How depressing. The older I get, the less hair I seem to have. My hair has always been thin, fine, and in between wavy and curly, but now in my thirties there is less of it than ever before. I know this pattern, because many of the women in my paternal line had the same problem with sparse hair. As a woman who works hard to take proper care of her long hair, this is upsetting.
Then, one day, as I was walking in the forest, I caught a little tiny man with a green suit, buckles on his shoes, and red hair and beard. As someone of Irish ancestry I had no trouble knowing a leprechaun when I saw one. I also knew that I had three wishes, but under no circumstances could I make a fourth wish, as that would undo everything. My grandfather taught me all about the little people.
“Hello there. Now that I have you captive, I understand that I’m entitled to three wishes.”
“Correct. But you know, we each have our own specialties. My specialty is hair. You can make three wishes about hair, yours or anyone else’s, on your head or anywhere else. Three wishes, mind.”
I was in luck. Now was my chance. “My first wish. I want double the amount of hair that I have now, since I imagine that it will thin even more as I age.”
I could feel a tingling on my scalp. He must have increased the density of hair follicles. These new hairs would take a while to grow in, but I could look forward to that as I dealt with the shedding of my existing hair.
“My second wish is for curlier hair. I want lots of volume.”
“Granted. That’s the opposite of what I thought you would ask for. So many women want their hair poker straight.”
“I never understood the appeal of that. No, definitely big, glorious curls for me.” I was born in the 1980s and spent my early childhood seeing women with big hair; perhaps this explains my lingering fondness for the look. That, and it increases the witchiness factor. People already tell me they think I’m a witch, and I enjoy the badass image this brings, so I might as well look more like one, too.
“And what about your third wish?”
I had to think about this one. On the one hand, wishing away my body hair could be the way to go. Although the hair on my arms was light-coloured and not really noticeable, I had inherited the thick, dark leg hair that ran in my father’s family. My father is what is known as “black Irish”, which means he has dark hair (at least, before he went grey he did) and eyes, olive skin, and a very thick beard, not to mention body hair. At first glance he looks Sicilian or Greek, but is in fact Irish.
On the other hand, given how prone I was to shedding and how fine and therefore delicate my hair is, if I could give it a permanent colour that wouldn’t fade so I wouldn’t have to damage it further by having to keep dyeing it, that would be good too. People would get suspicious if my hair suddenly turned black and stayed that way into my eighties or nineties. I didn’t really want to be a blonde, either. The personality associated with the hair colour didn’t fit me at all. Red hair, on the other hand, doesn’t go grey, it just gradually fades to blonde then white anyway. I already dye my grey-flecked light brown hair red with henna as the least damaging option. This colour would be the logical choice.
“My third wish. I want my hair to be naturally red, and stay that way.”
“Granted. Good choice.” The leprechaun smiled. “I knew your red colour wasn’t what you were born with, but it was close enough. Real redheads can spot the fakes, you know. Welcome to the club of genuine gingers, my dear!”
With that, he leaped out of my palm and disappeared into the forest. I am entirely happy with the bargains I made. My hair has been growing in much thicker, with the new growth curlier than before, and I no longer have to worry about touching up my roots every six weeks. Now, if I can only find my book of spells…