Covid Hair

Now I am sure that none of you are in quite the position I am regarding your hair…

To ‘trim’ or not to ‘trim’…

To shave my head (oh gosh) or not to shave… and yes I have been tempted, but I have no clippers!

You see, I had an appointment to have my hair (professionally) ‘done’ on the Saturday morning 5 days after lockdown started. At that point my hair hadn’t been ‘done’ since the end of January… and now hasn’t been done for almost 23 weeks… 17 weeks longer than the normal 6. And it shows. Last weekend someone referred to my “mullet” (remember them?)!

“Covid hair” has been the source of much amusement on social media; references to Worzel Gummidge, Highland Cattle and the like make us all smile and wince at the same time. We all know what a “bad hair day” can feel like.

But smiling aside, the state of my hair has a particular significance. When my hair feels ‘out-of-control’ I feel out of control, and of course in this pandemic, one thing we all are is out of control. I am powerless to have my hair attended to, at least until July 15th according to the Scottish Government, and then how long will I have to wait for an appointment? And that represents to me the powerlessness I feel in relation to so many of the restrictions which have been place on us for our own well-being. The things I have always done to manage my stresses have been taken away, and I have been left at times feeling like I’m in a pressure cooker.

And hair can provoke so many feelings around gender. When I cut it really short, so that it sits the only way it has sat for almost 6 decades now, I have felt the accusations of rejecting my ‘womanhood’ (whatever that is). Growing up I was not allowed to grow my hair: “It will grow thicker if you have it cut, dear” (not true). So once an adult, when I did grow my hair, it felt nothing like I wanted. My concept of myself took another knock – how could I make the outside of me match how I felt myself to be on the inside, when I wasn’t even really sure how I felt on the inside?

I think during these recent months not only has hair become a new source of smiles, a representation of the illusions we have of control over our own lives, but as a result also perhaps a touchstone with one another of our common vulnerabilities.

Now I’m off to find my hairdresser’s phone number…