The other morning, I decided it was time to get my hair cut. Not only did my hair feel limp and unhealthy, after a certain point I realised this makes you feel gloomy too. A messy lop of hair following you around, like a sad, wild cat limping about the dustbins.
You can understand why I felt I needed to take action.
I went to a cute salon just off the Spanish Steps, where a bouncy, Bulgarian woman removed my coat and scarf with a flick of her wrist, and had me bound to a chair, forcing me to stare rigidly into the mirror at my sleepy face and dark hair that I’d bundled up quickly in a ponytail.
“I went to a cute salon just off the Spanish Steps, where a bouncy, Bulgarian woman removed my coat and scarf with a flick of her wrist…had me bound to a chair, forcing me to stare rigidly into the mirror at my sleepy face…”
My first dilemma: are you meant to dress up fabulously for a trip to the hairdressers?
Technically you are being pampered, and want to look and feel twice as fabulous after – it seems rude allowing someone to diligently touch, cut and buff your hair, without even making the effort to wash it and make it look a little bit nice? I would, at the least, suggest minimal eye-make-up and lip gloss so when staring in said mirror you don’t feel hideous.
During the vigorous shampoo massage, the whole world will sit patiently by your feet, letting you enjoy the humming water wash warmly past your ears. He/She will then quiz you about your head.
“During the vigorous shampoo massage, the whole world will sit patiently by your feet while you enjoy the humming water wash warmly past your ears…”
It is a thrilling moment, where a complete stranger knows your hair so utterly and immediately. Before you even start to talk, the hairdresser has, at James Bond speed and precision, already mustered what you want. Whilst your hand bats around your scalp, motioning in gibberish what you think you want, and describing how you saw someone’s hair somewhere that you think you like – the hairdresser will humour you, nodding and pointing at the right moment. You are inextricably united by a common thought: you KNOW she already knows what you SHOULD have, and you know she knows.
“You are inextricably united by a common thought: you KNOW she already knows what you SHOULD have, and you know she knows”
The extraordinary magic of a hairdresser is that they kindly interpret your hair-womble-blabbing for pure conviction of what you want: after you’ve finished a couple of sentences about ‘trim’ and ‘bouncability’, you will be shut up by them promptly yielding what look like torture devices.
Is it me, or, when said-hairdresser brings out a shiny pair of angular ‘scissors’, a thought darts into your head:
“They look like normal, kitchen scissors?”
“Oh these?” She/He replies – “These are not scissors.”
“Oh? My mistake, I thought-”
“These are Taylors Eye Witness Moulded Handle Hairdressing Cockade Scissors.”
“So – still scissors, would you say?”
You ask about the comb that is thrusted through the scalp: (you thought you had one similar, but it does something altogether so different from that half-snapped stick at home, that it must be from a different ‘comb’ family altogether.)
Should you question where it is from:
“Ah, this isn’t actually a comb.”
“They are utensils made from high-end heat-resistant materials with handcrafted, rounded teeth. There are, of course, ionic properties within it, and it is clearly rigid, made from 100% natural rubber with an ergonomical rounded comb spine.”
“So, before it’s combing days, it was a small, recycled car?”
She didn’t like my joke.
I only asked because I wanted to understand how some of this luxury can be brought to my bed-side table, without spending away my next trip home to see my family.
As the episode drew on, I kept my head buried in a magazine, worried I’d annoy her with questions and ignorant comments.
Every glance the lady and I exchanged, hummed with the sentiment:
“I know you better than you know yourself. So just shut up will you and stop moving your head?”
Then there is the moment when, even though you’ve been asked nicely to lower your forehead, revealing the delicate hairline, you want to peek at what is going on. Just to check. In case. You know. It is your head. Then comes a ferocious yank where the lady has had it up to here with you. The yank makes you feel three-foot small, and a child. Eyes lowered, you are forced again to stare at falling waves of dark hair tumbling to the floor in slow motion, reaching a silent and doomed end on the sticky, beige floor.
You are almost there: but you can’t go until several buckets of products are poured on your crown, narrowly missing your face and burning your eyes. I paid what felt like a small fortune. However, when I got out into the sunlight, which glanced off my curls and shine, I got several head turns in the street AND a compliment from the Italian mamma.
So, I felt as smug as if I’d just won Head of the Year 2014.