Fringe Benefits

Year 7, 1990. I used to watch the popular chicks draped over the bubblers at recess and wonder why the lads loved them so. Why had these girls nabbed the hottest (scrawny, arseless, crackly-voiced) boys in our grade? What did they have in common? After a lot of scribbling in notebooks and scientific analysis, I concluded that the successful chicks all seemed to have huge, gravity defying fringes. That's bangs to you Americans. These saucy babes had perfectly boring straight tresses in the back, but perched on their foreheads were magnificent works of art. The fringe stood noble, unmovable, a seperate entity. It was a careful construction, invariably bullied into place with half a can of hairspray. There were a few different species. Some shot straight up like a picket fence, others spiked violently to one side like a backslash. Then there was the mushroom, my personal favourite. It had a distinct core, then each bit of hair had to be individually pulled outward so it fanned from the centre like petals on a (very tacky) flower. I thought these chicks must have held the secret to man-snaring in their tidal waves of hair. Was there some mystical allure in their ponytails, scraped back so tight that their eyes narrowed like a cat? Was the scent of Taft SuperHold Laquer an aphrodesiac? By the end of Year 8, everyone had adopted the freaky fringe, even me. But I was still no more successful with the lads than the bookworm with the body odor or the skanks that trolled the canteen lines asking, "Have you got five cents?" Luckily I got older and realised that a particular hairstyle wasn't going to open the door to sweet sweet lovin'. There's no secret, no special formula to finding romance. Sometimes it just happens. Sometimes even while you're having a really bad hair day. There's a few people moaning about being alone on evil Valentine's Day today. Chin up, I say. There's friends and music and vibrators and chocolate and puppies to make you smile. And it could be worse, you could have a really stupid fringe.


About Shauna Reid

Ahoy there! I’m Shauna, an author, copywriter and content mentor. I love telling stories about life and helping others to tell theirs.

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40 thoughts on “Fringe Benefits

  1. I still cringe at the thought of those fringes… and how much time I spent blowing drying it each morning. That was a trip back to year seven that I wasn’t ready to go on!

    I think the blame for the hole in the ozone layer can be laid at the feet of all teenage girls for the amount of hairspray needed to make your hair stand up in a birds nest type configuration.

  2. shut.UP… I still have a fringe styled very similar to your “Tracy” – which happens to suit me far better than any flat hairstyle! Strange, but true…

  3. Sorry if I’ve offended you Leonie. I never said my drawings were accurate 😀

    And Kristen, tis coincidence 🙂 MS Paint has such a limited palette!

  4. S’weird, but half the grown women at my workplace have bangs. At first I thought it might just be the francophones, but nope, it’s anglos too. And the bangy ladies are all in their 30s or 40s. Me, I don’t understand; those things look kétaine au bout*.

    * Tacky as hell.

  5. Woo! It’s the return of MS Paint!

    Sophie Lee always has that fringe in her movies. Tres amusing.

    And I forgot about those canteen trolls. “Pay ya back tomorrow! ”

  6. I heard on telly, though I don’t know if it’s true, that yesterday was also International Impotence Day (or something).

    Anyway, I do like your computer drawings D:-)

  7. omg I was one of those chicks with the fringes! I had one of the mushroom ones! Having it didn’t help with attracting the attention of the guys at school but it did field a lot of jealous comments from the girls in my grade… “oh how I want a fringe like yours… how the hell do you get it like that?” I’ll send you a photo (complete with ugly grey braces and a shocking perm!)! I won’t post it on my site or anything because it is awfully embarrassing!! That I would spend all morning trying to get the hair right before I could walk out of the house… I shudder at the memories! These days however it is just the whole scruff-n-go look… stuff doing my hair to perfection… better things to do with my time haha.

  8. The horror of mid twenty-something thinning hair has returned me to a detailed consideration of fringe issues. I don’t really have one, but do spend a couple of minutes each morning spiking things up. Shaving it spartan is not so far away.

    In 1990 I think I gelled my hair into a bike helmet. No action for me …

  9. Yikes, I had a 50s quiff sometime in the late 80s. You make a bouffant and stick it back with a comb. now I have one of those supershort fringes, about 2 cm straight across, the sort of Evil Older woman look. (Jack Spratt, it removes the need to constantly brush hair from the face while working. If you don’t like the look of it, try to imagine how little I care, while you’re doing that, take a look at some of the hair “styles”(?) on their male counterparts. Merde alors!
    However, the EOW fringe now thinks it’s a 1970s Prahran Sharpie fringe and is always trying to boing up in the morning. Strange I just had a “Lie down, evil fringe” session before I read your latest post! Blogs can be so serendipitous sometimes.
    I guess most of you are too young to remember the 1970s sticky-up fringe. I guess I’m showing my age. Guess I should shut up now 🙂

  10. Hey! There ain’t nothin’ wrong with the quiff. It’s the haircut of gods. And Morrissey.

    I did, at one point in the university-filled past, however, have some kind of dodgy indie-bowl thing happening. Thankfully, I removed it when I noted (with horror) that in photographs it made me look like Mushroom Man.

    Fuck, I hope that doesn’t de-sexify my current sometimes-rockin’ tonsorial skillz.

  11. I admit to having tacky-as-hell “bangs”, but I only watched with amusement at the fringe boof phase! I just can’t believe the shauny was a part of it. I tried to vote for you as a naked weblogger, thinking it might be a good thing to be voted that, but they said I had already voted!! I most certainly had not! the form’s broke.

  12. Sadly I had a Teena but sidey like Tracey. Side Mushroom. I pioneered it. Yo.

    Course, most of the time it was just lank and hung over my eyes, but I could bouff it up when the urge took me. Sure I could.

  13. I’ve got to say, Luke’s comment inspired a mental image of Zeus, et al, sitting around in their palace type place on Mount Olympus, all with quiffs.

    Hmmm, would the gods of the underworld have sideburns instead?

  14. I wasn’t very talented when those hairstyles were cool. By the time I figured out how to do it, it wasn’t cool anymore. I’m such a dork!!

  15. For some reason, I made the observation back during that time (I had a ‘tanya’ fringe…dear god) that all the girls who had the ‘mushroom’ thing happening also wore those thick puffy scrunchy socks, t-shirts with the ‘sportsgirl’ logo and appropriately coloured matching tartan shorts……
    then again, maybe that was just my school!(Padua in Wanniassa)

    I think this was also the time of the undercuts and pony tails for guys, so that most of their heads looked circumcised!

  16. tj… that wasn’t just your school. Although it may have just been the area – because I have to admit I was one of those girls with the mushroom fringe, sportsgirl top, tartan shorts and scruchy socks – but I went to Wanniassa High.

  17. haha Mel…
    Wanniassa fashion! I love it! I was always so jealous of the girls that could have a different coloured sportsgirl top for every day of the week! I had one, and it was white… no fun at all!
    And we all know how sexy the Padua uniform was!!!

  18. Hehe, I remember those fringes at school :). I was tempted on many occasions to reach out and snap off a bit of hair on some girls, their hair looked so brittle.

  19. You can’t have a quiff without sideburns – that effect would be like one of those beards-missing-the-moustache things. Which are fucking wrong.

    I think the gods of the underworld would have shaven heads (in that male-pattern-baldness-concealing way) with, indeed, Van Dyck-stylee beards. Circle beards. Not Nick Oliveri goatees. Circle beards. That’s where it’s at.

    Thank Christ I don’t have mine anymore…

  20. I didn’t know they had jersey girls in Oz…..LOL. 🙂

    I have some pics of me in high school (in New Jersey) with some pretty big hair, but there were plenty of girls who’s hair was much higher than mine. LOL. Must be why I didn’t get the guys either. 😉

    Thanks for the walk down memory lane….though I think it’s bringing on bad flashbacks about the huge bottles of Aquanet hairspray the girls carried around…the nasty smelling shit that glued one’s hair up.

    Hopefully the big hair will not be returning any time soon. Otherwise the huge handbags will return in fashion as well in order to carry those big momma bottles of hairspray. LOL.

  21. i love it that people are getting offended by this, shauners. LOVE IT! i guess everyone’s always a little bit nervy about hairstyles …

    in my school, only A1 scrubbers with huge thumping thighs who were good at netball had the big fringe of the type you’re talking about. they usually had skanky mousy brown hair with blonde tips. i could be seen scrawnily skuttling away whenever they came anywhere near me, lest they say “WHATAREYOULOOKIN’AT, YA SLAG?”

    yet, i didn’t get a boyfriend until i was 16 and a half, so that might’ve been where i was going wrong.

    however, when i was in year 7 (1988), i did the mini-quiff. scratch that, this wasn’t just any quiff, this was an acid-PERMED mini-quiff. i had a collection of natty oversized hairclips (my favourite was hot-pink flecked with black paint) to hold up that little baby.
    sometimes i’d even just wear a simple bobble and quiff up the fringe.

    anyway, i hope the friends, music, vibrators and chocolate were all wonderful on friday, bella!

  22. LOL!! Just found your site, I love it!

    I’m near tears over the “fringe benefits”… hehe. The little illustration is what does it. 😉

  23. Hmm, A lonely girl.

    Here’s some advice on how to find a date from an Aussie guy.

    Walk up to one and try this line:

    “Hi, I am horny, would you like to have sex?”

    This should work on about 90% of guys. (The other 10% are either gay, or married. Or both)

  24. fringes are so pathetic cos this person has one and he looks like a f**kin t****r.Well he is ne way

  25. Fringes weren’t made for chixxx, they were made for sick muzzas….when I did taxation at university, a question on the exam was: “What is fringe benefits?” I wrote: “I style my hairs, go to Heat nightclub, pick up chix, that’s what I call…Fringe Benefits. ” Unfortunately I failed that subject, but it always works in practice.

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