I'm working on a writing project. Songs and writing writing, images. I am mining journals, albums, photos, film. It will be the fleshed out version of "my mother has four noses".... but across many platforms....and there is a disturbing thru-line: BAD HAIR.
I came across this photo yesterday. The year-end panorama of my school in London. I'm in the middle with the bad hair. Even on "photo day" - I'm a mess. Alice Nunnelly's bangs are perfect, (BFF on my right) her pig tails thick and even. Harriet Hordern has pretty yellow bows in her braids, Joanna Impey's hair is pulled back and smoothed.
When I was six, my family moved to Cottesmore Court Road in Kensington. Dad was a journalist for the Christian Science Monitor, and the choice had been London or Moscow. Mom made the decision easy. NO WAY were we going to Moscow...
The first few months were a horrible sequence of school visits. I was bullied about my goofy red har, or left out completely. I was mocked for my American accent, and so quickly became fluent in "British." We finally settled on the only place I thought I could survive: the Francis Holland School for Girls, right outside of Sloane Square.
There's Miss Tornrose, the headmistress in the middle, seated.
There's Miss Pod. EVery morning we were to curtsy and say "Good Morning Miss Pod."
The first year we were offered the choice of gym or ballet at the official "Royal Academy." That was it. Love at first plie. I received primary "Honours." I was given a tiny ballerina printed hankie and a postcard of Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev.
In the improvisational part at the end of the exam, all my friends were flowers, butterflies, sprouting/springing gracefully from small crouching tucks on the floor. I was wack-haired Donald Duck, and waddled around the floor in a squat, quacking.
The stuffy Royal Academy examiner's comment? "Very charming personality indeed."
I don't mean to seem ungrateful, but in every other photo I came across yesterday, it got worse. I never seem to have gotten a proper haircut. EVER.
In almost every picture of me growing up, my hair is tattered - almost as if I've been chopping it myself, or there was a gum incident that left it botched and uneven.
fifth grade. What the hell?
I know I've complained before but really. They called me "Mason" for god's sake, after Mason Reese, the kid with hair like mine and the lateral lisp, who did the smorgasbord commercials.
Builds character, right? I certainly never took anything for granted. In fact, I don't think my hair has ever been exactly what I hope for in my mind.
In reality, it's always a mess, it's always been a mess, and as I get older, even the color, which was the one thing I could count on, just isn't all that. Hats don't help either. I've got a tiny head, so hats just throw my proportions off and postpone the reckoning with the real problem. Bad Hair.
I wonder what Alice Nunnelly is doing now?