Saturday, 19 November 2011

Mine's a Cesspool

I admit it - I do have 'flat hair'. Or, as a nice hairdresser of Armenian origin once - kindly? truthfully? ruthlessly? - described it, 'English hair.' 'Really, it's nothing to worry about', he went on to explain, (before diverting hastily to the more neutral topic of  international jet travel and its many associated discomforts).

And I don't worry about it. I just envy people like my mother who have very thick hair. And, all right, maybe I do worry about it a bit when, sighing, she smooths mine with her hand, (as if it needed further smoothing), and says, "Oh darling, I'm so sorry - I'm afraid you got your father's hair." Now hold it right there, mother - my father was inches away from being completely bald for most of the time I can remember him, and things aren't quite that bad for me, just yet, thanks very much.

Peculiarly though, despite the fact that I've never mentioned anything on the Web about an absence of springy ringlets, somehow the Internet already knows that I lack massive hair. But then the Internet, it appears, knows everything. In fact sometimes I think that if we'd only had the Internet in the Cold War, none of us would have had to endure two and a half hours in a cinema in Bristol on a wet Friday night trying to work out what the hell was going on in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

For presumably it was quietly gathered intelligence that led the young Google chap - or possibly his partner in crime, the wicked Baron Facebook - to figure out, without even meeting me, that my hair is fine and lacking in body. Because, you see, it - or they - must have figured this out.  Why else would they have decided to suggest so kindly an exciting new product that is guaranteed to rid me of my lack of hirsute bulk?

But, fie, Sir Facebook, your wicked ways are not as finely honed as you had hoped, sirrah. You forgot that intelligence, as Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy so amply demonstrated, has limitations and infinite flaws. Curiously, what your fiendish agents appear to have overlooked is the childishness which is a central aspect of my character. Had they only recognised that glaringly obvious fact about me - which, after all, is something I've never made a secret of - they'd have saved you time and effort, Baron. They'd  have realised that a product called Bumpits was never going to cut it with me, that the mere hint of the word 'bum', particularly in combination with the word 'pits', (speaking of which, did you hear the one about the man who went into a Swedish chemist, wanting deodorant - oh, stop, it, ZMKC, you know you've never been any good at telling jokes), was never going to do anything except make me laugh.

Of course, it's probably just the result of having been born in the sink of iniquity, but when I read on the company's website the phrase 'Hollywood Bumpits', I'm afraid that, instead of 'haircare', 'knickers' is the word that springs to my mind. And once knickers have sprung to my mind, all is lost when it comes to harnessing even an instant of my serious attention. I am - and I recognise that this is further evidence of my acutely infantile nature, evidence that will provide legions of Internet drones all the trigger they need to decide it is time to unleash upon me a tidal wave, (and, no, I'm not going to use the word tsunami instead, when there's a perfectly good English phrase at hand, thanks all the same), of offers for playpens et cetera - reduced to a limp state of hilarity by the word. And the warning on the Bumpits website that 'Bumpits are not edible', does nothing to improve matters. It does not help me pull myself together. It does not reintroduce solemnity into my heart. (Nor does this - although maybe it provides an insight into the linguistic origins of the problem: possibly bum is not a word that resonates in the US mind.)

So, until something else comes along, I suppose I'll be sticking with my flat, fine, wispy English hair. Perhaps indeed I should take pride in it, maybe daub it with red and white dye and hang it out a window, a hairy cross of St George, fluttering, defiant, in the middle of Australia's capital. Or perhaps I should just tie it back, as I usually do, and go and have a swim.


  1. "Bum" in the sense you mean does not resonate here, no. Many of us know the English sense, but it's something learned from books or TV, and doesn't tickle the snicker reflex.

  2. Your loss, I think, in my puerile way, George.