a peek inside the fishbowl

05 Oct, 2005

The story of the haircut

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Misc. life

For those who figured out my photo was the bottom right corner, you were right.

I think I was in grade ten. My friends and I decided to travel by bus to Toronto (we lived in a ‘burb on the outskirts) to participate in a peace march. It was actually an anti-bomb march. My parents were appalled. As former residents of a communist country they were convinced that anti-nuclear demonstrations were organized by communist groups who were planning on taking over Canada. And that I was going to make it happen by standing around yelling: HEY HEY, HO HO, THAT NUCLEAR STUFF HAS GOT TO GO, HEY HEY HO HO!

But I didn’t share their opinion on the matter and went anyway. We might have even skipped school to do it. The button pictured here is something I bought that day. And for some reason it’s followed me around thus far. Appearing in drawers and in odd boxes.

As teenagers running around a big city we rejoiced in our freedom. The sights! The people! The food! The shopping! During those years I was very fond of Queen St. and rummaging around Kensington Market. I remember buying second-hand Levis before it was cool to do so. Few people understood the benefits of wearing pants that were already worn in all the right places. I also loved exploring military surplus stores: the jackets, the boots, old patches and canteens. It was heavenly.

The day of the peace march we were all palpitating from the thrill of the big city. Someone had a brainstorm, hey – let’s get our hair cut! There was a place called House of Lords right on Yonge St. I’m not sure if it’s changed, but it was a pretty punky place at the time. My friend Martine and I went for a cut while the others waited. The two of us were separated, so I had no idea what they were doing to her. We were out of consulting range.

I sat in my chair. I wanted something different. And so they gave it to me. I don’t remember much about it except for that first snip. The hair on the right side of my head was cut right next to my head. The view from the back was a big slope, gradually lengthening as it reached the left side of my head. Trust me when I say I was the ONLY ONE in my highschool to have a haircut like that.

I liked it. I think. But it was a real b!tch to grow out. My friend, on the other hand, emerged looking like early Bon Jovi. I think I got the better deal.


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  • Will: Don't be afraid to be a prude. The world needs more prudes, not less. Don't let others shake you for caring about how your children dress and what the
  • Dean Prentice: Enjoyed reading your stories, having recently visited Silent lake and taking some time to take in the view from the memorial bench I too wondered who
  • Jennifer Jilks: Good for you! that's how I started jogging. We lived in North Gower, though, and I thought I'd work up to running around the block. It was 7 km, as we
  • Sally Dowe Marchand: Be careful. Running can become addictive and that’s how it starts. One block at a time. I understand the huff and puff. Some mornings I set my watch
  • Bill Dare: That building sure has changed from the early 70''s. My dad had a dusty office at the top floor there for a year. Good to see that a group of peopl
  • Jaye MacAskill: I love this! Great photos. We will definitely have to make a trip there one of these days when we finally make it up to Ottawa.
  • Jaye MacAskill: Sounds like a really fun time. Good for you guys!

The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human offspring: Emma (23) and Sarah (21). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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