1st Prize Hairdressing Fashion Exhibition, London 1935.
Image: Louis Calvete ISBN 1-897312-34-2
Oh, you’re back Carrie! Come and have a Monk Pear!
It’s the latest tea find. You know, they order these T2 teas from
Okay, but I will have to be quick. I’ve still got loads of name tags
to sew on for the start of term.
We went into Costamuchamoulah.
You’ve had your hair done. It suits you.
Thanks. I have to be in the mood, as I hate that salon smell. It
gives me asthma, so I have to go when I am in a good phase and
there’s not too many women having their colour done.
Some women have died having their hair coloured.
I know. That’s why I don’t risk it. Anaphylaxis and all that.
I thought there was a girl in Scheherezade’s class called that.
Oh no, it was ‘Alexis’. Anyway, I don’t like the smell either. It makes
my eyes sting.
That’s just the price! My mother and grandmother did their own-
on a Saturday afternoon. I was reminiscing about it the other day
Let me guess…another one of your ‘pomes’! Just as well I’m not
allergic to them. Okay, give it here.
Crimping waves while the sun shone, my mother,
grandmother, eased the men out of the house
for their afternoon. Wanting no bother,
they sent them to a match. One would douse
her white scalp at the sink and take the Twink
perming lotion. My eyes would always burn
at its foul ammonia, wee-wee stink,
applied by each to each, in unctuous turn.
Pink plastic clips were screwed into their skulls;
chiffon scarves masked phrenological bumps.
Their billed features were as sharp as gulls,
contrasting with their rounded breasts and rumps.
The men returned in time to watch the fight;
wrestling; then quietly demanded their tea.
Bouffants, beehives deflated overnight.
Aesthetic judgements were left up to me.
Does it sit nice at the back? What d’ye think?
I always said it suited them just fine.
Hope died, as no one ever took them for a drink,
with their tight curls ponging of atropine.
One whiff of salon fug and back it floods:
those weekend rituals, with the rigid roles;
the hair-clogged drains; old towels, basin suds;
the curling of coiffures; lacquering of souls.
And now my marriage gone with my long hair,
I stopped nit-picking many years ago.
I dyed daily, so now I do not care,
or seek approval- I just wash and go.