I have a complicated relationship with my hair. Most Irish women do. Our wild, unruly mops are the result of our confused gene pool – that unique mix of rowdy Celts, rampaging Vikings and the invading Spanish Armada.
The lesser-spotted native Irish girl will often have thick, untamed hair and a pale complexion. Of course, sightings of this species are extremely rare – most of us will hide our Irishness with fake tan, hair straighteners/extensions and any other beauty aides we can get our desperate hands on.
Growing up, I hated my hair. It was big, wavy and big. Did I mention it was big?? I could have given Joan Collins in Dynasty a run for her money with my massive head of hair. My older sister even cruelly christened me Tefal Head. (For non-Eighties kids, Tefal was a brand of sandwich maker. Yes my hair was so big I resembled an Eighties sandwich maker.)
I didn’t fare much better in the Nineties. After an unfortunate incident with my mother’s stylist, my long hair was hacked into a short bob up around my ears with a shaved undercut (yes, really). I was devastated. I spent the rest of my teens either single and/or playing the lead male role in my all-girls school musicals.
It wasn’t until I started working and earning decent money that I could afford proper haircuts and products. Then one day, circa 2003, I returned from backpacking in the wilds of South America to some revolutionary news – boffins had invented the GHD!
Suddenly Irish girls everywhere could have the poker straight hair of their dreams. I even dabbled with those God-awful blonde stripes that were all the rage at the time, so enamored was I with my new barnet.
Now that I’m in my thirties, I have finally learned to love my big hair. As we age, our former glorious mops thin, becoming dry and brittle, so having enormous hair is definitely an advantage. It’s been a long, often painful road but I finally appreciate my good (and bad) hair days.
My little girl Eve has the long, wild tresses I once had – and I tell her every day how beautiful it is. I hope she will grow up loving her curls and embrace her inner Celt/Viking/Spaniard. Life really is too short to spend it fretting about a bad hair day, don’t you think?