A Nitty Problem

I stood at my sister’s door and pressed the intercom. No answer. I buzzed again and still no answer. Weird. She knew I was on my way. I called her, thinking that maybe I’d buzzed the wrong flat. I was sure it was 67. Wasn’t it? Her phone went to answerphone. What was going on?

Finally she answered the door.

Things were not good.

‘I have nits!’ she said.

She’d been to her very posh, very expensive hairdresser where they’d refused to cut and colour her hair as they’d ‘found eggs.’

‘So I cried,’ she said. But of course.

She’d then hot-footed it to the nearest chemist and loaded up on nit-blitzing chemicals. Wise move…except despite following the instructions to shampoo dry hair first, then shampoo as normal, that stuff DOES NOT WASH OUT!!! So, there we were, about to go to the ballet (Matthew Bourne’s Edward Scissorhands – utterly marvellous!) and there she was, not with swishy freshly-coloured hair that would have made me regret having had kids and eliminating the existence of disposable income, but instead with hair that looked like a grease pit.

‘You used the quick stuff, didn’t you?’ I said. ‘Never use the quick stuff because it really doesn’t wash out.’

‘Well, now you tell me. Bit late now.’

‘But Hedrin is far better. Only the lotion that you leave in for 8 hours, mind, but that works better than the best conditioner.’

(And, no, I’m not sponsored by Hedrin, but seriously, that stuff’s amazing!)

And so, she was mortified twice in one day. But at least at the ballet you sit in the dark. And Edward had far worse hair than my sister.

But, to make my sister feel better (not that she reads my blog) here are three nitty-tales to reassure her that it could have been worse:

* * * * *

Do you want to know how I knew that the quick treatment left you with hideous I-thought-I’d-dunk-my-head-in-the-deep-fat-fryer hair? Self-discovery, of course!

And if my sister’s timing was bad, well, mine was worse. A tip: do not use unwashoutable headline treatment the day before a) your daughter’s going to take part in a school fashion show or b) you’re going to be having your photo taken for the local paper.

With Boo’s hair swept into a plaited side-bun she styled it it out under the lights. Plus, we were too puzzled by her dance moves to pay too much attention to her hair.


Being unable to pull off bandy-leg dancing in a professional context, I did not get away with it and my photo was awful! I have tried to find it to demonstrate, but funnily enough, it seems to have been deleted from my camera roll. Awww, shame.

Now all indeed to do is delete it from my mind. Less easy.

* * * * *

But then, worse than being rumbled with treatment hair is being rumbled as having lice.

Particularly on a photo shoot for a prestigious online kids’ clothing store.

‘We can’t use her, I’ve found nits,’ the hair stylist said.

Cue the entire team surrounding my daughter’s head.

‘But there can’t be!’ I thought. Nits on a shoot was my biggest fear. (Well, that and Boo saying what she thought of some of the more ‘fashion-forward’ clothes…and yes, she’s done that too. It’s amazing she’s had as much work as she has.) I had literally been through her hair with a fine-tooth comb the night before. But there they were, a couple of undeniable white eggs that couldn’t be explained as dry scalp.

If only the ground could have opened up and swallowed us, we wouldn’t have had to skulk out the door.

Mercifully Boo’s agent had seen it all before and was reassuringly lovely about it. We laughed that at her previous shoot for them she’d actually been asked to scratch her head for the camera. Nits were obviously out of fashion.


And at least we hadn’t shut down the shoot entirely as had happened on Harry Potter when an extra managed to infest the student body of Hogwarts with lice. Yeah, that would have definitely been more mortifying.

* * * * *

Possibly as embarrassing as the following that happened to an ex-colleague of mine. (Yes, a ex-colleague NOT me. I swear.)

She was teaching in a primary school back in the days of the dreaded Nit Nurse.


As her class quaked she volunteered to go first, to set an example and show them just how painless it all was. So there she sat, the dragon of a nurse rifling through her hair.

‘You’re going to have to go home – you have lice!’

Think that’s mortifying? She then instantly burst into tears. The whole class watching their lice-infested teacher bawling her eyes out.

On the plus side, she got a few days off school whilst she got de-loused.

* * * * *

Sadly nits doesn’t get you a duvet day any more, so I hope my sister’s managed to get her hair back to normal to avoid the judgemental eyes of her high school students.

But it could be worse. Definitely, it could be a lot worse.

Do you have any mortifying headline stories that I can share with my sister? To make her feel better, you understand. Not just to laugh at you. Well, maybe to laugh at you a little.


6 thoughts on “A Nitty Problem”

  1. Here in Oz, our little buggers have developed resistance to many of the chemical treatments, so most people I know have resorted to the olive oil, head wrapped in clinfilm followed by daily combings for 10 days to break the breeding cycle. It is laborious but it works! Years ago, my friend turned up with her son to play with mine and I noticed him scratching his head. When asked, friend said she had combed but found nothing…scratching continued. I offered to have a look, as experience had found that you need to comb for quite a while for any crawlies to be got. Ten minutes later, 22 (yes, you read that correctly) blood engorged HUGE head lice were despatched to head lice heaven, she was mortified!!!

    1. There is a certain pleasure to br had in crushing the buggers to death. But the resistance to chemicals is not good. There’s a special process that includes vacumming the hair with a special device. For the rich only, naturally.

      1. I think chemical resistance is a first world problem 😦 Years ago when the topic of head lice was close to my heart (head), I read a scientific paper that looked at treatments used in nursing homes for said horrible little beasties. All the chemical treatments on the market were used and yet the survival rate of nits and crawlers was over 40%!! My generation here never knew nits and we as parents were caught off guard by them, I remember the first time my son had a crawler on his head, I thought it was a spider, but it moved sooooo fast! After nearly suffocating from the chemical smell, I was put off using anything that came from a lab. Having said that, we have had some clever Mums out here that have developed natural repellants and they are used extensively.

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