A love letter to my fringe (or bangs if you’re American)

We have been together on and off since my teens.

It started with an eyelash skimming side sweep that was de rigeur in 2002, frequently clipped to one side in moments of uncertainty about whether I could commit to you. I grew you out, but couldn’t help but come crawling back to you, especially after a few drinks clouded my judgement.

We finally made it official a few years later.

Inspired by a barrage of fringe-related posts on Tumblr featuring sad, thin girls looking pensive, usually with a septum piercing (this would follow a few years later), I took the kitchen scissors to you. The mostly even line from temple to temple two centimetres above my eyebrows forged the beginning of our new relationship.

There was a lot to learn in the early days.

Upgrading to real hairdressing scissors that had been untainted by other erroneous materials did wonders for your appearance. You became sharper, more refined, and made a real statement wherever we went. I was all over you at the start, fussing and trimming you regularly, putting in a world of effort.

Our memories span two decades.

Once at work drinks in a very local pub with velvet stools and tankards for the regulars, you were subject to some unsolicited attention from an older gentleman. I had noticed his eyes on you, and who could blame him; this was during a rockabilly inspired period when I used my straighteners to curve you into a dramatic roll finished with a liberal dusting of Elnett. You were unusual, exotic. Without warning, he launched his hand into you as I was mid-conversation with a colleague. Hysterically laughing with shock was the only reaction I could muster, but that might have also been due to the three glasses of red and no dinner.

When you sat short and sharp a few inches above my eyebrows, the male patrons of the nightclubs of Basingstoke were fascinated by you. Their drunken marvelling at the boldness of your geometry whilst tracing an index finger across my apathetic brow, set to a backing track of I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor, summed up many Saturday nights in the suburbs.

However, I’m no saint.

I’ve treated you terribly at times. The repeated home dying, satisfying my desire to remove any trace of your mousy brown past superseding any concern for your wellbeing, definitely put a strain on our relationship. You have faced daily washing, blow-drying and straightening for longer than most could bear, and yet you have remained incredibly forgiving. Your strength has really astounded me over the years. The hairspray era was rather rough on you though, and I’m glad I eventually saw the error of my ways and laid this practice to rest.

You have your foibles too.

You can become obnoxious in extremes of weather, and have tested my patience on numerous occasions. In the Summer you struggle with temperatures over 25 degrees, harbouring sweat and separating into strands by 6pm. Alternatively, the gale force winds that go hand in hand with living on the British coast really get under your skin. During the Elnett period, you would occasionally rise up defiantly in one piece like the door to a cat flap when confronted with a strong breeze. Now you lay down in defeat, flat and depressed, particularly in the face of your personal Kryptonite: wind and rain.

If it were up to others, we wouldn’t be together at all.

My face falls into the category of somewhere in between oblong and oval; potato-esque, alarmingly two dimensional with a lack of defining jaw or distinctive cheekbones. My face shape was revealed through a highly scientific practice carried out at just about every sleepover in the 1990s; drawing around the reflection of your face on a mirror with lipstick. Once the results were confirmed, we would refer to any one of the numerous articles from Just 17, Mizz or Shout magazine to dictate which hairstyle you should be wearing based on your face shape. Under no circumstances should someone with an ov-long face consider a block fringe, far too unflattering – how about a shoulder-length cut with face-framing layers to create the illusion of depth? But I didn’t want the nice guy of haircuts, I wanted you, a rebel, a scene stealer. It took a while for me to believe we could make it work, but since we hooked up, there’s been no looking back.

So what does our future hold?

We have reached a new place of maturity. Leaving behind the wild colours and hairline grazing length in favour of your newly natural chestnut colour, you sit around 1cm above my eyebrows. Speaking of which, Eyebrows are your new companions, which were somewhat AWOL for most of my twenties. My forehead and I are now quite the formidable team, and while I can’t promise, dear fringe, that you’ll never by dyed again, I do believe we’ll be together forever.

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