As my middle daughter enters Grade 7, I wonder what she will learn. Canada's role in World War 2? Algorithms? All I remember from Grade 7 is how to make a supply teacher cry (a whole other story) and to never let hydrogen peroxide get near my hair. Let me explain…
It was October of my grade 7 year and I shared with my classmates an automatic assumption that Halloween would mean costumes and candy. However, we were also adolescents trying to shed our childhood and get the attention of cute boys. Most of us compromised by dressing up as Madonna or punk rockers and going door-to-door with our friends laughing our hairspray off. Really, it was the only night our mothers would let us out in such short skirts (“But Mum, it’s a Halloween costume!”).
A trip to the local drug store yielded spray cans of washable hair colour. A session of aggressive comb-teasing, heavy black liner, and loads of arm bangles transformed my friends and I into a force to be reckoned with. One friend who was brave enough to have very short hair used half a can of white and made herself into a passable Billy Idol clone. I don't recall collecting much candy that night.
After our costumes were completed we walked around the neighbourhood and carried on with our normal activities of gossiping and giggling. The next day at school, we really had something to gossip about. One classmate must have had more money to spend at the drug store than we did. She purchased hydrogen peroxide and Vaseline. She really wanted an authentic Billy Idol-like bleached blonde spiky look. I'm sure she looked awesome on Halloween night. However, in the harsh light of the school hallways on November 1st, she now had a head of orange, greasy hair. The peroxide had turned her beautiful, chestnut locks into a rather seasonable pumpkin colour. And she didn't look happy about rocking this new look.
After dozens of frantic shampoos the night before, the Vaseline still clung to her hair, giving her the oily sheen of a baby seal. An orange baby seal. As you can imagine, this was the fodder of many passed notes in class and snickering behind locker doors. Long after we tired of talking about it, the evidence of that one Halloween night remained - on her head.
It only took a few weeks for her hair to lose the greasiness. But she bravely sported two-toned chestnut and orange hair for months before it was long enough to cut off the lengths of dried pumpkin at the ends. I'm sure she had never been so pleased to get a haircut.