Our Auntie reckons we've got Black Irish in us. She's white, white skinned and blue-eyed, and then some wayback gene bestowed her with ebony hair- a whole helmet of fuzzy - kinked like a Papuan's heirloom, busting our Auntie right out of the O' Sullivan clique . She's often wondered about her origins. One of my sisters is the same. She has skin that peels and dies in the sun before it will tan, and hair of any South Pacific Indigene. The rest of us have ringlets at the pre-kink stage; mad, woolly, reddening curls and freckly, Australian skin that borders on the swarthy.
At fourteen, Stormboy is struggling with his curls. "But curls get the girls!" I've been trying this line for a while. I tried to explain the link between curls and testosterone, about genetics and how lucky he is. I conveniently forgot that at his age, I was curvy, curly and near on six foot and I desperately wanted to be everything else but. He has taken to hair wax and the straightening iron. He's got a kind of Bieber thing going on. Fruit of my loins, child!
Pearlie denied the Curl too, at fourteen. I think she owns a straightening iron for every year she's existed in her present human form. The anti-frizz, 'gliss' and smoothing muck spouting the sexy-straight-hair-jargon has been clogging our bathroom ever since 2006.
Some sociologists reckon that by the time kids reach their late teens, they return to the core beliefs they were raised with. I'm just hoping that my kids' curls will find their rightful crown.
That said, I've got a pharmacy of the stuff now, thanks to the said teens. Taming days are my weakness, especially when this frizzy old wild witch o' the west is about to be subjected to a job interview with Someone Important. I still fall for that. I'll spray or wipe the stuff into my hair in an attempt to look respectable. It usually turns the whole bird's nest into a dirty mess. Then I tie it into a bun. On my way to the job interview, folk will stop me in the street and ask if I can score some drugs for them.
Whole-egg mayonnaise, honey, olive oil, not letting a (straight) hairdresser near me and no brushing after washing are the tried and true formula for dealing with Black Irish hair. As I age, I'm getting to better understand my locks.
I walked into a hairdressers in my late teens and asked the man to cut my hair. He looked at me and started cursing in Italian. Then he produced a fine toothed comb and dragged it through my hair like I was some kind of heretic Lilith visitation. He was ripping my hair out by the roots and still cursing. By then I was getting cranky because it was really hurting me. The whole experience was quite unpleasant for both of us.
His apricot tree fruits every year out the back of his shop and they are so fucking yummy when he is away on holidays. I always remember that comb and laugh as my witchy hair snags on one of his branches.