I write this within the last five minutes of having returned home from a visit to the hairdressers. Now, as most of you will know from your own personal experience of follicle folly, this can be a depressing experience. You enter the hairdressers with a sense of unbounded optimism and a clear set of instructions, cogently impart them to the hairdresser, who intimates to you that they’ve understood them only for them to then demonstrate they haven’t. You sit there, fuming because with the first few snips you’re both aware that a point of no return has been crossed. As irreversible as it is inevitable, you are all too aware that when they’ve finished and show you the back of your head in that mirror, you find nowhere else, and ask you what you think, that you’ll lie through gritted teeth to hasten your arrival home. Once there, you’ll stand in front of the mirror attempting to salvage something halfway decent out of it. And don’t tell me you haven’t because we all have, it’s just that no one admits to it. Because there’s no ombudsman for hairdressers, there’s nothing you can do, they can’t very well make it how it was. And if there was an ombudsman for hairdressers would it be called ‘Ofcut’?
My own experience was not of the usual coiffured calamity of days gone by. With nostalgic affection I look back on my skinhead, my perm, my wedge with highlights….thankfully no photographic evidence exists of these and my many other trichological misadventures which ended up playing tricks on me. Back when the hair that was cut off didn’t land in the gown and serve as a harsh reminder of the passing years, acting like a colour chart of ageing, going from light to dark and then light again. Equally cruel were the photographs of the models on the walls, not only because they were a triumph of optimism that the hairdresser couldn’t deliver upon, but also one knew that one couldn’t afford such rash experimentation. I can’t begin to imagine what goes through the mind of a style conscious old person. Or perhaps it’s more that I don’t want to, because one day I’ll be that old person sitting in the chair looking into a mirror only to get a reflection of recrimination looking back at me.
And wondering where the scissors are going, if the hairdresser near me who used try and perfect his updated version of Sweeney Todd barbering was anything to go by. To a soundtrack of banging techno, he’d flounce around behind me as if he was in a club and then – snip – he’d cut something off. You couldn’t see from where because he was dancing around you in a frankly alarming blur. You went there for a haircut but what you got was hair-raising. Outwardly, one feigned nonchalant indifference to his carrying on but inwardly one was shrieking ‘I pay you earth pounds to cut my hair and not my throat. You cavorting around me like a raver buzzing off his tits whilst clutching a pair of scissors is hardly the Vidal Sassoon School of Hairdressing.’
But today I had a haircut dictated by circumstance, namely the Bell’s Palsy, more specifically the eye patch. The eye patch, which has the benefit of securing my assorted eye paraphernalia in place, but unfortunately because it has an elasticated band, leaves a tramline in my hair. Actually no, not a tramline. Imagine a valley with a dried up river coursing it’s way through it. Well my hair is the valley and the elasticated band the dried up river. This means that my hair looks more unkempt than it normally does. And given that on Monday I’m going to indulge in one of England’s greatest gifts to civilisation, namely afternoon tea at a top London hotel, my hair doesn’t need to look like something the cat dragged in.
Anyone who says afternoon tea isn’t A VERY GOOD THING INDEED clearly hasn’t had one, or if they have had one then it wasn’t any good. I mean, scrumptious sandwiches and even more scrumptious cakes served with unobtrusive efficiency in wonderful settings. Really, how can any sentient being not enjoy that?
I didn’t overly relish the prospect of my hair doing a creditable impersonation of a wearable art installation atop my scalp, entitled ’Delusional Optimism In A Wind Tunnel.’ But given the rather exasperating circumstances I have to work with, my preferred choice – a short back and sides – isn’t really an option. Thanks to my lack of fine motor skills, neatly combing my hair and getting a precise parting just isn’t going to happen. Unless, of course the parting parts company with any accepted notion of what a neat parting on a short back and sides actually means.
So my haircuts have, since my brain injury, been determined by necessity, in this case the overarching desire not to look like a plum. Which isn’t an ideal state of affairs but then neither was brain injury. Therefore I decide upon the most practical hairstyle and not the preferred one. But hey, it’s all for a good cause.
(This so isn’t the thing I’d normally do but hey it’s my blog! So to prove that this is the exception that proves the rule I’d like to give a big shout out to Emily, who stayed at our house this week and who informs me that she reads my blog on her ‘phone.)
And just in case you’re wondering, I got a Number Two crop all over, which is, to save anyone else the trouble of thinking it, highly appropriate. A Number Two for a Number Two!