I totally understand its genesis. I was very young and impressionable, and the world of the late ‘70s was obsessed with screen superheroes – Wonder Woman was on my TV, Flash Gordon was on my VHS and Superman was on at the cinema (and my bedroom wallpaper). WoWo could rock a patriotic leotard, kick ass like a boss, and had an incredible TV theme tune:
“…in your satin tights,
Fighting for your rights
And the old Red, White and Blue…”
And her hair. My lord, it was thick and bouncy, and as dark as the souls of the villains she crushed. And it was even better in the comics – ebony in hue, and so shiny that it reflected electric blue. How cool was THAT? Check out below her modern-day doll from DC Super Hero Girls – she even has blue flashes in her lengths! Now that’s attention to detail, my friends.
That young me made herself a promise: as soon as I was free of small town Lincolnshire, I would embrace the super dark side and be the strong, empowered woman that could fly invisible jets if she damn-well wanted to. Oh yes, that would be ME.
SIGH. That would never be me.
Aged 19, I bought a box of Nice n’ Easy permanent colour in black, and set up shop in the bathroom of my student flat in York. That was mistake no.1 – I did not seek professional help to turn my dishwater blonde hair into raven locks, and I didn’t even entertain the thought of purchasing a semi-permanent. Oh, the folly of youth. The result was patchy and uneven, and somehow I’d managed to dribble a bit of the mixture down my cheek, catching the baby hairs underneath. I rocked a single, Las Vegas Elvis-style sideburn until I managed to bleach it away with Jolen a week later.
Mistake no.2 – that at no point did I consider if this darkest midnight shade would suit a girl wearing 001 Rimmel foundation and generously splattered in freckles. Dear reader, it did not.
Over the years, I have dabbled with darker shades when in the salon chair – my other serious hair crushes have remained linked by that colour theme: Twin Peaks’ Audrey Horne; Cat on a Hot Tin Roof-era Elizabeth Taylor, New Girl’s Zooey Deschanel. But it took me until I hit 40 to accept that dark tones drain me of what little colour I have, and look hella fake against the Celtic freckles I possess.
With the new Wonder Woman movie, I’ve been surrounded by images of my lifelong-yet-unattainable crush (although Gal Godot’s WW might be a bit more chestnut than molasses in hair tone). Yet I believe Wonder Woman still has something of an effect on my hair shade choice. Today, I sit firmly at the other end of the colour chart, bleached within an inch of my life, dabbling with unicorn colours with abandon. I put that down to my early love of the blue reflects that flashed across WW’s sooty lengths.
But I shall always sigh with longing when I see a super dark, mirror-shiny, bouncy mane, and that’s okay. As the philosopher Sir Mick Jagger once penned: “You can’t always get what you want… but if you try sometimes, you’ll find…”
…a hairdresser who can tell you what will suit you, deliver it with aplomb, and leave you feeling like a goddamn super hero anyway. Respect.1