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Beyonce shows bad-hair days happen to the best of us

Oh, Beyonce.

I don't quite know how to follow that, but oh, Beyonce. What have you done? Rather, what have you let some 15 year old with scissors and a bad attitude do to you?

The first (ever, I daresay) photos of Beyonce looking less than amazing came to my attention this week. She's got a fringe. But it's not just any fringe. It's exceptionally bad. It's too short, too thick, too… fringe. It's too much fringe for one woman and too little, all at the same time.

She still looks beautiful. It would take more than a bad-hair day to ruin that face. But it is nice to know that even Beyonce has bad-hair days.

Of course, Beyonce is American, and therefore doesn't suffer from the congenital consumer cowardice that afflicts the Irish salon customer. So the hairdresser probably knows exactly what went wrong here, and will be involved in either fixing it or finding someone better than them who can do that.

If this outrage had occurred in Ireland, there wouldn't be so much as a murmur.

Last week I had lunch with a friend who lived for a long time in Australia. She'd just had her hair done. It looked nice to me. I said so. That was a mistake.

She had been given the wrong highlights. And, unlike somebody who's lived all their life in Ireland, she complained. She said it was wrong, asked for it to be fixed, and for her money back.


Approximately five hours, numerous interventions and a meeting with the manager later, she left the salon "piebald" (her word) and €70 lighter. Their concession to customer service and this anomalous complaint was not to charge for the colour. They probably don't know yet that she will almost certainly invoice them for emotional damage, her time being wasted, and a general feeling of annoyance.

Despite a long history of bad-hair days, like most Irish women, I have never complained in a salon. I have sat there, my thighs numbed by a pile of magazines so dated their cover 'girls' are at home minding their grandchildren, the wrong hot beverage burning my hand in a paper cup ("tea is… fine… yes… that is what I wanted…"), and nodded numbly as they crop my head like a hayfield.

When you're the type of person who naturally defers to "experts" you can find yourself in quite a bit of trouble, but it's still better than doing it yourself.

At three, I woke up one Saturday morning and decided it was time for a change. My mother quickly became hysterical in a way I had never seen before, and have not seen since. I had scalped myself so badly, on one side, that hairdressers in the village, and as far afield as Limerick (27 miles) and Ennis (even further) refused to touch my head. Eventually she took me to the local barber who gave me a blade one. For the rest of that year, I was a boy.


Aged about sixteen, I took a notion that I wanted to cut my hair short and went, as far as I can remember, to the same village barber. Bored senseless from giving the David Beckham step to every young lad that slouched in his doorway, he obviously didn't even look up and just did the same on me. I'm still not over it.

I've had orange highlights, white highlights, and an especially memorable home highlight job that rendered my hair almost transparent. And then there was the time I dyed it pink in college.

These days, I have a hairdressers I trust. I won't go to anyone else. So, as someone who recently discovered fringe benefits myself after trusting my hairdresser, if I can offer one bit of advice to Beyonce, it's find a good hairdresser. Someone who will say, like mine, "now girl… I wouldn't". She wouldn't have.