I once heard that if you don’t wash your hair it becomes self-cleaning in about four-to-six weeks. It sounded pretty good to me. Maybe I should try it some time.
The perfect opportunity arose when my partner and I embarked on a year’s travel. Nobody would know me while my hair was at the manky stage. Perfect! We flew in to Malaysia and the experiment began. No more shampoo. Water only.
It wasn’t easy. Hell, no. I’m a daily hair-washer. I went through Itchy-Scalp Syndrome and
Lank-Hair Syndrome. Four weeks passed. We crossed the border into Thailand and my hair was in such a state it’s a miracle they let me in. Clearly my hair was going to take six weeks. I braced myself for Heinous Fly-Trap Syndrome and What’s-That-Smell Syndrome. Think of the end goal, I told myself, think of the end goal.
Then we met Jo, an Aussie hairdresser who thought it took a bit longer. A couple of months, maybe. Oh God. Two months? I hoped she was wrong. But after seven weeks I knew she was right, dammit. We parted ways, and I wondered if my hair had something to do with it. I mean, Jo’s a professional. I bet she wanted to hold me down and wash my hair by force.
Eight weeks, and we crossed into Vietnam. Thank God nobody knew me. And was it just me or was my partner more distant with me these days? We met up with Aussie Jo again and she couldn’t believe it – a) that my hair still wasn’t self-cleaning, and b) that I still hadn’t washed it. It’ll work soon, she assured me. Maybe it’s, like, three months instead of two?
I didn’t want to give up. Not when I was so close. So I tried to hide my hideous mop beneath my cap and re-set my goalposts to twelve weeks.
At the twelve-week mark we flew to Scotland. That’s when Scared-To-Be-Seen-In-Public Syndrome hit. We were staying with family, visiting friends. These people knew me and loved me and couldn’t hide their distaste. I felt like a freak.
At thirteen weeks I gave up. I washed my hair. It took three washes before my hair even felt like hair. It took a week before I felt normal. My experiment failed.
But what if it would’ve only taken another few days, another week? I came so very, very close. And I’ll never know because I gave up. I still can’t believe I put up with smelly, ugly, disgusting hair for thirteen weeks. Would you?
Non-writers must struggle to comprehend why writers keep trying for that pot of publication gold. It’s crazy, but it’s a bit like my hair experiment. I know the sensible thing would be to give up – but what if I’m really really close and I just don’t know it? What if I only have to get through one more week of manky hair? What if?