Friday, July 25, 2008

They Call Him Mullet-man

I last had my hair cut in October 2007 or thereabouts, by a charming Irish girl in Queenstown. Since then, my hair had grown somewhat and was neither manageable nor tidy. With a funeral to attend and a mother to face, it was time for surgery. Obviously, I have no regular hairdresser (they tend to retire or go out of business soon after I visit) so I thought I'd have one on the road. Besides, a Winton hairdresser has recently won national awards, so surely I'd find someone decent.

I did try at Winton as I went through, but would have had to wait at least three hours, so pressed on, right through to my destination, Otautau. There I found a hairdresser who would take me immediately. To jump ahead slightly, when I reached my uncle's house, I was told "I wonder what particular instructions you gave to get THAT haircut". Well, the answer is that I told the hairdresser that I have no idea, but that I like length in my hair but had reasons for looking sober and respectable, so could she work something out.

First, I had to get my hair washed, and I was quite enjoying the long and deep scalp massage I was being given. I was slightly discombobulated, however, to find that the girl doing it was actually my cousin. Then it was time to surrender to Bev, the voluble woman who was able to fill me in on the ins and outs of her entire life, together with those of half my family, and tell me about the funeral I'd be attending. I only attended to a fraction of what she was saying as just as she started to cut, she told me that she was going to give me the style that was just coming in: "they call it a mullet".

It has certainly aroused a lot of conversation: a classmate yelled out "mullet-man" as I went to class, everyone and their dog has pointed out I have a mullet; complete strangers have said as I go by "that man has a mullet'. Some have asked if I intend to get it bleached. A girl who has chosen to stop talking to me guffawed at that but would not face me. Apparently the good people of Southland have come up with their own variant, in which just the fringe is bleached. Kind people tell me that, yes, the mullet has never gone out of style in Southland, in more fashionable centres it is, in fact, coming into fashion. The same kind people have told me it suits me; more honest people have asked when I am going to remove the fish-tail of hair adorning my collar.

Life has certainly been interesting since my last post. In the six or so weeks, I have read just one book (Lullabies for Little Children) which is abnormal for me. Less abnormal, I've seen a number of movies. But my time has been taken up with more substantial adventures: a trip to Portland (Oregon) and subsequent road trip to Butte (Montana) and back; some heavy duty marking, writing on Jonathan Swift's Tale of A Tub and Alexander Pope's Dunciad and, some might say, most importantly, falling in love.