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I’m going under the knife.

Well, okay it’s probably scissors.  Not that scissors are any less scary.

I made an appointment today to get my hair cut on Wednesday.  So yes, I am currently shaking in my boots, as you do.

Or, at least, as I do.

I am a hairdressing chicken.

A coiffure coward.

A feminine frills fraidy-cat.

Dress it up with any amount of annoying alliteration, the reality is that no matter what you call it, I am just plain afraid of the hair salon.

My grandma Verna (who, at age 88, is still much fancier than I will ever, ever be) regularly visits her hair stylist for pampering and a perm. She comes from an era–a lovely, vintage era, in my mind–where women didn’t do their own hair.  They had a weekly appointment at a salon and the rest of the time, they wrapped their heads in toilet paper between visits, to sleep.

My kingdom for a victory roll and some toilet paper!

Me and my hair have a long and sketchy history.  I’m still traumatized from childhood when I remember sleeping in curlers, a lot.

pink foam rollers from the 70s

photo credit:


Boy oh boy, did my mother like my hair curled all up for birthday parties, school pictures and the like.  There are lots of similar pictures of me as a child:  be-kerchiefed and ready to magically turn into Christine the curly-haired, overnight.

Me as a child with curly hair

To be fair, she did it to herself too.

Me and my mom, circa 1973

The problem was, my mom often ran out of the softer pink foam curlers by the end of her ministrations, so although my whole head was lumpy, it was my forehead that had to endure the evil, prickly, silvery-black curlers while I slept.

black, wire curlers

photo credit: Pinterest

Poke, poke, scratch, scratch.

Right then, I knew that suffering for beauty was not going to be my thing.

Oh, I know there are people who laugh at my fear.  In fact, there are people who actually look forward to going to an establishment with chairs that pump up and down and the sweet smell of chemicals in the air, just so they can get:

  • the lovely hair washing in the tilt-your-head-back sink thingy
  • the lovely hand massage while you’re in the tilt-your-head-back sink thingy
  • the lovely shiatsu head massage while you’re in the tilt-your-head-back sink thingy
  • the lovely aromatherapy while you’re in the tilt-your-head-back sink thingy
  • the would-you-like-a-lovely-magazine-with-pictures-of-hunky-hollywood-types-in-it while you’re in the tilt-your-head-back thingy

and so on and so forth.

I am totally deprived at the hair salon due to my inability to bond with the tilt-your-head-back sink thingy.  It gave me horrific vertigo a few years ago and I’ve been advised to avoid the lovely tilt-your-head-back sink thingy ever since.

To my dismay, I now have to skip the whole sink thingy extravaganza and head straight for the CHAIR OF DOOM.

hairdresser chair

photo credit:

And, I don’t even get a discount.

When I was growing up, I had to remove my glasses for a hair cut so the entire procedure would be a complete mystery until, ta-da! I was revealed looking like Einstein had stuck his finger in an electric socket or Paul McCartney had put a bowl on his head and cut around it.

Or worse:  my mother.

(No one really wants to look like one’s mother, no matter how beautiful she is.)

Nowadays, I wear contact lenses so, at least I can see what’s happening, while it’s happening.

Oh, the terror!

As soon as my posterior hits the pleather, my barely-disguised inner wallflower/social misfit rears its ugly head (a head which somehow seems to be wearing thick glasses, braces and a face full of acne).  Before I can recover my straightened teeth and contact lenses zen, one of the popular crowd (aka the hair stylist) approaches and I immediately become tongue-tied or prone to using multi-syllabic words that reveal me as “a brain” and a member of the super un-cool.

It’s like grade 6 through high school (and some present-day interactions with my student staff) all over again.

I’m afraid to ask for what I want from the obvious icon of fashion and plentiful high school dates who hovers near me with the scissors and I can’t adequately convey my ineptitude with styling products and all the flattening/straightening/curling/burning appliances.  My refusal to dye my hair only further marks me as one who “lets herself go” or is a middle-aged, makeover-in-waiting.  And, although I often toy with the idea of adding an electric blue streak to my locks, within seconds of landing in the CHAIR OF DOOM, I find myself cowering under my synthetic smock.   I bleat out one pitiful request and count down the minutes until I can pay an exorbitant sum for a trim (and no pampering from the tilt-your-head-back sink thingy), not to mention a tip, as if I can buy my way into the cool people crowd.

Even when I finally work up the nerve to peer at myself in the rear-view mirror in the car, I am not comforted.  If the haircut is lovely, I know there’s no toilet paper bedtime regime to preserve it.  If it’s horrible, I wouldn’t know where to start to make even pink curlers and pokey black curlers transform me overnight.

But then, I remember something that soothes all my wayward cowlicks.

The one pitiful request I had managed to bleat out while in the CHAIR OF DOOM was:

“please make it a style that works with hats”.

So, bring it on Wednesday, I’m ready.

me in a black hat

Me, captured on a particularly good hair/hat day.


Copyright Christine Fader, 2014.  Did you enjoy this post from A Vintage Life?    Share on Facebook       Tweet         You might also like my book.




I always think of home veggie gardening as a vintage activity.

Maybe it’s because I am known to wear a giant-brimmed hat and women always used to wear hats, back in the day.

me in my red cowboy hat (1973).

Me, in my red cowboy hat (1973).
The string is presumably so I don’t fling the hat off with my exuberant tra-la-la.

Or, maybe gardening feels vintage because of the rubber boots.  They make me invincible to The Nature from the knees down.  And, you can jump in puddles with impulsive tra-la-la.

My rubber boots

Black (for the real country jobs); red (for mild gardening); checkered (for always); flowered (my ‘zippidy-doo-dah ones’ for special occasions or when Practical Man is out of town)

Maybe it feels vintage because gardening is all about growing your own food and eating local.   That whole recent trend?  Vintage, actually!

Or, perhaps veggie gardening feels vintage because Apple hasn’t yet invented some kind of iMiracle to help with

  • the weeding,
  • the more weeding,
  • the even more weeding (even though you thought you got them all yesterday)
  • the never-ending weeding.

I would sleep outside the Apple store if they came out with an iWeeder.  Instead, I feel that I am channeling my ancestors as we behold the resilience and fortitude that are weeds.

Very vintage.

But now, boys and girls, it is officially scape season.  There’s just no escaping it.  The scapes, I mean.

Hee hee.

A scape is the edible curly-cue that grows out of the centre of hard-necked garlic varieties.  They’re like a cowlick in an otherwise beautiful garlic coiffure (I feel a kinship).  In our part of the world, we harvest garlic scapes in June, a month or two before the actual garlic bulbs in the ground are ready.  Scapes are very mild and taste like garlicky asparagus.

garlic scapes

Some of our beautiful scapes. Also (ahem), some weeds.

Confession:  When I was 16 and billeted for a week into a German family in West Berlin, they served gigantic, tree-trunk spears of white asparagus for dinner (with pickled eel).   I ate it because I was a polite Canadian girl (and I didn’t yet know how to say “Oh, I’m terribly sorry, I’m allergic to this whole dinner” in German so I was linguistically prevented from telling a colossal, cross-cultural fib).  After that dinner, I never thought I would say that I loved something that tasted like asparagus.

If you hate asparagus, you must try it tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper, then grilled.  Parmesan shaved over the top once they’re cooked to nutty, caramelized perfection (about 10 minutes) only makes it even more irresistible.  Soooo Yum!  Use the same recipe for the scapes (or saute on the stovetop with some white wine, hot pepper flakes and the rest of the above).  As for the pickled eel, well, you’ll have to make decisions for yourself.  I prefer my eels…ugh…no I’m afraid, I don’t prefer eels.

But, garlic scapes are great.  That is, of course, unless you’re one of those modern-day-abundant, immortal creatures who roams the night and is in love with some girl called Bella.  Then, forget about the grilling and you might also want to avoid our property even if it’s safely after dark in the light of a beautiful moonscape (I’m on kind of a scape roll) and you look all sparkly.

We are not vampire people.  We are not sparkly, but rather, possibly smelly, because we loooove the garlic.  We watch and wait until suddenly, almost overnight, it happens:  scapes!  Right now, our garden landscape (sorry, I’ll try to stop soon) is resplendent with the curly little gems.

Practical Man planted three kinds of hard-necked garlic last fall:

  • Music (isn’t that a lovely name for a garlic?)
  • German Red (makes me think of Snoopy as the Red Baron.  Also, slightly of eel.)
  • Georgia Fire (loved the name and spicy connotations).

Garlic grows really well in our terrible soil.  It’s as if we have a glittering city of skyscapers in our garden (okay, that one  was reaching).  This year, we are eagerly awaiting the arrival of 80 bulbs.  Looking at the patch, over the garden fence, it’s a veritable seascape (I can’t help myself) of garlic, as far as the eye can see.

So, gardening:  yes, it’s vintage.  Sure, it’s weedy.  There can be great hats and boots.  And, somewhere in all the weeding, you get goodies, fresh from the earth.

Or, at least garlic, which, in our house, is a major food group.  If you haven’t had scapes, look for them at your local farm stands, farm gates and markets.

And, I’m sorry for all the bad puns.

I’m looking around for a scapegoat, but I can’t find one.


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For those of you not familiar with Cockney Rhyming Slang, a “titfer” is a hat — as in “titfer tat” — which rhymes with “hat”. 

I know…bizarre stream of consciousness thing those Cockneys have going on.

Anyway, with all the compliments I’ve received about my hat and well, the warm (it’s a winter hat) and fuzzy (it’s vintage-inspired after all) feelings I get when I put it on, I wanted to give a shout out to the source for my luscious lid (pictured here and on my personal facebook page).

With its vintage-inspired cloche shape and OTT red crocheted flower on the side, I fell in love with it when I saw it.  I found it on – one of my favourite websites.  It’s a site for artists and craftspeople to sell their incredible, unique, definitely-not-found-in-a-big-box-store, wares.  This hat is designed and made by the femme of spiritsrising

If you visit etsy, you might find some treasures and then, you can gleefully shout something like, “check out my fab new whistle!” (translated from  Cockney Rhyming Slang as: “whistle-and-flute” or to us non-Eastender types:  “suit”.

So…anyway.  Check it out some time.  Support a creative type and the world will thank you because without them we wouldn’t have art shows in forests or 3-D chalk drawings on sidewalks or poutine (I mean, who else but a creative time would have thought that one up??) 

And you’ll have something very fun and possibly retro in nature to swoon over.  Ta dah!

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Flower Hat