I’ve always had a fringe in some way, shape, or form.
Even in the earliest photos of me as a toddler, it was present – usually very wonky, and intense, from my mother’s attempts to cut it herself, using a large pair of household scissors that seemed to get used for everything.
Behind it I feel safe, protected, secure and at ease. Read into that what you will.
I get annoyed when I see beauty articles proclaiming that ‘Bangs are Back!’. Who has the time and energy to make a style that’s so intensive to maintain, that then takes a year to grow out, a fleeting trend? Like all fashion, personal style has to come from within, not from what some beauty editor has been told to sell. Either you’re a fringe person or you’re not. It’s as simple as that (also, don’t read those magazines, they rot the spirit and soul).
Sometimes I wear my fringe straight and blunt, curled under slightly, a few centimetres above my eyebrows, for when i want a retro, pin-up, look.
Sometimes it’s long, with a side parting, swept across my face, with a bit of a rebellious flick.
But most of the time it’s casually resting somewhere below my eyebrows, making me feel like a singer from a sixties folk group.
There’s always the period when I’ve let it grow longer, wearing it to the side, in which I enjoy seeing the structure and adult-sophistication of my fringe-free face. Occasionally, in the most fleeting of moments, I consider growing it out. But then it gets to a length where it needs full removal from my eyes and as soon as I do that, suddenly, I’m just not me anymore.
There was only one time when I didn’t have any kind of fringe. It was during a period in my mid- 20’s where I on a nasty crash-diet-rampage-of-self-hatred. As part of this ‘new-me’ transformation I decided that my fringe must also be shed, and so it got grown out. The rest of my hair was lightened to a ridiculously light blonde that required so much maintenance that half of my life, and income, were given to the salon. I also applied self-tanner and ran kilometres every day. It sucked.
I thought that if I became someone else, a specific person might love me more. But in the end it was all just too far from myself to be sustainable, and as soon as the weight started to return, so did the fringe. I look at those old photos and wince at who I was trying to be. I just want to give her a big hug and a burrito. The only thing that needed changing in my life was him. But I guess we have to go on these journeys to become who we are, and hopefully get it all out of the way by the time we leave our 20’s. Your true-self always finds a way back. And for this realisation, now, finally, I’m thankful.
So my fringe is here to stay – always has been and always will be – tightly entwined with my identity. We’re like sisters. Like a sister I’ve learnt to live with, and maintain, her on the good days as well as as the bad.
I’ve long given up on going to the hairdressers for a trim. No matter how many times I stress how I like it, and say the words BELOW THE EYEBROWS, it never turns out how want. That’s not the stylists fault, it’s mine – I’m just too set in my ways.
Instead, when I feel good and ready, I stare in my bathroom mirror, and with half a dozen, crisp and decisive snips of the scissors, I reinvent myself on my own terms. I emerge feeling reborn and invigorated. Like I’ve a new chapter ahead of me, and the immediate past has been shed along with those 4cm of trimmings. That anything is possible in this new look.
It’s a ritualistic nine week cycle – from a full retro Bettie Paige, into the bohemian Parisian chic of Francoise Hardy, to the smart talking, side-sweeping, Amy Winehouse.
My fringe lets me play a different character every few weeks – it lets me ask each morning ‘who do I want to be today?’. I blame the indecisive, flighty, Gemini in me for that.
My fringe – my oldest and closest companion – I adore you. Never let me banish you again.