Friday, November 14, 2008

The Roots of the Matter

Drummerboy and I both have the same hair, genetically speaking.
It is the same colour, strong, coarse and ridiculously thick like a real pony’s tail, unlike the silky locks (princess hair) that fashionably adorn the head of Darling daughter.
I rarely go to the same hair dresser more than once for my hair to be streaked. This is because they double the price once they get to know me and realise that it will take twice as long as for a normal person. This strange density of hair follicles on the scalp leads to all sorts of difficulties and irritations…and thus was born the CHEEKY MONKEY©.

Its naming is lost in the Breton mists of the childhood of Drummer boy.
“CHEEKY MONKEY©” must be said loudly and desperately in a broad northern accent (Lancashire generally and St Helens particularly). The words are repeated in an increasingly beseeching tone until the CHEEKY MONKEY© is granted.
The words “CHEEKY MONKEY©” continue to be spoken at intervals slowly and blissfully by the cheeky monkee while the cheeky monker administers the CHEEKY MONKEY©. When the recipient is finally sated, the roles are reversed. This ritual is restricted to myself and Drummerboy, either of whom can initiate proceedings.

I was exposing my autist students to music, as is my wont on Thursday mornings, when the boy who just says “oui” took my hand, held it gently for a moment and put it to his face. Then he smelt it carefully and placed it on the crown of his head. I stroked his hair briefly and then removed my hand. He repeated the procedure, as did I, several times before I understood.

“Ah, he wants a CHEEKY MONKEY©”, I thought to myself.

I rubbed his head gently for a few minutes rather furtively, wondering how I would explain if anyone came in, but understanding the overwhelming need for a CHEEKY MONKEY©, having experienced it myself.

At the end of the lesson, I told one of the carers what he had done.
She was not surprised.
The lady who gives him a head massage in the “sensorial room” had gone to Paris for the week on a training course and he was missing her.
Just like I miss Drummerboy now he has left home…


Mike said...

Beautiful hair.

I actually have the same thick coarse hair and it has been both a blessing and a curse.

Of course at my age, it's a blessing to still have it all.

Anonymous said...

That's a moving little tale, Rosie. With three little ones here totally dependent on hearth and home, it's difficult to imagine their absence, singly or collectively. I remember driving Number One Son Lin down to Southampton University for the first time and watching him lugging his bag away towards the hideous tower blocks that comprised the campus.

As for CHEEKY MONKEY© in a broad Lancashire accent, I'm reminded of my early radio days and long-forgotten comedian Al Read's trademark cry of "Right, monkey!"

And hair. Em has glorious shoulder length auburn hair all the way from Ireland. I have a thin skullcap of entirely black hair whose only virtue is that, like my dad, I shall avoid grey way into dotage.

amy said...

Will the missing ever stop?! We drove by a school at letting out time the other day and seeing an 8 year old girl walking along holding hands and talking with her mother had me in tears.

Would that be pronounced Chee-kay Moon-kay?

Rosie said...

mike - yes you are lucky . my dad still had most of his hair when he died at the age of 73, and it was black not grey. This sort of hair is not fashion icon material but my god it lasts...
Dick, I really dont know where CHEEKY MONKEY© comes from. It seems to have always been with us, but it is definitely in Al Reads accent.
Amy, it is indeed pronounced Chee-kay Moon-kay. I can see that you have recently spent time in the North of England.

Zhoen said...

I've always had the fine glassy hair that tangles and goes to mess ten minutes after combing. But it's always been a pleasant dark chestnut/black. Once, tying the shoe of an elderly and thoroughly demented woman, I felt a hand caress the top of my head. Perhaps at that moment I was her daughter.

Casdok said...

He gently held your hand and put it to his face, brought a tear to my eye, and then of course i had to laugh!!!

Anonymous said...

I've never heard of the CHEEKY MONKEY©, a Brit thing? You have gorgeous hair. Why do we women always want straight hair when we're born with curly (me) or curly when it's straight? One of life's profound questions :-)

meggie said...

Beloved Brother has that same hair. When he was young it was so wild & wiry, he could never tame it. Now it is a source of pride, since most of our cousins have gone bald, or close to. Mine is not so wild, but is very thick.

Ms Mac said...

My hair looks thick but it's just all curls! I think I like it like that.

I want somebody to cheeky monkey me now.