From Kate Bush to Deirdre Barlow – my hair-raising adventures

Family Fortunes: Mane memories of teenage years are of Vaseline, crimping and perming

Deirdre Barlow of Coronation Street played by the late Anne Kirkbride

Deirdre Barlow of Coronation Street played by the late Anne Kirkbride

 

When I was a teenager, my family took an all too keen interest in my rebellious hair-raising adventures.

There was that time in primary school when I resembled Lassie on a bad hair day. My father who regularly divested my little brothers of their kiss curls and Mr Darcy sideburns volunteered his services.

My fugitive fringe. Piece of cake, he thought. How wrong he was.

I should have registered the looming, upturned plastic bowl as a portent of impending catastrophe.

Suffice to say, the resulting look was more Alfalfa from The Little Rascals, than Sheena Easton.

Aghast, I tried to salvage the remnants of my fringe by slicking it back. Gel was not a go-to hair product in north Galway in the 1980s, so I opted for Vaseline.

Necessity is the mother of invention and, masking my follicly challenged state, was imperative.

Wuthering Heights, my favourite book of all time, was on my English curriculum for the Inter Cert. I was fascinated by the brooding, demonic Heathcliff.

Being a hormonal, love-starved teen, I thought his efforts to be with his dead soulmate, Catherine Earnshaw, were so romantic.

Kate Bush’s classic Wuthering Heights, which is written from Catherine’s point of view, was played on a loop on my cassette recorder.

The cat’s pyjamas

I tried to look mystical while squawking, “Out on the wiley, windy moors, we’d roll and fall in green” into my hairbrush in front of the mirror.

One evening after secondary school, I decided to take my Wuthering Heights adulation to another level. On a whim, I went into a hairdresser and asked her to crimp my hair like Kate Bush.

I thought I was the cat’s pyjamas, when I finally arrived home an hour after missing the school bus.

Unsurprisingly, my mother who was pacing the road like a caged lion, did not agree.

I’m not sure who the inspiration was behind my decision to get a perm. It was another whim, resulting in another missed school bus and another ear bashing from Mommy dearest.

My grandmother, an avid soap fan excitedly noted: “You’re the image of Deirdre Barlow”.

Not the look, or the reaction, I was after. However, it was not as hurtful as “Did you stick your finger in a socket”, from a pimply pea-brain in my class. There was only one solution – my first short hairstyle.

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