Got my hair cut today. My hair’s wild, takes on a life of it’s own if I don’t go for a trim every four weeks. I’ve been going to the same guy for years and years; it’s been that long that when I first had him he looked like Vernon Kay, but these days he’s more Peter Kay…
I turn up, sit down and let him do his stuff. I’ve learned over the years it’s best to let him do what suits me best. When he was learning his trade, he told me he went on courses which taught all about different types of hair, shapes of head, face, etc and how best to give styling tips, because what a customer might ask for might not be best advised for his or her Worzel Gummidge type hair. I learned this for myself back in 1985, when I strode into a salon clutching a photo of George Michael (Careless Whisper/Band Aid era) and asked to look like him. An hour or so later, I was more Tina Turner than George Michael?!?!
For many however, a trip to the hairdresser can be particularly traumatic. Maybe it stems from a childhood where a trip to the barbers meant the holidays were at an end and you resented the fact your mum overruled your request for a Phil Oakey wedge with a strict short back and sides instruction to the barber. There’s a walk-in place near me and every time I pass it you can see a line of twitchy men and boys shifting in their seats as they wait for the dreaded “Next!”, for some it’s worse than the dentist. Then, as they take their seat, there’s that uncomfortable opening joust of conversation:
Barber: “What will it be today?”
Punter: “Oh, just a trim…”
Barber: “Wet or dry cut, sir?”
Punter: “Dry please, er, I’m in a hurry”
It then descends into the bog standard conversation lines taught at hairdresser college,
Barber: “Having a busy day?”
Punter: “It was either this or being dragged round Lakeside”
Barber: “Going on holiday soon?”
Punter: “Just back from The Canaries” when he really means he’s been in a caravan at Clacton with the mother-in-law in tow
Punter: “Off out tonight?” I love this one. By now both parties to the conversation are on autopilot, having failed miserably to gain any interaction so far. The twenty-something barber who is ALWAYS out on a Saturday night partying and clubbing asks the question expecting the defensive forty-five year-old sat in front of him has similar plans, oblivious to the fact fact that for him Saturday night means a Chinese, “Strictly…” and “Match of the Day”.
A quick dusting of the neck, an exchange of ten pounds and it’s all over…