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Friday, April 3, 2020

Is this the haircut of a strong, independent woman?

The rain ended my blow-dry bravado, but I still feel its magic

There’s a classic halloween episode of the Simpsons in which Homer receives a hair transplant from Snake, a criminal who has recently been executed. Slowly, Homer finds himself morphing into the bloodthirsty, chain-smoking jailbird: the hair is possessed. Homer, the famous yellow fool, must battle the hairpiece for ownership of his own hairbrained mind.

I’ve been thinking about Homer because this week I, too, had a hair transplant. Well, sort of. I had a haircut, in a drastically grown-up style I’ve never had before. Think of the bouncing blow-dry a hotshot New York city lawyer might sport: sleek, sculpted flicks conveying power, with a hint of contempt and a dash of arrogance; each strand in her voluminous mane appears to be propped up by a complex network of shrewd financial investments.

After the initial shock of having hair so incongruent with my usual “just risen” look, I found that it was working. Wherever I walked, the Ally McBeal theme tune played. For a few days, I was the strong, independent woman the cut demanded: at the newsagents, negotiating big-ticket deals (“Can you let me off the 15p?”); at the post office, cracking tough cases, (“So, in fact, next-day delivery won’t actually arrive tomorrow?”); at the garage paying at pump, because this executive lady is too busy for the kiosk.

Although the rain put an end to my blow-dry bravado, I can feel some of its magic has remained, just a bit. I’ve always feared being ill-equipped for formal adulthood, but having finally caught a glimpse of the pantsuit-wearing woman that lives within, I can rest a little easier.

It’s as Homer discovered: it is not the hair that makes the man, or woman. But a good haircut? Well, that’s a different story.

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