Warning: I generally use the Lovely List to discuss all things lovely. But this post is about something very, very ugly.
A few days ago, I went through one of the most traumatic experiences a woman can endure. I got a bad haircut. Am I being a bit dramatic? Of course. But if you think this is bad, you should have seen my reaction at the time. But let’s back up…
Earlier this month, my husband and I packed up our old flat and moved into our new flat. The next day, with mountains of boxes still unpacked, I started a new job. One where I had absolutely no idea what I was doing and felt completely overwhelmed. After a few days on the job, I decided my long, flowing hair didn’t quite mesh with my more conservative gig – so I booked a post-work appointment at my local salon for a trim.
Now maybe it was because I was mentally and physically exhausted when I arrived for my evening appointment, but I abandoned everything I’ve learned about haircut strategy. (I mean, getting a horrible haircut is something that happens when you’re 16. Not 29.) I wasn’t specific, I didn’t bring any pictures and I allowed myself to be swayed by the stylist. And then I grumpily immersed myself into this month’s Harper’s Bazaar and paid zero attention as he hacked away with abandon.
It wasn’t until we got to the blow-drying phase that I noticed my layers didn’t quite conform with my (admittedly lazy) instructions of “not too short.” Instead, they were much too short. Like hovering near ear-level short. And don’t get me started on the choppy bits, the uneven sides and the unblended fringe.
Afterwards, when I walked in the door, my husband could barely mutter the phrase “your hair looks nice” before I collapsed into a sobbing mess. I don’t just mean that I teared up for a few minutes. Nope. I launched into full-on crazy-lady mode. I put my hair in a ponytail, changed into my pyjamas and cried hysterically. (At one point I may have actually wailed, “I’m going to be ugly for the last few months of my 20s!” But who can be sure?) My lovely husband tried to comfort me by saying: “I don’t understand why you’re so upset – it kind of looks like Rachel from Friends.” His heart was in the right place, but little did he know that I was not aiming for a ’90s throwback.
After an hour or so, he finally texted my mom – something along the lines of, “I’m not really sure what to do here…”
As I write this, I’m actually quite embarrassed about my behaviour. And I recognise that my complete and utter breakdown wasn’t entirely hair-related. Instead, the much more sane part of me realises that it was, as they say, the straw the broke the camel’s back for my stress level. And spending a few hours crying into my pillow was actually just the release I needed.
The next day I was back to acting like a (relatively) normal person. But the bad haircut remained. Yes, the overly dramatic tears were gone, but I was still very annoyed – and mostly at myself. By this point in my life, I know what styles look good on me and I know how to describe what I want to a stylist. I simply made a mistake – one that I’ll just have to live with for the next few months. Though, I’ve been told hair grows quicker in the summer, so at least there’s a positive.
Luckily, my confidence was given a tiny but much-needed boost a few days later. I received a voicemail from my older sister, who I consider to be the ultimate purveyor of beauty and fashion. She said, albeit a tad bitchily: “Is that picture I just saw of you on Facebook an old one – or is that the supposedly ugly haircut? Because if so, you are the biggest effing drama queen.”