On a recent weekend in Melbourne, a mate -“ a young, cool dyke with typically young, cool, dyke hair -“ asked me to write a column about the lesbian obsession with all things hairy. I scoffed. Surely there were more important things in the greater dyke world to think about, like playing soccer and getting smashed. Or not getting recognised enough by dick-obsessed gay men.
But that night, staring through the smoke and beer mist of a big night at the Glasshouse Hotel, I thought she was on to something. Except for me (my hair travels through six-months-between-cut cycles -“ from short and great through medium and boring to long and ridiculous), every woman in the bar had spent some serious time sculpting, shaving, dying, wrestling with or just generally obsessing over her hair.
So, to steal a quote from my well-coiffed friend, what is it with lesbians and their hair anyway? From the fabulously authentic mullets that came to town during last year’s dyke hair Olympics, the Gay Games, to the almost weekly style changes that take place in the Star’s advertising department, dykes generally have pretty hardcore hair.
This statement does not include women with long hair. It does, however, include the high percentage of women who choose standard dyke haircuts numbers one through five. I’m not sure if this is scientifically proven, but SDH number ones seem to be favoured at the Bumpher Bar, while the Lord Roberts sees more SDH fives. But whether we choose an SDH or ODH (Other, or Original Dyke Haircut), we can all stand united by our addictions to full-on product use.
Well, not all of us. The Gay Games is really pissing me off, a buddy from New York told me, walking along Oxford St last year. I mean, why don’t these women use some product?
I’m happy to admit to being a hair product whore -“ if it’s glueish and in a small plastic bucket, I will put it on and hope for the best. Finding the right product is a less simple task for others, who put their choice of stuff up on a pedestal and refuse anything else. Recently, my girlfriend’s hairdresser ran out of her chosen brand of product, a typically nice smelling blue substance that is -“ in price terms -“ the cocaine of the hair product world.
What followed was a long march around Darlinghurst, a lot of dismissals of inferior brands, and ultimately, an unsatisfying purchase. It’s just not the same, she said, at the fourth, eighth and 20th stop. It just doesn’t work.
In the end, she was brave. As we all must be. Even those girls with hairdressers for girlfriends sometimes run out of product or wake up looking like they’ve been in a pencil sharpener on an angle. Like my hair does, as I write this.
But I’m prepared for the worst. If my hair never recovers, if it looks like this forever, I’m going to apply for a government grant and turn my hair into a one-woman festival circuit show.