Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Death by a Thousand Haircuts

I don't like going to hairdressers. No, I mean I really don't like going to hairdressers.

It's hard to say what I dislike the most: the aimless chit-chat; the scalp-scalding water in the obligatory wash (no matter if you've given it a good scrub that very day); or the realisation that the final result (plumped up helmet of hair, rendered stickily immobile with spray/gel and 30 minutes of grueling blow-dry action) is definitely Not Me.

When I finally manage to convince myself that my long-hair patience is at an end, it's usually partially due to having seen someone at the local mall with a stunning short hairstyle. "That's the one!" I say to myself, "It looks so natural! So casual! So unpretentious, and lacking in hair-care products!". With such inner urgings, I get myself to a salon which doesn't look like it specialises in crew-cuts for $5, seat myself in the almost-comfortable chair, and start stammering out what I want. Now - I've never really learnt much in the way of hair-care jargon besides the term 'layered'. And I only know this term, because I was a child of the 80s and layering was all the rage back then (I also know of the term 'perm', and am forever grateful that one was denied me during my fraught teenage years. Think of all the photographs which would have needed burning!).

What I mean to say, without rambling on too much longer, is that it's jolly hard to describe what you want, when you don't have the right words for it, and when your hairdresser (unfortunately) wasn't with you that day down at the mall. So, I'm often forced to fall back on the stock of hairstyle books kept on the premises, to find something like.

I don't know if you've ever browsed one of these books, but they are to hair, what the catwalks in Milan are to casual house-attire.

I mean, COME ON! If I wanted to spend 5 hours a day oiling my cerulean hair extensions, or ironing my perfect 35 degree slide-cut, then don't you think I would have teetered into your salon in a pair of these?

As it is, eventually the despairing hairdresser moves me onto the Gossip Mags, where I have half a hope of spotting a celebrity with a coiffure not too far off the mark. "I guess sorta .. that one?" I say, pointing to a picture of Jodi Foster, all square-jawed and perfect teeth. "That's kind of what it looked like..". The hairdresser is relieved to finally be doing something, and so whisks out the scissors and starts snipping away. And here comes the problem. In my tiny, sorry, addled mind - I don't see myself finishing up as me with shorter hair, oh no. With the change in hairstyle, my chin strengthens, my eyebrows thin, and with the moderate application of some hair grooming implements, I am no longer me - I am Jodi Foster. So you can imagine my disappointment, when the hairdresser ceases their ministrations with a flourish, and turns to me with a breathless "What do you think?"

Yes, I smile, I nod, I pay up and leave, and fervently wish I had a hat I could pull on to cover the over-styled atrocity perched atop my head.

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