My salad dressing days

Ritual torture in the form of
September 8, 2005, 12:45 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

a trip to the hairdresser.

It occurred to me a few weeks ago that I had not had my hair cut in six months, but a quick phonecall to a local hairdressers and I had been fixed up with an appointment with one of their “top stylists” (despite my protestations that the hair washing girl could probably manage fine).

Rudely interrupting me mid-way through an article on how to sugar your bikini line painlessly (as if) in the cutting edge political comment magazine that is Glamour, I was summoned over to the basins to have my hair washed. After the usual inquiries into the temperature of the water (at first, too cold and then scorching hot and then too cold – thankfully I have an asbestos scalp), she let out the first in a series of consumptive coughs. Forgetting momentarily how many years my teenage BCG shot conferred immunity for, I thought it best to seal as many orifices as possible to avoid the disease-ridden spray emitting from her mouth. This did make talking and breathing rather tricky though.

Hair washing girl: So are you having your hair cut here today then?
No, I thought I would let you wash it and then walk down the road to have it cut by one of your competitors.
Me: Yes.

Festooned with an appealing mix of damp hand towels and synethtic gown, I yomped upstairs to be met by my stylist.

Then came the inevitable line of questioning:

Stylist: So, when did you last have your hair cut?
Me: Um, oh, well, a few [coughs], maybe, er, six months ago?
Stylist: Do you usually leave it that long then?
OK, OK! So I am a social pariah!
Me: Um, no, well, yes. Sometimes…
Stylist: So you tend to just let it grow and then get it cut?
That’s right. Controversial a policy as it may seem, I Let My Hair Grow and then I Have A Haircut.
Me: Yes.

In a freak show of initiative, I then moved on to explain exactly what it was I wanted done (“Cut it shorter please”) and he came back with his elaborate plans for the next 45 minutes:

Stylist:…and then I’m thinking we could chip into it a bit – that’ll really enhance the layering effect.
What the heck is ‘chipping into it’? I don’t want my precious mop to be hacked to oblivion. But I don’t like to sound ignorant so I say: ‘Right! Yes! Chip into it? Yes, definitely chip into it. Great!’

So off we go.

I am very much looking forward to zoning out whilst staring at the skirting boards and listening to Magic FM but my stylist has other ideas. He’d like to make polite conversation. (Why do hairdressers feel the need to do this? I am thinking of printing a little placard to sell on Ebay which says: ‘Just cut my hair please. Don’t TALK to me. I have NO plans for this evening or the rest of the year nor do I have any tales of an exciting nightlife with which to regale you. Just chop and I’ll stare into space. Thank you.’)

Stylist: Going out this weekend?
Me: No.
Stylist: D’you go out a lot?
Me: No.

Things are not going well, so he starts on a different tack.

Stylist: I lost my scissors the other day…
I pause briefly to consider my response to this assertion. My instinct is to let out a giggle but then it strikes me that, for a hairdresser, this could constitute a truly catastrophic occurrence which merits my condolences and a furrowed brow.

Well, I don’t dare try the furrowed brow lest in the act I tip my head slightly off-centre and cause him to leave me with an uneven bob. But I do say: ‘Gosh, that’s awful. What happened?’
Stylist: Left them at a mate’s house and now he’s gone to Felixstowe!
Me: Your scissors are in Felixstowe??
Stylist [he has the good grace to laugh at this point]: No! My mate is in Felixstowe but my scissors are round his house and I can’t get in until he’s back from his holidays.
Me: Oh…I suppose you get attached, erm, used to one pair of scissors…?
Stylist: Oh yeh, you do.
[Then begin to consider whether I am now receiving a third rate haircut owing to the stylist using his colleague’s borrowed scissors…]

Long pause. Hoorah, I think! An old ‘Duran Duran’ tune carries me off to another land/era/universe…

Stylist: Your hubby watching the footie tonight then?
Footie…footie…oh! Football. That would be the game with the round ball with which most of the planet barring me is strangely obsessed. Mr Chick is not really the football type but no way am I going to admit this to a hairdresser.
Me: [rolls eyes] Oh for sure! Gawwwwwwd – I’m going to have to get myself out a ‘Sex and the City’ DVD then!
Stylist: [laughs]

We move to the blow dry stage and my stylist makes a grab for some Products, which he will doubtless attempt to flog to me later on.

Stylist: Right. I’m just applying a little heat seal to your roots to [someone turns up Magic FM at this point, so I am none the wiser as regards the potential benefits of heat seal].
Me: Great! Thanks!
Stylist: …and a bit of serum for the ends. That’ll help seal in the heat.
I’m confused. So what is the difference between the heat seal and the serum? Begin to doubt his professional training…
Me: Brilliant!

The hair washer returns to sweep up my fallen locks. I look on regretfully. In an ideal world – in addition to the non-chatting thing – I would like to see my wet shards of hair swept up and weighed. I think this would be Interesting. Given how long I go between cuts, I do often feel ‘lighter’ after the experience, but somehow it would satisfy me to know How Much lighter.

Is that weird?

Oh, and my hair. Well, it looked fab for the entirety of the walk home. And then a chicklet smeared fromage frais into the roots (no doubt cancelling out any beneficial effects of the heat seal), necessitating a dunk under the shower.

So, thirty five quid well spent then.


15 Comments so far
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Oh dear. Sounds like you need to meet my Nicole. Has a sense of humour oh Yeees. Makes fun of her hairdressing job. Doesn’t pretend that curly hair is meant to be smooth. Doesn’t act like frizz is the enemy: its so NOT. Just look at Janet Frame. Now there’s a head of hair I could aspire to.

Comment by Justine

HA HA, I completely understand!! I recently had my hair cut and it was great because the sylist (or whatever they’re called) didn’t speak much English. So I was able to stare off into space in peace and she didn’t even try to start with the lame conversation. It was great.

Comment by Meegan

I dread getting haircuts becaue I hate chatting with a stranger who is touching my head. I also feel quite vulnerable when sitting under someone with scissors in her hand. I don’t like go to the same hairdresser twice because then you get this fake “relationship” with them, and they ask you all kinds of personal questions and get all offended if you go somewhere else to get a haircut once and awhile. it’s like you are cheating on them or something! I find the whole thing really annoying.

It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who feels this way!

Comment by Kate

i hate it i hate it i hate it. i hate being asked if the water’s ok for me while having the spray directed into my ear. i hate having to pretend to be interested in the hair-washing girl’s social life. i hate being asked by the stylist about how my hair should be cut – that’s what the stylist is for.

and does everyone else wash their hair the minute they get home?

Comment by surly girl

I have a “bloke haircut” – hand clippers to wifey(*), 10 minutes later I’m done. I’ve offered to do hers, but no use; she insists on a proper salon. Not sure they’ll let her back, though. One of wifey’s jobs is to set up companies. She spent all her last session talking to the stylist about her work, and how to start a company; the different sorts of business, companies house registration, business accounts, safeguards, risk mitigation etc. The salon contacted her to say they’d changed her next appointment as her usual girl had left to go into business on her own.

You should try a men’s barbers – it sounds much more to your taste. Either that or hand Other Half the clippers?

I used to get haircuts from a vending machine when I lived in Japan. Well, you bought a ticket, then sat in front of a Chinese immigrant who spoke very little, and obviously had a set time to do them in. No smalltalk, no choice. Oh, and porno mags to read while you wait.

(*) Wifey – this can cause offense. Background:
Me: “X” calls his wife ‘wifey.’ I think that’s a bit demeaning.
Wifey: No it isn’t.
Me: Well, you wouldn’t like it.
Wifey: I wouldn’t care.
That was 12 years ago, but she’ll crack soon. I can tell. Wish she’d stop calling me “hubbs” ‘though.

Comment by Stef the engineer

I used to hate it too. Now, I’ve been going to the same lady for 10 years and she does it in the basement of her house. We’ve become pretty good friends so talk about ‘stuff’. She’s a Mom to young ones too so knows there is no nightlife to speak of and we don’t even go there 🙂
I’m still at the stage of mommyhood where I consider it a huge treat to have an hour and half to myself in Susan’s basement!
Have a good day L!

Comment by Kyahgirl

Its definitely not so bad for blokes – I’m limited to 20 minutes of night-life/holiday/job inquisition.

But it can still be a loooonnng 20 minutes…

Comment by Ant

I liked this A LOT. Slick segue into the Sex and the City reference … oh, and could you do a post on the painless sugaring of the bikini line article? Thanks ever so! *practices fake British accent for UC’s blog* xoxo

rtmvf: holiday beverage

Comment by mireille

Mr. Chick here. For the record: I do, in fact, like football. A LOT!

Comment by Mr. Chick

liar liar pants on fire!!

now hurry up and make my dinner…

Comment by Urban Chick

Ahhh Memories , I used to have hair….

Now I have a grade 1 all over, not going bald or grey, it’s for medical reasons.

used to have hair down to my elbows, all the better to head bang with…then I got Psoriasis and need to get light to my scalp to keep it down :o(

Comment by Aginoth

Im so jealous… I just spend $80 and got the worst haircut known to man.

Comment by Heather

That’s so hilarious because it’s so true! I love my hairdresser and have been going to him for ages, but he asks too many damn questions, and he asks the same ones every time! Surly, I wash my hair when I get home because the stuff they use reeks. It’s sort of coconutty. The smell stays in for days. By the way, my hairdresser said his scissors cost $500US, so I can understand why one would be upset at losing his.

Comment by Jenny G

Had my hair cut two days ago. Over here, the stylist also washes your hair. The guy is really pretentious but when he started to grill me on what I had been reading I said “Twelve step books mostly” and he piped down. He matched the short parts to the length of my beard, and then I went home and shaved off the beard.
Now most of my face is naked.

Comment by Nigel Patel

I’ve been to the hairdresser once in 35 years. That was in 1992. I cut my own hair. No conversations with morons = bliss. 🙂

Comment by Bela

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