I have a system.

Okay, I have a system for everything, and I've thought about most of them, too; ways to do them better. Making coffee has become a dance, dishes too, have their efficient methods. Hair is something else entirely.

Mine is long and I like it like that. This is where I get to tell you about Jade, a large-breasted local girl, who would have been far too young to be identified in such a manner only a few short years ago, when she quite literally changed my life; but even then they were huge.

So it's ironic that the last time I saw her she remarked,

 "Hey! Your hair's all smooth and shiny!"

Tied back all tight in a pony tail, and I said to her, at least I think I said it then, although it might have been at an earlier time and my memory has conveniently glued the two parts together, triumph of truth over fact, and I said to her, no I really did,

 "But Jade! don't you remember, it was YOU taught me how to do it!"

And she did.

Previously, over a year previously, I chopped my then-long hair to a bob, and very shortly after right to the wood, in rage, because, quite simply, it was getting in the way, I was trying to work. I took it out on my own hair, I know, crazy, but there you have it. I think i was bothered by girls at the time, or something.

Incedently, the reason most people don't succeed in growing their hair is because it's just so annoying for the first year or two, until it's long enough to, yup, put in a pony-tail. So I had to suffer all that again. I kept my head shaved for a few months, which I look forward to doing again the instant I start balding. There's something deeply satisfying about palming the skin of your head. Anyway.

You see, I hadn't really sat down and tackled the problem, as a problem; tieing back my hair. Jade always had long hair, I guess, so she'd figured out a system years ago. At least, the main part part, the part she shared with me, demonstrated. I worked on it some more, since, and I offer it here. You never know, it might just change your life.

How to tie a Pony-Tail..

The first thing to note is that the shape of your head is the guide. it's not perfectly spherical, you will have spotted, but elongated at the back. At the farthest point is where the pony-tail wants to go. If you start by putting it where it wants to go, the whole thing becomes a great deal easier.

The simplest way to get the idea is to tip your head back whilst sitting on a sturdy chair. Gravity will pull the hair into its natural position. Now you don't have to fight to get all the hair between thumb-and-forefinger, it just falls into place. If you've never put your hair in a pony-tail with your head back, try it, it makes a fairly radical difference.

You probably know how to smooth and pull back the hair into the tail, if not, get someone to show you, I'm not gonna write that. The next important point, and this is where Jade's teachings really come into their own, is when you loop the hair-band. Crucially, each loop sits closer to the head. This has the effect of tightening the pony-tail with each successive loop. Clever!

Use your thumbs to pull the tail out of the way when looping, of course. Sure, to experienced pony-tail creators, this may all seem obvious, and something that probably doesn't even need said, NO Madam! If only someone had said, my hair would be down to my arse already!

Choice of hair-band is important. The tops of old socks make good, strong hair-bands (as my status bar text has no doubt gleefully informed you at some point) but they tend not to last more than a few weeks.

One day I trailed the chemists and hair and beauty shops of Aberdeen looking for something to do the job. The closest article was in one of the beauty trade-supply shops snuck away where no one who didn't know it was there would never think to look. I did know, however, having hairdressers snipping away in my murky past.

In the end, I came across a 1960's style bungee in my store-room. I haven't the foggiest where it came from, but suffice to say it has fine metal hooks at each end and, unlike those multi-coloured modern bungees, is composed of half a dozen flat, and very stout bands of cotton-covered elastic. it's also blue; the same blue they use for plasters in commercial kitchens; as a bonus, if I ever fall into a large pot of hot soup, I'll be easy to locate.

One length makes exactly three hair-bands. that's eighteen hair-bands before I have to start trawling the local auctions for another one of these babies, unless you have one you don't need. I'm still on the first hair-band, and it's months old. Sturdy. I need elastic like this for my so-ghastly-they-frighten-strange-guests-good leggings, which are no longer any use for trampolining next to the window.

This blue hair-band is just *slightly* too tight to fit around my wrist (by way of a size-guide), and keeps the hair in a workable tail with only two loops. For out-and-about usage, three of its loops guarantees the hair stays in a tail until physically unlooped. And, you get a free face-lift.

And then There's practice, always that, and now, somehow; and this all makes Lee-Van Kleef's gun-slinging capabilities look rather tame, I can tell you; when I feel the sensation of hair-in-face, said hair is suddenly and unconsciously looped into a tail at the back of my head. I don't know how I do it.

Oh yes I do.
I have a system.

:o) The Writing Entity @

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