The trials and tribulations of an anxious adolescent.

You couldn’t pay me to be a teenager again. If I had to sum it up in one word, I’d say ‘embarrassing’ would cover it.

even the baby thought I looked a twat!

Things are very different now. Fortunately for me, there aren’t too many photos in circulation from the time I thought it would be a good idea to slick my hair all over to one side using the only hair product available, wet look gel. The consistency of slime and the colour of toxic waste. This hairstyle I chose, which I mistakenly thought made me look a little like Demi Moore in St Elmo’s Fire (achievable only with a face transplant) had the unnerving habit of ‘flip topping’ every time there was the slightest gust of wind. In my mind I was ‘sexy’ and ‘sophisticated’. I was not. I was in fact, a short, spotty girl with hair like sheet metal that waved intermittently at passersby.

This unfortunately was not my first foray into the stylish world of hair.

I grew up in a small town in Essex, I not so fondly call it the arse end of nowhere. Back in the late 70’s early 80’s things were pretty bleak and the town where I resided had little to offer a girl like me who had watched Top of the Pops and had her tiny mind blown by Sigue Sigue Sputnik at the tender age of 6. Punks hung out on the benches in the high street and to me they were the epitome of exotic, I was completely unaware that they were raiding the shelves of Woolworths for glue to escape the drudgery of their dismal grey surroundings.

I badgered my mother for a haircut, something cutting edge, something out of a Syd Brak illustration and finally she relented, times were tough, we weren’t flush by any stretch of the imagination, and besides my mum had spent the family allowance at a dodgy casino. So she took me to the barbers. To be fair to her there wasn’t anywhere else, previous to this I’d always sat stock still in a chair at the lady up the roads kitchen while she circumferenced my head with a bowl and a pair of scissors. My gut was telling me this wasn’t going to end well, but my vanity persuaded me that this haircut could enhance my life. I perused the laminated pages of the plastic ring binder containing some of the jazziest images I had ever laid eyes upon. Somewhere at the back in a section which should have been labelled, ‘haircuts no one in their right mind will ever ask for,’ was a photo of the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen, sporting a hair do (which I now know to be a hair don’t) tantalizingly called the ‘California cut’. Short and spiky at the front, long and flowing at the back. In my naivety I failed to realize the only reason the ‘model’ (there’s a clue right there) was carrying this hairstyle off is because she was incredibly attractive.

I should have realized by the pained expression on the barber’s face as I proffered the offending photo, that then would have been a good time to leave.

The upshot was that for the next year I resembled a 70’s footballer/Geography teacher hybrid. In today’s terms that’s a Geoballer. I always wondered why I had difficulty making and maintaining friendships as a child, as I write this it’s almost like a puzzle falling into place.

Like I said at least there’s not too much photographic evidence out there.

Mine was an adolescence untouched by sexting and the distribution of half -naked photos unwittingly shown to classmates. I have daughters and this prospect terrifies me, a ridiculous hairstyle can be grown out, forgotten. A photo shared all over social media, not so much.

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