It is sadly true that, although of almost pure Welsh descent, I have London skin and hair - it looks best with a layer of pollution. Since we moved to the coast just under a decade ago, my hair has resolutely determined to look like the stuffing from a horsehair sofa, barring copious amounts of gloop which will settle it for half a day at best.
Add to this that my silver hairs (not grey, I bypassed grey and went straight to the colour of angels wings) start out as curly as pubes. The fringe, which, for fifteen years was my one patch of silver, is now sleek and glossy. Everywhere else, however, my dry but wavy hair is bolstered into bizarre shapes by an erratic, underlying corset of pube-like coilsprings. Some arrange themselves on the top and I look like one of those Barbie dolls that got lost at the bottom of the toy box. Dry and whispy bits are not supposed to stick out at funny angles even when you've just combed them, but tough luck on me.
So I am growing it. I refuse to resort to old lady bouffant a la Thatcher, and anyway, long hair usually weighs itself into submission, which is just what I am hoping for.
Lewis often tells me I embarrass him. Thats his prerogative, just as its mine to do the best 'embarrassing mother' routine that I can possibly muster. Today, however, he reached new heights in this war of wide eyed sarcasm.
We were discussing having his friend Haydn back round to play one more time before school restarts. (In England, Autumn term doesnt begin until the first week of September; probably because we don't do Thanksgiving.) It went on, as follows:
Lewis: Well, okay, he can come round here, but, just don't be so friendly, you scare him.
Me: Lewis, be serious, did Haydn say I scare him? How?
Lewis: Well no, you just creeped him out a bit.
Lewis: He just thought you smiled too much and kept offering him things and talking to us and werent being like a proper mum.
Me: Oh, oh well okay, I'll leave you two more to it, next time. That ok?
Lewis: Well, its okay, its just that hair, and when you look all bushy and you keep smiling, it IS a bit creepy.
Me: Go on..................
Lewis: Yes and the way you're so friendly to everybody and keep saying hello to people and you look a bit mad with that hair and then you smile and say 'Hello Stranger!' ALL THE TIME, and you're just really embarrassing and why cant you be like normal mums and not smile and not talk first?
I tidied my hair, pumped it full of conditioner, got it almost glossy and tucked it behind one ear, but no. I am, he says, too old for young woman hairdos. He looked horrified.
Poor Lewis, it seems a'proper mum' to him is one who doesn't know all the kids in his class, can't talk at their level and wouldnt want to, wears tidy, boring hair, and never smiles. He's got six more years at the very minimum under my roof, I hope he has a longsuffering nature!
(And no, I am not going to tell him the 'mad woman hair' comment got to me, but I am wondering how I would look bald, with maybe a few scalp tattoos.)