By way of illustration C. folds her hands over her head, middle finger pointing at middle finger and thumb pointing at thumb, as you would indicate the receding hairline of any male. We sit in the car and kill time with a conversation about 'Flip in hair’. What else can you do at a dodgy car park next to the highway. The engine is running, the aircon howls, we occupy Mr. (or Ms.) Mtombo’s parking place and are waiting for the person with the small car.
It could be the scene of some scary movie.
‘And it doesn’t slide out?’ I ask her.
‘No,’ she says.
‘Not even when you do something like this?’ And I move my eyebrows up and down very quickly. I'm not often that surprised, but this 'eyebrow lifting' has the potential to develop into a twitch. And that could be confusing to an onlook:
‘Sorry, did I maybe say something funny?’
‘Well, you gave me a somewhat surprised look?’
‘Well, yes in fact now I am!’
But it’s also very silly if your fake hair starts living a life of its own and independently moves it way up through the day. People of course hold their breath, because they find it difficult to mention it, but they secretly do give you a look and when you see your reflection in the mirror at the end of the day you suddenly discover that sixties hairstyle.
‘No, it remains in place very well, and it comes in 80 colors and everyone has it. Celebrities, but also a lot of ordinary people.’
‘OK.’ I say. And I wonder if I could wear false hair in any form to the supermarket and, where I would store it when I was not wearing it? That could be an issue, because what if you can’t find it and you are in a hurry? Now you find you need to attach your false hair quickly and you fit it skew and instead of looking attractive, you resemble a bizarre puppet.
‘And isn’t it hot?’ I ask.
My frame of reference is South Africa. It's very hot here. I would love to have a trendy haircut with a fringe, but a sweaty strip of hair on my forehead? No way.
The towel I would use to mop my brow would get lost in the labyrinth of my bag.
Besides that: Yuk.
Once, when I was 15, there was this lady travelling with us on the train to France with her daughter and her husband. My mother, my sister and I were stuck together (and with them) all day and night, because we shared a six-person compartment. The daughter was wearing a tight little dress - which is not important for now but I apparently remembered - and the mother had tied her permed and dyed hair together in a kind of bun. It made no difference in the heat.
Every five minutes she took a grubby cloth out of her bag, with which she patted her neck and between her breasts after which she inspected the residue on the cloth.
Anyway, M. with the small car arrives and that car doesn’t start.
We are in a questionable parking lot and this small car will not start.
Suddenly false hair and sweat towels are the last thing on my mind.
And besides that, what are we talking about. Everyone in South Africa - famous or not - has a wig, a hairpiece or interwoven false hair.
Since apparently, us Europeans can’t dance but try it all the time – we must have thought, let us at least have big hair as well.
Well anyway, I do.