Haircuts and other social dilemmas
So I feel like going to the hairdressers is supposed to be a really relaxing, me time treat. A relaxing, rejuvenating experience. I try reallyhard to enjoy it, I really do put in the work, but I just don’t. I’ve got a few issues, here goes:
The lighting. Oh my goodness there is nothing that robs your last grain of self esteem like the lighting in a hair salon. Spots I didn’t know I had stand like beacons on my face, I suddenly realise I haven’t plucked my eyebrows quite as carefully as I thought and the bags under my eyes burst through from their concealer/foundation/powder hide away.
I’m a hair wash every 3 days kinda girl. Time is money people. And so I always time a hair cut with the third day, no point washing it unnecessarily. Time. Money. This is the approach I take every time and EVERY time I regret it. My hair at this point is so full of dry shampoo that when they pull the hair tie out it doesn’t actually move, just sits there in its faux ponytail stance. You can see the hairdresser combing through it, an eyebrow raised, trying to make as little contact as possible and I sink into the chair in shame.
They stand there, pulling their hands through your matted mane and ask what cut you’d like, you quietly explain you just like a small trim, an inch tops- ‘you know, just to get rid of the dead ends’ to which I have had the reply many times ‘we’ll need to take off MUCH more than an inch if you want to tackle your split ends’.
Then it’s time for the sink hair wash. Oh the sinks, the strange contraptions that can only be described as some sort of neck torture. Are you comfortable? ‘yes’ you whisper, whilst putting in 80% of the work to hold your head up, leaving the other 20% to the lazy, ill positioned sink. You lie there, slightly levitating and supporting your own head. Then the water starts, ‘how’s the temperature?’, 'fine thanks’. Fine thanks? Every time, my answer is the same. Today the water was so hot I honestly thought I was losing a layer of my scalp and still the British in me couldn’t bring myself to be so forward as to say ‘excuse me you’re actually burning my head off’- its not like I’m paying for the luxury or anything.
My local hairdresser has recently got a bit fancier and have invested in some massage chairs for whilst your having your scalp scolding wash. It was partly lovely and partly reminded me of when Jet lies horizontally in our bed and knees me in the back, or pokes my shoulders- right in under my shoulder blade.
Then they do the clever towel turban trick which I can never pull off at home and escort you back to your seat. Do you let them lead the way? Do you walk ahead? Somany social questions. They’ve usually got pretty emphatic with the lathering of the shampoo and so my makeup now starts an inch in to my face. There’s a nice clear line down my cheek where my bronzer suddenly begins. And the unforgiving light won’t let me forget it.
Then the main event, the actual haircut, the reason you’re there, despite all the faff around it. Do you chat, do you not? I find it’s all or nothing, you can never just chat a little. I’ve tried both approaches and find both equally uncomfortable. You look pretty stoney faced if you whip out a book and don’t utter a word, especially when they need to cut your fringe and they spin your chair round and kind of straddle your knees and breathe in to your face. That feels like the kind of time you put your book down. Or you chat and find out all about their family and their holiday and their dog, which is all lovely but youleave feeling like you need a lie down and a strepsil.
The hair cut itself tends to be fine. Unless of course you want them to cut your hair in to the style you asked for. That apparently is something hairdressers don’t like to do?
Some of my favourite comments I’ve had from hairdressers whilst cutting my hair:
‘your hair is naturally very… *searches for the right word* frizzy’
‘have you ever been in a fire? Or had a serious medical illness?’ –in reference to my excessive amount of baby hair
Then the blowdry. Okay the blowdry I can deal with. It’s always lovely and always so much better than my feeble attempts at home. Although if I ask for straight it ends up super-poker-slick-straight straight and if I ask for wavy I end up looking like I’m channelling my best 50’s movie star attempt.
I often forget how glam you feel after a blowdry. Today it was raining so I threw on my mumsy-anorak, which fitted well with my matted, dry shampooed ponytail, but felt slightly odd once I was preened and coiffed. I felt like those toys you rotate around to make different outfits. A movie star hairstyle on a farmer’s body.
Finally it's all done, the tea they brought you has gone cold because you couldn’t quite stretch your arm out far enough to reach it whilst they held your head in place. They get the special look behind mirror thing and show you the back. Yes that is the back of my head. Thanks so much for confirming.
Then to pay, it’s always more than you thought but you’re very British and so you painfully pass over your card and try not to think about your bank balance.
Shall we book your next appointment now? No thanks, I think I’ll wait another half a year, until the memory is distant enough that I think ‘ah I fancy some nice, pampering me time, I think I’ll book a hair appointment’