I'm coming to the end of an extended absence from work, following a big gynae op which a lot of people Don't Like To Talk About. As a result of my colleagues' sensibilities there are a number of people who have wondered where I've been for the past twelve weeks. I suspect there has been a degree of speculation about my disappearance. Was I ill? In prison? On a Buddhist retreat?
My time away from work has been blissfully uncomplicated, with plenty of time to fully recuperate from surgery, work on the rewrites for my novel and have milkshakes with the children. Enjoying the freedom from corporate uniformity, I felt sufficiently brave to have a rather daring haircut. I did so safe in the knowledge I wouldn't be walking into the office the following morning, enduring the week or so of comments before all is forgotten.
It's a short cut. A very short cut. An inch all over, leaving nowhere to hide and requiring absolutely zero maintenance. I love it. When I talked it through with my hairdresser I told her I was hoping more for Sassy Elfin Crop than Big Butch Bertha. She nodded knowingly and delivered exactly what I wanted.
I popped into work last week for a meeting and braced myself for the "gosh you've had your hair chopped off" comments. The woman in the press office squeezed my hand as she greeted me, a suspicious shine to her eyes.
"How are you recovering?" She asked.
Clearly my surgery was common knowledge after all. I gave a reassuring update - all better, no issues - and she nodded sympathetically and sighed a little. I was struck by her emotional reaction to what is, after all, a very common operation for women.
"And will you need any further treatment?" She wondered. Was she referring to HRT? I found her response rather odd, but the penny didn't entirely drop until she asked me whether I was in remission.
I was aghast. My being off sick for three months and returning with a close cropped hair cut had meant only one thing to her - I must have a terminal illness. It was an awkward moment I was tempted to run out on, but I felt duty-bound to set the record straight before they started a collection or sent me to Disney World. "It's just a hair cut. I thought it would look nice." I said lamely.
My confidence in my hair cut has somewhat waned ever since. Ever had a really bad hair day? I think I just did.