Some people have a thing about their weight - it's never right and they spend half their lives dieting then giving up. I'm far too undisciplined and self-indulgent to diet. For me, the thing I always want to get right, but never quite manage is my hair.
Of course, I blame my mother.
When I was at primary school, I had long dark brown hair. Mum liked to 'experiment' with it. One day I'd go to school with Heidi plaits across the top of my head. The next day it would be Princess Leia loops around my ears (and this was in the days long before Princess Leia was a twinkle in George Lucas' eye, so I couldn't even pretend it was an intentional choice on my part).
When I decided I'd had enough, Mum took me to the hairdressers, where between them they came up with the idea of a 'pixie cut' - yes, that's right, my own mother agreed with the hairdresser that I should look like a pixie. A pixie!
That left me entering my teenage years with no credibility and a longing to grow my hair. And it's been pretty much the same ever since.
I managed it for a while, when the kids were growing up - it was easy to find an excuse for avoiding the scissors - no money, no time, no self-image.
But once I'd gone back to work, I fell for the notion that I should attempt to look stylish / smart / sexy /sleek; and so off I went for a cut. As soon as the tresses hit the floor I regretted it, and ever since I've been telling everyone that I'm going to grow it out.
This has largely been just an idle threat - I've been far too scared of my hairdresser to risk offending him by suggesting that a) I could decide how I wanted my hair to look or b) it really didn't need cutting quite so often. But things finally came to a head (sorry - unforgivable pun) last year, when I was asked to play a man in our village production of Much Ado About Nothing. In my imagination I was the beautiful Beatrice; in the eyes of the village I was the evil bastard Don John.
And so, the last great hair-growing adventure began.
I think, perhaps, hair doesn't grow quite as quickly as you get older. It seemed to take forever to grow down past my ears. Many times I tried to scrape a few stray strands into an elastic band, only to be ridiculed by those I thought I loved.
But I've stuck with it. It's gradually crept longer and longer. I can make a little pony tail of it now. I can even sweep it up in a faux-elegant clip.
And I'm generally quite pleased. Except....
When is that you become 'too old' for long hair? Have I already reached and gone past it without realising? Will my final ignominy be when I'm cast as the mad old witch in the next village panto?