The Wedding Scare Hair Affair
I'm not a fussy woman, really I'm not.
My material expectations are a firm reflection of my 1970s Scottish, working class childhood. Like my mum I consider a nice biscuit and a cup of tea to be a great treat, and anything above that is luxury.
I get married in 18 days and I felt my first real tingle of nerves yesterday when it suddenly occurred to me that I'll have to read my own soppy wedding vows out in front of people who know me. So much for the gritty Scottish persona.
I'm calling my second time around the marriage circuit the triumph of love over experience, which I think is nicer than "hope over experience". And I've been firmly in the "Doesn't matter, so long as we get married" camp. We've organised a low key, simple, ceremony with a friendly celebrant, and we're having just 18 guests including our kids.
I've been priding myself on my laid back approach to my upcoming nuptials. All that really matters is that we get hitched, that's been my steadfast motto over the last three months.
So when we had to pull out of the venue we'd booked 5 weeks before the wedding day because the lady couldn't honour the commitments and hadn't emailed me in over a month, I just shrugged. No big deal, I found another venue within 24 hours and we nailed it down 3 days later.
When the favours I had ordered for our guests turned up and were totally crap, I laughed. Oh well, you buy cheap you get cheap, and I shrugged and ordered new favours.
When I tried a fancy new moisturiser with the intention of commencing a new skin regime so I'd look my glowing best, and it burned the skin under my eyes which became inflamed, puffy and then bagged and wrinkled in the manner of Shakespearian crone, I chuckled merrily, donned sunglasses and went to the shops looking like I was hiding from the paparazzi till it began to heal.
When my daughter reminded me that I had completely forgotten to order my flower crown with 3 weeks to go, I thought hey ho, thank goodness for express delivery eh?
When the tattooing on my eyebrows started losing some colour and looking rather more ginger than I would have liked, I mused - oh well I can always use eyebrow pencil on the big day if I need to. No biggie.
When I tried to find a new nail technician, and last week paid good money for what is sincerely the worst nail job I have ever had, I remained sanguine. I could have done better myself with some superglue and a carpenter's file, but ho hum, there are plenty of other nail salons on the Gold Coast.
All these little moments are just part of life's rich tapestry.
And then, yesterday, I popped in, in person, to make my crucial hair appointment for a few days before the actual event.
And I was told that Courtney has left.
That Courtney HAS LEFT.
I reacted a little like this:
Poor Denise, she did very well with the 50 something lunatic clutching her cheeks in horror and gibbering a string of mumbled nooooooos.
To appreciate why it's such a big deal you have to understand that I had a long road through hair hell to reach the destination of having locks that I actually like. I've had mullets, dog flap ears, ugly colours, unflattering styles and grotesque misunderstandings by the bushel.
On one occasion, when I was smartening myself up for an interview, the "stylist" cut my hair so short I looked like a prison guard of the more butch variety. My daughter, who was about 5 at the time, tried to comfort me the next day. "I think it's growing back mummy" she said in a soothing, gentle voice. When your 5-year-old pities you, you know you're in trouble. (Amazingly, I got the job anyway).
Another horrendous hair cut once rendered a friend, Julie Fletcher, literally speechless. Julie was dreadful at telling lies, even polite ones, and she just stared at me, mouth flapping, trying to find something kind to say until I put her out of her misery by saying "It's ok Jules, I own a mirror".
Then there was the time that my hairdresser Elaine actually laughed at the colour my hair came out. I looked a lot like Cyndi Lauper after she'd had all the fun.
So when I finally found Samantha, and a hair cut that works, I clutched at it like a drowning sailor who's managed to dislodge Kate Winslet. I went to nobody else, ever. If Sam wasn't available, I waited. I'd leave work early, rearrange appointments, do whatever it took to ensure I only ever saw Sammy. For the 2 years I lived in Brisbane I made the trip to the Gold Coast once every 6 weeks, rather than find a new hairstylist.
It was 60-90 minutes one way, depending on traffic. And worth every kilometre.
But Samantha very inconveniently has a life of her own and went off to have a child, despite my best efforts to dissuade her. Before she took her hiatus however, she handed me over to her head stylist, Courtney. The two had a nice, soothing discussion with me and convinced me all would be well. I took a deep breath, and took the plunge. And to my delight, Courtney did a beautiful job.
I was comforted to know that my haircut was safe in her hands for my big day.
So when Denise said "Oh, Courtney's left" my heart sank through the floor and, for the first time in the lead up to the bid day I heard the doom bells tolling.
Denise is also a senior stylist. She promised to talk to Sam about my little foibles, and persuaded me to put my locks in her talented hands.
And so, after sending a string of sobbing emojis to my fiance and daughter, and feeling somewhat shaken but grimly determined to hold onto my laissez-faire approach I made my appointment to see Denise on the week of the wedding.
I'm sure it will be fine.
I mean, it's only hair. Right?
Alison Tennent, Queensland, Australia, May 2021
Copyright Alison Tennent 2021, all rights reserved. Scottish by birth, upbringing and bloodline, Australian by citizenship. If you’re reading this anywhere but The Garrulous Glaswegian, Vocal+ or Medium, this work may have been plagiarized.