Short Story: Hair

ShortbreadAngela DyerShort Stories › Hair

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About this Short Story

Written by
Angela Dyer

Narrated by
Flora Montgomery


An exploration of the significance of hair, both personally and historically, with a twist in the tail.


  • 2057 Words
  • 17 Comments
  • 76% Community Rating
  • 3621 Views

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She'd always had a thing about hair, both her own and other people's. So of course, in a different way had her mother, which is probably where her obsession, as her mother disapprovingly called it, had stemmed from.

The mother's own obsession – more of an idée fixe, really – was that it was bad for hair to be washed more than once a fortnight. Quite what was the source of this myth, or the likely result, remained unchallenged and obscure; would it fall out, change colour, grow faster, more slowly? Anna never dared ask. She only knew that this piece of parental wisdom – in its true sense, an old wife's tale – dominated, directed and to an extent damaged her teenage years.

She was blessed, according to the mother, with 'oily' hair, which had 'a nice curl'. 'Greasy and frizzy,' she muttered through clenched teeth, pulling a comb harshly through it in a desperate and futile attempt to reduce the…

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David Wardrop said "This story was a joy to read in Short Breaks volume 1. Amazing how something as mundane as hair can be turned into a short story."
2 years ago
This comment has been removed; this user is no longer a member of Shortbread.
This comment has been removed; this user is no longer a member of Shortbread.
Angela Dyer Guest Editor replied saying "What an interesting comment! But I understand that if one is brave enough to go down the 'no washing' route there is an initial hump - or whiff? - until the body and the hormones settle down to the new regime. I have never managed to last that long (though I bathe and wash my hair much less often than all the young people I know), but you are very convincing. And maybe I'm not alone in wondering about your motivation for this after the death of your husband. A story there?"
3 years ago
Angela Dyer Guest Editor said "I'm bowled over by all these appreciative comments - in the throes as I am of a major house removal it's a great palliative, not to mention morale booster. Thank you, everyone - must go and wash my hair now . . ."
3 years ago
Patsy R Liles said "The craft at its best in her hands. She has taken a look at what makes us , male or female, well presented to fellow man, our topping. Her research was worth the final draft. Lovely, Angela. Thank you Patsy"
3 years ago
Diane Dickson Guest Editor said "Wonderful wrting and such a well constructed story with a heart string puller at the end. Well done - Diane"
3 years ago
Dora Bona Guest Editor said "A poignant story, rich in information, yet beautifully introspective."
3 years ago
Dorothy Spruzen replied saying "How that brought back memories! My mother averred that washing oily hair too often made it oilier. What nonsense! Of course, in those days of towel- and air-drying, one didn't want to wash it so often. And then the rollers - and do you remember pin curls and metal wave clips? I like how you obliquely described this woman's progression through life--dating girl, mother, grandmother, elderly cancer patient--through her hair. Very well done!"
3 years ago
Andrew Stafford said "Nice story."
3 years ago
Terry Collett said "Enjoyable story from beginning to end."
4 years ago
Sarah Hinkle said "Intriguing and quite introspective. I may have viewed it as such because of my own hair struggles and how hair really is evidence of the person within. It made me think of something I once read..... 'Life is an endless struggle full of frustrations and challenges, but eventually you find a hairstyle you like.' Kudos =-)"
4 years ago
This comment has been removed; this user is no longer a member of Shortbread.
Kate Smart Guest Editor said "interesting - The faces/National Gallery bit brought to mind the comment about George Osbourne - French aristocrat peering out of a carriage window - not sure who said it. Some people just belong in a powdered wig I guess. Interesting, poetic and informative. Thanks."
4 years ago
Angela Dyer Guest Editor said "Thanks, Susan and Robin - Your enthusiasm much appreciated for a story I struggled with! I've suddenly realised that writing stories for Shortbread is like women and mirrors - it's another way to get to know who you are. "
4 years ago
Robin Pilcher Director said "I agree with Susan - A great piece of writing, made especially poignant in its final words."
4 years ago
Susan Donim said "Wonderful! - My favourite of Angela's stories so far. A wonderfully written emotional monologue, which drifts from past to present. A story which examines the significance of hair. A very moving and even informative piece of writing, the ending stayed with me for some time. "
4 years ago

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