked a bit like me, pale with dark hair. And she was American’s darling for years, spinning and grinning on skates, dressed in dazzling leotards. A little girl’s fantasy, I suppose. I didn’t skate, and I wasn’t allowed a BeDazzler, so the best I could hope for was her hair.
Unfortunately for my ice princess dreams, my Dad was in charge of my haircuts as a young girl. And by “in charge”, I mean he actually cut my hair. I have distinct memories of being sat on my parents’ bathroom counter, my Dad with scissors in hand. According to my eldest sister, he employed a bowl to perfect the look. I believe I have blocked out that detail, although I do have photographic evidence.
When he tired of the DIY method, Dad took me to his local barber shop. “This,” I thought, “this is my chance to look like a glossy, ice-skating superstar.” However, I don’t imagine barbers in Anchorage, Alaska had much call for the Dorothy Hamill bob, so from the age of six I looked mostly like a boy.
My hair was kept short for some time as a) it was the Eighties, b) my Mom had neither the time nor inclination for styling long hair, and c) it was the Eighties. I went from wannabe Dorothy to Flock of Seagulls in about three years flat. By age eleven, I was super cool. I mean rad. To. The. Max. I had four older sisters to emulate, and Polly, the next youngest after me, had a fine example of Eighties hair. Six years older than me and well, I wanted to be her. But I couldn’t fit into her Genera sweatshirt, so I stole her popstar hair.
Eighth grade and I finally got to go to my first proper salon. And always at the height of fashion, I dove head first into highlights and a bi-level. Oh yes, that first day of school photo was resplendent with blonde streaks and head-to-toe Benneton.
And from then on, I was hooked. Colour, cut, style. Trashy magazines, free refreshing drinks, people watching and of course the chat from the stylist. I loved going to have my hair done, and thankfully my Mom indulged me. I was bold, but never came home with the pink or blue streaks of a rebel. I had free reign over my lid and I rejoiced in a tight perm the summer before high school, thankfully my most serious hair disaster to date.
So, Ms Hamill has had her day, but I still love the salon. As a mum of two boys, it is a refuge. Friends have suggested mobile hairdressers as an easy way to crop the whole family in one go from the comfort of our home. Oh no, no one is going to take away from me those 2 hours of pure, child-free bliss. While I sit in that chair, no small person is asking me for a drink or a snack or telling me who hit who, in fact I am being brought cups of tea! And magazines! And would I like a biscuit? Yes, yes I would! And can you even believe Cheryl Cole’s new tattoo?
In a word? Heaven.