Sunday, 5 September 2010
Hair Affairs 3 A trip to the hairdresser
If you have been following this blog for any time you will know that I loathe going to the hairdresser. I've been avoiding it for some months. The last time I went was to a small establishment just round the corner from our house. The work was competent but I was really an accessory to the exciting life of the salon. The staff chattered to each other and planned their social lives and proposed holidays. It was very interesting and within minutes I knew who was related to whom, who was straight and who gay and what they planned to do that evening after work but it was hardly personal service. The woman cutting my hair might as well have been practising on a dummy! And I had to suggest 'feathering' my fringe or I would have emerged with something like a pudding basin cut!
Well, this week I decided I really must get my hair sorted out. I'd been trimming my fringe so that I looked almost human and could see where I was going but the rest had grown very long and was increasingly difficult to contain in the claw that keeps hair off my face. The girl who greeted me was tall, slim, young with a beautiful smile. She proceeded to drag her fingers through my hair which was when I discovered that she had very sharp nails. Having established what she would do – 'a long bob, slightly longer at the sides with some long layers' – she washed my hair. That was okay though at times I felt I was having not just a shampoo but a shower too.
The shampooing completed I was damply led like a lamb to slaughter to a seat in front of a large, unforgiving mirror. She attempted to 'comb out' – the jargon is so obvious! – but met tangles galore. Then she spent some minutes trying to extricate her rings from my hair. The cutting was quite an experience! My head was pushed forwards, backwards, from one side to the other. Occasionally, realising I was capable of independent movement, she asked me to move my head and each request was attended by an endearment. I don't care to be called 'darling' and 'sweetheart' by someone I've only just met, particularly a young person who thinks I'm as old as Methuselah and probably short of a marble or two.
By now my head was aching. The salon was full and hot and I just wanted to get out and go home, but I wasn't 'finished' yet. Actually, the stylist was only just beginning. The hair drying came next – she was very vigorous and pulled the plug out three times. She wasn't so much blow-drying my hair as creating a small wind tunnel and once again my head was pulled from one side to the other, her finger nail catching in my ear. I wondered if any of the other clients or staff had noticed what was going on as I was yanked from vertical to horizontal.
The final trim was interesting. There was so much static electricity in my hair that it was flying out as though I'd grabbed a live wire. The bits the young woman managed to capture and cut flew up onto her lip gloss and her eyelashes. More brushing ensued but her attempts to make my hair obediently curl under failed completely so she resorted to much hair spray and a crunching, crushing action I'd never seen before. This method was also unsuccessful and my limp hair hung resolutely straight and unrepentant. The back looked reasonable, but she'd cut off more than I had asked her to and it is barely possible to put it up without scraping it tightly off my face, giving me an instant and unflattering facelift.
Much, much later as I relived the whole astonishing episode I realised that she had neglected to use conditioner on my hair. It's a safe bet that I shall not be asking for that stylist again!