Monday, April 14, 2014

There was a kid at school who used to call me 'Tupu'

And for the folks not in the know, Tupu was the name of a kids TV show from the mid-2000s. The titular character was a wild girl who lived in Central Park and it was about how she did (or didn't) fit in with New York.

File:Tupu Initial Intertitle.gif

The kid called me 'Tupu', because I, like the character, had fairly long, strawberry-blonde, wild hair.

Because this was 2007, I was really wound up about everything and found it hugely insulting.

And then a while back, my sister Prue brought it up again, because it's been a while, and I haven't had a proper haircut since I started tertiary education. I have a lot of hair. And at that point, I was kind of like 'I guess you're right. Look at that.'

So this is kind of a blog post telling you about my hair. Why it's so long, the interesting things I have learned from having absurdly long hair, and probably what I do to it on the side, because it's not uncommon for people to ask me what I do to it, or how it got so long.

To which I kind of just give them a weird look and say 'I don't cut it'.

I don't mean to sound condescending, but that's kind of it.


As a kid, my standard hair-cutting habit was 'let it get kind of long, and then lop it off'. So there's a variety of photos of me with different length hair. I think for the sake of manageability, Mum never let it get beyond mid-back before lopping it. We lived out in the sticks. She kind of just cut our hair for a long while.

I think the major haircuts I had in high school were year 8, when it went kind of short, and then at the end of year 10. Preceeding the year 10 hair cut, I'd just not cut my hair for a while. It got to perhaps waist length, and I was kind of pleased with it, although having to braid it every night for sleeping got on my nerves a little.

This wasn't as bad as the summer though. See, it was sometime in the later half of the year, that I decided on the hair cut. I think I went to formal with short hair, so that means that it happened before December, but that doesn't say a whole lot. I do remember the day though, because I rode over to the oval from Dunbogan to watch the cricket, and it was the kind of King Humid day that makes you hate everything in existence. The tepid air was like soup, and every time I leaned back to rest my head against the bricks of the building I was sheltering under, said building material would grab my hair and tangle it.

So I left the cricket that Saturday afternoon, deciding that at some stage that evening, I would get Mum to cut my hair.

This actually happened. I'm pretty sure I surfaced in the loungeroom at 10:45pm, holding my stepladder, the sharp scissors and wearing the dirtshirt, and said to Mum, 'I want you to cut my hair short right now'.

There was a period of time directly after this, when my hair and I were in disagreement. Mum had left enough there that it was mid-length, so I could go to a hairdressers in the near future and get it neatened up/have it layered, because Mum can't do that.

The first hairdresser I went to couldn't either.

There was waiting involved, but once that haircut had grown out, I think I ended up getting it cut by someone else, and it was an excellent haircut. It was like, longer than a bob, but ballooned out and kicked back in.

What was funny about that haircut was when I sat on the bus, heading down for Snow Trip dos-point-oh, and one of my friends introduced me to Bleach. And within minutes of seeing Rukia, one of the main characters, I was all like that's exactly what my hair looked like last year.

Weird and cool.

Anyway. I don't remember many/any other haircuts over year 12. I think it kind of just grew out again, until I had below-shoulder hair for formal.

It was cut short again right before TAFE started. January 2010. You can see it in my student card, along with the semi-manic look that came with my sleep deprivation for that week. (We'd gotten back from three weeks in New Zealand, to discover a letter from the real estate agents telling us we had six weeks to move. That had been sent the week we left. We had to pack the house up in a hurry.)

That was kind of it. I didn't bother with haircut business during that year, and then when Bec and I moved down to Newcastle, we kind of had that conversation. It ended up being decided that, since haircuts were expensive, I just wasn't going to bother. I was fine with that. I'd lasted a year of tertiary education, why not the next three years? So. I'd either get it cut when I graduated, or when I got sick of it.

So, the next three years passed without much account. At the beginning of 2012, not taking no for an answer, Mother marched me to the hairdressers to get a trim, since the ends were kind of ratty-looking. But that's kind of it. I cut my own fringe in when the need arises, and that's gotten easier since I found a hair-cutty-razor-thing at Daiso, land of the imported Japanese wonders.

That's kind of the history side.

It's now mid-March. I graduate in, like, six weeks. Five?

And I'm trying to figure out whether or not to actually go and get a haircut. I mean, on the one hand, that's kind of where I wanted to get to. Have photos to look back on in twenty years and people be like 'what? You had hair that long?
On the other hand, I've gotten kind of attached to it. (Pun not intended)

It's like. I dunno. The tips of my hair, broken, splitting and frail, have been there for a long time. I've been working on this thing for longer than anything else that has been a conscious project of my life. I mean, Uni was a three-year project. The HSC is something you only start thinking about seriously in year 11.
And with it being so long now, it's like I have to treat it like a separate thing, but it's still attached to my head. It can be touching someone who is at arms length away, and it is still connected to my head, so in a way, there's little difference between someone touching the ends of my hair and someone chucking a whole hand in the stuff that directly attached to my scalp.

Like I said, a little weird.

I have people asking if I sit on it.

Let me tell you, sitting on it is not the most awkward bit. The more awkward points are when someone else sits on it, or when I do something like wind it up in the window, or it gets caught in a door or on a jumper, and I don't realise until it's stacks away from my head and then all of a sudden it's 'goodness gracious, what is attached to my head?' Or you have to ask someone to move, because you can't get up. Because they're sitting or leaning on your hair.

It's something that's intensely personal, but it has the ability to be so far removed from my body that you wouldn't realise it, or think about it in that way. And it's not like if you touched the tips, that I would immediately notice or anything. Still. If you want to touch it, better ask first.

Boss on Saturday night decided to impart knowledge on me during work by putting her hand on my shoulder. She's busy telling me to walk over to the customers and check on them and I'm just like don't touch me don't touch me don't touch me this is no don't do this I will hulk out no don't touch me

But Brooke vs physical contact is a different blog post to be discussed never. Just appreciate that there's a very small group of people who touch my hair, and those are folks that are in the 'okay' list.

*mumbles something about being like a cat in that respect*

I once got told that it being this length showed that I had dedication and patience, and that was like the coolest thing anyone had told me about what I pretty much write off to 'not wanting to pay for a haircut'. I mean, there's a lot more in that now, because it's not hard to cut your own hair, and I absolutely rip though conditioner, so it's not like this is actually cheaper or anything. And I've lasted a few summers now.

Winter and long hair is fine. Summer, especially summer back home, with its tepid days and humidity of five billion, is suckfest when you have long hair. You bun it, there's just no other option.

So yeah.

To friends who wonder how my hair behaves like it does, what to expect from if you decide to have crazy-long hair, and how to keep it relatively neat, here's what my life looks like.

Expect to shed on everything. It's normal to drop hairs during the course of your life. Some break off, some get caught in things, some just fall out. When your total hair length is 20cm, that's manageable. A bit gross to find in your food, but not too bad. When your total hair length is closer to a metre, there's just a lot more of it. So, it's not about expecting to shed on things nearly as much as it is about expecting the shedding to be way more noticeable.

I did say that I rip though conditioner, and I often have people asking what I put in my hair.

Imma just say this now - there's far too many hair products out in the world, with all of the chemicals in the world in them.

Most of the time, I just shampoo and condition, and the difference is between treating the roots and the length. Shampoo really just strips sebum from your hair. It takes out the dirt and funk of everyday life too, but the main component it removes is the oil that your head/hair naturally produces. I shampoo the roots of my hair to take out the oil and funk, but avoid if I can getting too much of the stuff on the length, because that's where your hair snaps if it dries out. There's some kind of brand that woolies stocks that doesn't have Sodium Laurel Sulfate in it, and I use that sometimes. (SLS is the compound that causes foaming. I think. It's in toothpaste and soaps and a bunch of other bathroom things.)

The length gets drowned in conditioner specified for dry hair, and that's kind of it. I try not to blow-dry my hair if it can be helped (mostly because I don't enjoy burning my ears off). Towel dry and brush.

If I have Argan oil, that goes in sometimes too.

And that's honestly it for a hair-care regime.

The only other reason why my hair has managed to be in decent condition in the space of four years, growing from shoulder-length to I'm-wearing-decent-length-shorts-why-are-you-touching-the-back-of-my-legs-length, is probably because it just grows really fast.

This is kind of a weird blog post.

Here I am, rambling about cosplay and philosophy and deep thought, and then there's this post telling you about my overabundance of keratin. I apologise to the folks who don't care about this kind of thing, and are instead waiting to hear about the existential crisis I had last year, or how things have been with learning to trust God while living on the smell of an oily rag. These posts will be up soon.

To everyone else, I guess you know a little more about a weirder side of my life now. Please note though, that if you decide to call me Tupu, I may still get a little nope about it.

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