Most of us have ‘our’ hairdresser, they know what you like, how you like it and for the most part, you probably look forward to sitting in a chair reading magazines you are normally too embarrassed to buy yourself. Now what if those magazines are not in your language and your hairdresser is relying on handwaving as a form of communication… My Mexican friend actually called her Embassy to ask for recommendations, they did not even flinch and supplied a list of hairstylists. I feel the British Embassy would NOT have done that, I would be too shy to ask, but surely they have other more important stuff going on.
This week I bit the bullet, walked into a hair salon and made an appointment, went back a couple of days later and got a cut, colour and blow-dry. If I tell you that my darling husband did not actually recognise me when he came home and on face-timing my youngest darling daughter, she said “WOW! Mum, have you had hair extensions put in?’ you get the idea, my hair was transformed.
Any woman who has had her hair coloured because she is going grey will understand you need to get it right. I say ‘women’ because George Clooney has done for men’s grey hair what bubbles did to white wine (turning it into champagne). It is desirable! You have to be pretty lucky to have grey hair as a woman and get away with it. So there I am looking at the charts of colours, thinking which one is going to look least awful. I don’t want a colour that looks so chemical it obvious I am trying to disguise the grey, but as I have longish hair, if it is grey, I will look like a witch and won’t need to wear a wig at Halloween. I decided on a colour, the hairdresser looked approvingly at my choice and so I went to the chair.
My hairdresser has some command of English, I learned that she had been in Ireland for some time and learnt her ‘English’ there. She managed to not use the words ‘fecking idiot’ when talking to me, so she must have been in Ireland with foreigners. I was in the hairdressers for three hours, we chatted about all manner of things, she has a boyfriend 12 years older than her, he has three sons, who must be almost her age. They started young back in Communist times, as you got your own 55m squared apartment when you married and started a family. The incentive to move out and get married was pretty high, unlike today, my darling son shows no signs of moving out at all. Back to the chat. She told me it was not just about the sex, which was good, it was his voice she really liked, the way he spoke to her. I heard more details, it was a bit like a scene from ‘Sex in the City’ with girlie chat, which was fun to listen to and then the questions started coming my way. ‘Was I in a happy marriage, having been married for sooooo long?’ My darling husband and I have been married for 25 years, a novelty really, as we did do it all at a rather young age. Sat back in the chair, unable to move or run away I was not comfortable, my cultural persuasion bubbling to the surface. British people: we actually squirm when asked personal questions by people we don’t know, it is bad enough if your best friend who asks you something intimate. I thought she was going to ask if I shaved or waxed, it was all getting a bit much. I am clearly a much better listener than talker. I told her whilst trying to physically shrink into my chair that my darling husband and I still had plenty to say to each other and enjoyed each others company. That was as specific as I was prepared to be. You know the old phase, ‘No Sex Please – We’re British!’
The end result was one of the best hair cuts, colours and styles I have had. The anxiety I experienced before attending this appointment was real, the pleasure at finding a good hairdresser was close to delight. I gave her a big hug, a tip and have made an appointment for Christmas time! All I am dreading now is the question and answer session! It would be much better over a couple of cocktails in a groovy bar. Maybe I’ll suggest that!