Skip to content

Column: Hairdos … and don’ts

Prairie Wool: There was true pain in being a Marg Osburne lookalike at age 12.
Blue Hair
When I was a kid, no allowances were made for personal expression with hairstyle. There were no outlandish looks or wild colours for this girl.

Sometimes the latest hair trends leave me baffled. Take a recent one for boys. Both sides are razored off close to the head, leaving hair in roughly a three-inch wide strip, long. So long, it can be braided or put into a short and highly unusual ponytail. If, however, it's left to its own devices, the hair lops over one eye, interfering with the child's vision.

This requires a frequent, exaggerated flicking motion to allow a brief window of sight, often causing an awkward reconfiguration of the head and neck. Clearly, any discomfort, spinal column displacement or associated whiplash is deemed a worthwhile sacrifice when considering the overall esthetic effect.

When I was a kid, no allowances were made for personal expression with hairstyle. There were no outlandish looks or wild colours for this girl. No keeping with the current fashions or following the cuts promoted by movie stars. For me, haircuts consisted of a hurried trip to an elderly hairdresser who obtained her operating licence in the 1920s. To a darkened shop where all who entered later exited the premises with the identical coiffure.

They all looked exactly like Marg Osburne.

Good ole Marg, while quite the songstress on Don Messer's Jubilee, had an old lady hairdo: short, rolled, fluffed, and then one lone curl was sprayed into place high over her left eye. This was fine for Marg, but I was 12!

I remember one fateful visit that saw me hunched fearfully in the truck for as long as possible, arguing I liked hair in my eyes. Finally, I was hauled through the door, plunked in the hairdresser's chair, a voluminous plastic cape was flung over my shivering shoulders, and the hairdresser advanced upon me, brandishing her gleaming implements.

One hour later, after what remained of my hair was set, teased, backcombed, and I had coughed through enough hairspray to choke a horse, I recall dashing out to the truck to consult my reflection in the rear-view mirror. Moaning in horror, I took it all in. Yup, no doubt about it, there she was – Marg in all her glory.

My young daughter has her own ideas on hairstyles. To avoid a repeat of the Marg episode, I gave in when she stated her desire for blue hair. It actually looked quite pretty. She was happy, I was happy and the stylist was happy. There were congratulations all around until the next morning when she woke up looking like a blueberry. The colour had seeped into every fibre of her being. Her face was blue: neck, ears, and hands were blue. Pillow, bed, and clothing – all blue. I trust you've heard of the Midas touch? Well, try it in a lovely shade of aquamarine.

To make matters worse, she was scheduled to perform in a high school theater event that night! I sat with trepidation in the audience as she entered the stage under bright spotlights. Turning, she faced the assembly, and an audible gasp rose from the crowd. My girl looked positively radioactive. Throughout the performance, she raised bright indigo arms to gesture, peacock hands fluttered gracefully as she spoke and her teeth gleamed brilliant white against a Smurf-like face. I guess that's one way to stand out.

Yes, interesting hairstyles will always be around, but thankfully hair grows back, colour fades, and I will never again resemble Marg Osburne.

God willing.