Where’s your favorite place to write? Or in theory, where would it be? Mine would be in the little cafe next to my dorm/flat in London off of Petticoat Lane called The Tinderbox. It was this cute little two-story cafe that kind of resembled a giant game of Jenga. There were all sorts of cozy little nooks and crannies and they served the best pastel de natas and black tea. Sadly it doesn’t exist anymore. Also let me just say this was before the time of “Tinder.” So fuck off.
But yeah I’m not there. I’m in Louisville. In a garage that’s been converted into a coffee shop. They left the garage doors and they’re rolled up because it’s so nice outside. The Smiths are playing. I’m at a table towards the back, facing the doors so I can see outside. I’m eating a savory sundried tomato scone and drinking a cold brew with cream. It’s not bad. Could be better, but not really too bad.
So it turns out I failed miserably at the whole “I’m going to write everyday thing.” But HELLO. Have you ever tried to do something that takes any sort of energy while you have CRIPPLING DEPRESSION? Right? This shit is hard. But this is what I ordered: 2 Months of Doing Nothing and Refusing to Make Myself Live Up to Any Sort of Expectations. Which I guess “Writing Everyday” falls under. So. There goes that. It’s been over a month since I’ve written anything other than a grocery list, and I’ve felt more guilty as each day that I’ve missed goes by. Which sucks, but that’s my reality right now.
And also I’m scarfing down this scone and they didn’t give me a napkin and I have looked all over this damn shop and can’t find one anywhere, so Quills on St. Matthews Ave PLEASE get some napkins because my yoga pants are now covered in scone crumbs.
So right. Some days I don’t make it out of my pajamas. Some days I don’t even brush my teeth. I cry at nearly every tv show/movie/commercial I watch, and I have even contemplated joining to B CLUB.
“WHAT’s THE B CLUB?!” You ask?
Well. What do Michelle Obama, Audrey Hepburn, Jessica Day, Taylor Swift, and Anna Wintour have in common?
That’s right. You guessed it.
***Disclaimer: I DO NOT DISLIKE BANGS IN GENERAL. I JUST REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY HATE THEM ON ME. THEY DRIVE ME BATSHIT CRAZY AND MAKE MY FACE LOOK LIKE A PUMPKIN***
Now, there have been several times in my life that I’ve gone over to the dark side. You could say we have a bit of a toxic relationship. Very on/off, if you will.
For several years of my youth (aged 12-17 to be exact), I was a proud participant of the Mid Aughts Side Bang Society, a few times in there going full fringe. The first time happened in 8th grade. I will deny it to this day, but apparently, there are photos. Whatever.
The second time I decided to foray over to FF was when Demi Lovato was climbing to popularity on the Disney charts. Think Camp Rock/Sonny with a Chance. Demi was edgy, fun, cute, and girl could SANG. And she wore these really funky vintage rock band tees so like, she was IT in my book. And Demi had bangs. Therefore, I needed bangs. So. At age 16, while on Christmas break in Naples, Florida, I made my mother and grandmother take me into see Grammy’s stylist (Seventeen’s Annual Prom magazine in hand, with none other than Queen Demi on the cover), and asked for a chunky bang. And ~honestly~, I think this was a good look for me. And I can say this is probably the ONLY time the Full Fringe was a good look for me.
[I hope that every time you read something in “~~” in my blog, you automatically read in a Kardashian’s voice. But like, dripping in irony. Because that’s how it’s always meant.]
SIDE NOTE : just fell down a very deep rabbit hole on Facebook trying to pull photos all of my Fringe Looks but then my laptop almost crashed / I also got really depressed because I was looking at photos from when I lived in London AKA when I peaked. Honestly. I had the best fucking eyebrows. And I thought I was SO fat but I just wasn’t at all. Don’t you wish you could go back to the first time you thought you were fat and slap yourself? CHRIST. Okay end Side Note/rant.
So 16 goes on, and my full fringe grew into my beloved side bang again pretty quickly. That summer, I decided to do two things that I regret to this day. First I cut all my hair into a bob. Not a trendy Lob. Lobs weren’t a thing back then. I bobbed my fucking hair. Why Ailsa, Why? And THEN. What do I do at the end of the summer, just before my senior year of high school was to begin? I. GOT. BANGS.
I’m obviously still not ready to talk about this because really it was just a dark time. I was so over high school and everyone I had to deal with every day and to top it all off my hair was sabotaging me on the daily. It was not a good look. (Emotionally or physically.)
After that you’d think that I’d be off the bangs for a long ass time, right?
CMON DO YOU KNOW ME OR NOT.
1 year later…..
Enter College Ailsa. College Ailsa had just moved to New York City and thought she was Hot. Shit. Which, I mean, I kind of was. JK JK I’m an asshole. But anyway, I come into college with a little longer than shoulder length auburn hair and a sensible layered side part. I had finally escaped the bangs. I looked good. I felt good. I was unstoppable. And drinking a lot of bacardi razz. Still unclear on that.
Until, out of nowhere, Fringe Fever struck. Now let me take a moment to tell you when I decide that I need bangs, I must. Have. Bangs. Immediately. If not then in that moment, then the next day. No buts about it. I don’t know if you got that from the Demi Lovato moment, but I should add that I got the bangs literally the day after that damn Prom Magazine came out. I saw them and was like THIS IS REAL THIS IS ME I MUST HAVE THEM NOW.
So OK, there we are, second week of school in. I remember the date because the next day was Alexa (yes, my current roommate, whom I am lucky enough to have been friends with since we were little baby Freshmen in college)’s birthday, and there’s a god awful photo of me on the Staten Island Ferry with —- well, with what’s to come.
Fringe Fever strikes on a Wednesday night at like 11PM or some shit, and I’m like GUYS WHO CAN CUT HAIR. I knew better than to do it myself, but that common sense apparently didn’t seep over into any other areas — like asking the first gay man I saw to cut my hair. Because all gay men know how to do hair right???
Hold on — must note that this was actually Side Bang Fever. Not a full straight across bang.
Yes. I now know that this is horribly ignorant. But here’s the thing. I had grown up in Louisville, Ky. I had one, maybe two gay friends. And they weren’t actually out at the time. I was an ignorant, kind of flat out rude child, and just assumed that because they were of one sexual orientation, they obviously knew how to do this. My friend Mitchell would be rolling his eyes so hard at me right now.
But anyways, Naive Ailsa asks a few of her new friends if they would cut her hair. Tom laughed. Justin said no way. Erik was like, “I mean I can, but are you gonna hate me if I ruin it??”
And then there was Dan.
Dan had styled all of the girls’ hair for the callbacks for the Musical earlier that week. DAN WOULD BE ABLE TO CUT MY HAIR.
So I go downstairs to Dan’s dorm room and knock on his door. Oh my God so 17-year-old Dan looks like a little puppy. He’s so adorable. And so hopeful. And just wants to make friends. So he agrees! He’s a little nervous but he’s like yes, of course, I style hair all the time how hard can this be?!?!?
Alright so we go back up the 12th floor of the dorm, where I live, and bring one my desk chair into the bathroom. Oh god, I am laughing as I type this. So alright I pull up some pictures on my laptop because this is before we all had iphones, and we decide on some picture of some celebrity with a cute side bang, and get the scissors out.
And all appears to be going well. Until I hear Dan make a little “oh shit” sounding noise. And I’m like what. What did you do. And I stand up and look in the mirror, and obviously, I scream. Because what else do you do? Dan had cut my bangs all right. He had cut them straight across my forehead, and over into the right side of my head. I had not only had a full fringe (which I had specifically told him I was avoiding), but about an inch or so of bang that extended into the rest of my hair. Obviously, everyone on my floor comes running, including the aforementioned gays Tom, Justin, and Erik, who lived on the other side of the floor, and promptly started to laugh at me. I’m sobbing at this point. Dan is sobbing. I realize that this whole thing really isn’t his fault, though I will for years to come always taunt him with “Hey Dan remember that time you cut my bangs?” and tell him that it’s okay. And then I do what any self-respecting 18-year-old on her own for the first time having a crisis would do: I called my mom. Duh.
To the day she died, this was one of her favorite stories. So she said it was like 11:45PM on a week night and she gets a call from a hysterical me, and immediately panics. I mean it’s her first child off to college calling late one night sobbing. Of course she panics. And she’s trying to get out of me what’s happened. And finally she says that, between sobs, I go, “DAN *sob* CUT *sniff* MY BANGS,” and then I think she either promptly hung up or told me to chill the fuck out. I don’t know, I had blacked out at this point. The whole thing was very obviously traumatic.
So that took literally a year to grow back. I got my hair done over Thanksgiving break that year by my normal hairdresser back in KY and when I got there she picked up the chunk on the side and just goes, “Ailsa what the hell did you do.”
Sophomore year I was super into the fact that if I dyed my hair black and parted it in the middle I kind of looked like a Kardashian, so that kept me away from the scissors for a while. Yeah. It was a weird year. Smoked a lot of weed and did a lot of adderall. Problematic, but yolo.
This now puts us in the summer of 2012. I was living in suburban Pennsylvania just north of Philadelphia doing theater with a bunch of pals from school for the summer. All my roles didn’t really allow for a big hair change, so by the time I got home for a brief break before returning to school for my junior year, I was chomping at the bit to change it up. I brought back a traditional side bang for the fall which was whatever at first, then started to get super annoying when I couldn’t put it up in a ponytail during my dance classes. It grew out pretty quickly. So quickly, that one night in January of 2013, after several glasses of pinot grigio in my London flat, I decided that it was the perfect time to attempt cutting my own hair.
We’ll just leave that one there. And like, also Bianca, (my roommate at the time) I totally blame you for allowing me to do this. Even though it really wasn’t that bad. Love you.
Right before senior year, I decided it’d be a good idea to dye my hair black again and get a full fringe. Not cute. We’re also not going to get too into that. Honestly, the black was worse than the bangs, but the combination of the two was just very unfortunate.
So that was that. I turned 22 without feeling the need to make the chop. I was finally growing up. I had made it. I dyed my hair blonde, then lavender, then eventually back to brunette when the lavender started turning some really funky colors.
22 had come and gone, and 23 was going well. I was embracing the long brunette lifestyle. My hair was its natural color for probably the first time since I was about 12 years old, and I was loving the long, beachy strands in the front. But little did I know that a perfect storm was coming. Something was brewing on the horizon. Something that I could never see coming….Something that started with my first trip to the med spa.
Now, I’m going to tell you something and you’re going to think I am insane. But the joke is on you, because if you’ve read any of my shit you should already KNOW that I am insane.
I have been getting botox since I was 23. Just in my forehead. And yes, I do need it, and no it doesn’t prevent my migraines, as much as I would like it to. But the first time I had it done, wellllllllllllll the technician went a bit overboard. As in, the entire top half of my face was frozen. In hindsight, It was actually pretty funny. Though of course at the time I did not find it amusing. All I wanted was for the fine lines that were setting in up there to go away! I did not ask to become a Real Housewife of Orange County!
While this is all happening, we were also set to move out of our hell hole of an apartment in Bushwick, BK. Problem was, we could not for the life of us find a new one that we all liked/agreed on. Truly we had seen like 30. And the two times we did find one and put in an application, something fell through. We were set to be homeless in a little over a week and I can assure you that it was utter fucking CHAOS. The three of us were barely on speaking terms. I mean, we were all under a significant amount of pressure, and to top it off, my face was FUCKING FROZEN.
Well, I had had enough. I was panicking. I didn’t know what to do. I left work a bit early one night and started walking to meet Alexa somewhere to see an apartment, when I passed my salon and saw my hairdresser standing up by the front desk talking to someone, obviously not busy. And in that moment, it was obvious.
I ran in and screamed, “TARA! HELP! I NEED BANGS NOW!” And she’s like, “Hey girl good to see you too!” And sits me down in the chair and brings me a glass of whiskey and like any decent hairdresser, says, “Alright what’s up?” And I go into it. The apartment hunt and how horrible it was going and how we were going to be homeless in 8 days if we didn’t find a place, and on top of all of that my fucking forehead was frozen and there was just really no other option than to hide behind a curtain of my own hair and not deal with anything.
I quickly pulled up the photo that Selena Gomez had Instagrammed that morning of her with feathery, lightweight, bangs that went down to about her eyelash line (OK so it probably was also partially Selena Fucking Gomez’s fault that I thought this was a good idea) and shoved it in her face and said, “Give me this.”
Damn it Ailsa. God bless Tara, I really don’t blame her. But when she took my hair and the scissors and marked out where she was going to cut and asked if that looked I good, I didn’t even look up from my whiskey and was just like YEAH SURE.
Cue thick, straight across bangs that hit just above my eyebrow. Well, at least you could no longer tell that I had injected a neurotoxic protein into my face. And it was that time, that 9th and hopefully final time, that I officially admitted defeat to the bangs.
And I am proud to say that I have been Fringe Free since Spring 2017. So maybe I beat the bangs. Up for debate!
So the moral of the story is that I think I’m officially on the other side. Of the big depression and the bangs. And I would just like to take a moment to thank all of you who responded to that tweet a few weeks ago when I mentioned thinking about another fringe chapter. For real, way to keep a girl strong. I think we’re all good here. As long as Lily James doesn’t do something wildly irrational. Like. You know. Get bangs.
Also, I FOUND PICS OF TINDERBOX. Here you go:
“Bangs and smoke were more often the marks of ineptitude than expertise.”
-J.K. Rowling unknowingly talking about me cutting my hair to cover my bad botox job