When I look at this photo, taken in 1979, when I was aged 7, it isn’t the big ears and gappy mouth that catch my eye. Well, they do stand out a bit but it’s the wonky fringe which looks like it’s been chewed by mice that my eyes are drawn to.
Dear Mum; we didn’t have a lot of money when I was growing up and so she had to trim my fringe herself. When we look back through the photos and reminisce, she assures me she started off well.
“One side always ended up shorter than the other so I tried to even things up,” she says.
When I point out that her idea of evening things up is a little different from mine, we both burst out laughing. Sometimes my fringe would end up so high up on my forehead it didn’t need cutting for months.
Occasionally, and I mean occasionally, my mother would get it more or less right, but this then earned me the nick-name of Bully Beef. At this time, all the children were reading ‘The Dandy’ or The Beano’. In ‘The Dandy’ there was a character called Bully Beef. He had a fringe, which looked like his mother had stuck a bowl on his head and then trimmed round it. As Bully Beef wasn’t a particularly nice character and as I had long hair, I thought the comparison was rather unfair. Added to that was the fact that Bully Beef’s fringe covered his eyes and thanks to my mother’s ‘skills’ with the scissors, mine never would. But that was school and so the nick-name stuck.
When I was in my teens I tried growing my fringe out, but being impatient (aren’t all teens?), I soon gave up. As a treat my mother took me to a hair salon, where they advised to keep a fringe. “Her forehead’s too big not to have a fringe. It’d look awful,” as if I wasn’t there. The hairdresser’s words were devastating to a teenager.
Though, I wasn’t alone in the hairdresser’s attack. “Mmm,” he said looking intently at my fringe, “it looks as if someone has attacked her fringe with a knife and fork.”
My mother had the grace to blush and mumbled something along the lines of, “Oh, does it?”
Still, it made her think that perhaps it wasn’t such a good idea for her to cut my fringe anymore and so I became a regular at the hairdresser’s.
When I had my own daughter, I must admit I subjected her to the sins of the fringe for the first few years of her life, but as she grew older, she decided to grow her fringe out. I’m sure seeing the photos of me as a child (including this one) had nothing to do with it!