The Fringe. There is no hairstyle more likely to send an involuntary spasm through my body than this (I was a little young for the 80’s poodle perm otherwise I suspect it would have been that). Fringes, just like boyfriend jeans, apparently suit anyone and everyone.
Forgive me if I start sounding like a women’s mag but a fringe allows you to change your entire look with a few snips of pivoted blades. Your whole face is altered as soon as the scissors make their cut and here is the problem. No matter how long you spend trying out the style in front of the mirror, it will rarely look the same. The bouncy, feather fringe I always hankered after was never going to be a reality with my poker straight hair that just seemed to glue itself to my forehead. I remember resorting to curling tongs to achieve said bounce, a burnt forehead part of the package deal.
I have attempted the long, side sweeping fringe, apparently elegant and effortless. Not with my hair, falling into my face at every turn of the head and just generally annoying the hell out of me. My head took on a gentle lean to the left as I tried to keep the damn hair out of my eyes. I attempted a blunt, heavy fringe – surely this would suit my hair type? Yes, it did but it just didn’t suit my face.
Just after I left school I really fancied a change from the long, Rapunzel style tresses I had sported for the best part of five years. The school style was the ‘Millfield Flick’, applicable for both boys and girls. The ‘curtains’ of the boys provoking a short sharp flick of the head which, it has to be said, only the cool kids mastered properly. Long hair for the girls provided a ‘look at me’ opportunity with every flick of the wrist (there was a lot of competition at my school) but it also provided a hiding place for those times when you wished the floor would swallow you up, a natural invisibility cloak if you will. I left school and wishing to forge my own identity before going to University, I had the whole lot chopped off. It was the most hated haircut of my life. I remember coming home from the hairdressers, throwing myself on my bed and sobbing. It was hideous.
This was the first time a haircut made me feel as though I had totally lost who I was. (Happily I have dealt with the trauma and can share with you the only photo that exists of said haircut). I felt that I looked like a boy and that instead of achieving a sophisticated, grown up style (which, believe it or not, I had been hoping to walk out of the salon with), I had a style that made me look like a six year old. A style that threw me into panic and sadness every time I glanced into the mirror. Of course, I ended up spending more time looking in the mirror, attempting to style this monstrosity into something that resembled the former me but with little success. I went off to University, the first time away from home and my sheltered upbringing, and the lack of confidence thanks, in part, to this damn haircut caused me to hideout in my breeze block room. The hair took the best part of a year to grow out and you’d have thought I’d have learnt my lesson. But no.
The problem with fringes is that you think you can cut them yourself, on yourself. This is categorically a mistake and a mistake which I made on more than one occasion. At University I would sit at my desk, procrastinating over essays on the Irish Potato Famine or the social conditions as portrayed by Mrs Gaskell and suddenly I’d think it would be great idea to have a fringe. So out would come the scissors and snip, snip, it was done. Oh, well, only six months to grow the blasted thing out again.
Having spent the best part of three decades searching for my perfect fringe, I have come to the conclusion that this is just a myth. I am defeated. I will no longer be banging about bangs. Tilly however, now, she is just at the beginning of her search for fringe appeal, and I believe it may be with a little more success than her mother.