I tend to be charmed by coincidences. The fellow traveller on an exotic train who happens to hail from your old hometown; the fact that you've never heard of a Chinese fringeflower in your whole life, and suddenly they're in every other garden you see, right after you read in a gardening mag about how versatile and wonderful they are. Well, here's another delightful coincidence: I've discovered that my sudden recollection of braids -- and my desire to braid back my very curly, rather bountiful and pouffy hair -- is connecting me with a highly fashionable trend. You might say 'well, but braids are always pretty', but I would say that braids are less sought-after when they mean maidens of the Third Reich on the one hand or Pippi Longstocking and Anne Of Green Gables, on the other. Not exactly, you would think, what the sexy woman of the 21st century is wearing. And truly, I can't recall a time before now when braids were hot, unless we go all the way back to Bo Derek in the Dudley Moore movie where she wore them with great panache. (Her legs would not pass muster in these weights-for-women days, though: where are her adductors and quadriceps? Bo Derek was a woman that people looked at twice, and more than twice. But if you looked at her in this photo only from the hips to the knees, and I told you that she was 60, without other information you'd probably believe me. That's all right: when I was 23, which was her age at the time, my legs looked a bit hollowed-out as well: we were both extremely slim. (And short: she is reportedly 5'3", and I'm just a bit under that.)) But here's another question: why on earth did they put her in a boring tan one-piece swimsuit? The yellow bikini she also wore is much more fetching.
Where were we? Oh yes, my being accidentally fashionable. The braids are nothing: I've also got a hair colour, quite accidentally, that I learned tonight is called 'ombre' (presumably a reference to shadow and dark edges, as in the Latin word 'penumbra'.) An ombre colour is one that is natural (and naturally a darkish shade) at the roots, with highlights that proceed down the hair, with or without even lighter shades at the tips. I have for a long time been more or less 'ombre', since I live in the South and this means that my oldest sections of hair are the most sunned, even to the point of becoming blonde. (I was blonde all over as a child, gradually becoming coppery-brown as an adult.) This ombre character was recently exaggerated because my husband had bought men's hair dye and I, without thinking it through very much, decided to try it on myself. It turned out to be too dark. It's washed out a bit since then, but has also turned a shade of red that I don't really like (and it's not naturally me!). So I dyed over the top of my head and down a bit to cover the red, leaving lighter stretches and really flaxen tips so as not to sully my whole head with dye. Result: I looked like a German Shepherd. Or so I thought. Now I realize that I just had bold, sassy, VERY fashionable ombre hair. Fortunately it has all softened and blended and washed out again, but the sun continues to do its bleaching work, at least on the hair it can reach (I wear a hat, bizarrely listed by Amazon as being a men's one). Owing to the sun and my need to hide from it, I am likely to be ombre long after the fashion has gone.