Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A little light hairdressing

Ever since I can remember I've spent a fortune on my hair. Shaping, colouring. you name it. Only once did I ever get a perm. The children laughed and mercifully, it fell out after about two weeks. Ever since the grey stuff started appearing, I've become a one-woman supporter of the British chemical industry. And I get to read "Hello" magazine.

I had a shampoo and set once. I got married in 1976 when long curved bobs were fashionable. Yes, before Jennifer Aniston. I wanted to have the long fringe gently curled so that it swept away from my face. The hairdresser picked up strands of my hair and, after sucking in her cheeks, muttered that it was very fine and probably wouldn't take a curl. I suggested that a little curl would do and that she could glue it in place with some hairspray. No, wouldn't do she said. So she trussed my hair up in large rollers at the back and five small ones at the front. And then she stuck me under the dryer. When I emerged, hot and bothered my hair felt crisp . The hairdresser teased the rollers out but my hair didn't change shape. At the back there were four large hairy turds and the front sported five frizzy chipolatas. The hairdresser tried bravely to hide her dismay and announced that it would all brush out. So, she set to work to beat it with a brush. Ten minutes in she had to pause for a rest. While she stood there panting, they rebounded into their respective poo/sausage shapes. Mercifully, it was only the practice run.

My mother was grey by the time I can remember her clearly. It may, of course, have had something to do with my arrival. But anyway, there she was, grey and permed all my life. In between perms, she would have a shampoo and set. She was always horrified by the amount of time and money I spent to end up with essentially straight hair. At least she was paying for it to be curly.

In the early nineties, we were going to a family "do". My mother was staying and we were a houseful for dinner the night before. We had all been to the hairdresser and were sitting at the table beautifully coiffed. My hair was smooth and sculpted; my mother's shiny and curly. A fine example of the art of the shampoo and set. As we chatted over dinner, she remarked about the cost of the shampoo and set and how it was much more expensive than at home. Once she'd started this theme, she wasn't going to let it go. The indignation synapse had been triggered and she was on a roll.

She moved on to the amount I had paid for my not-curly hair. Since there was much less artistry and no curlers, she was aghast that my visit had cost more than hers. By now, she had the attention of everyone around the table.

"Go on," she spluttered, "tell us how much you pay for a cut and blow job"

Madette nearly inhaled her salad. The other guests snorted and immediately sprang into polite embarrassed conversation. Junior Mad looked baffled.

Later, in the kitchen, she gave me a hard stare and asked why everyone had smirked and looked awkward. I shuffled my feet a bit and then muttered "You said blow job not blow dry".

Eighty years of limpid innocence gazed back at me.

"Are they different?", she asked.

Right. I'm off to the hairdresser. A rather lovely Japanese place with a super stylist. I'll just ask them to leave it to dry on its own ...


  1. I have major problems with my last hairdresser. They charged me the full amount for highlights whilst only actually colouring a few inches at the top of my head. Not to mention how hard it is for them to understand the phrase 'I'd like it layered, about to here *indicates*'.

    And no hairdresser can solve my horrendus amount of split ends.

  2. In the 60's my sister Chris and I used to "iron" each others hair..with the iron and on the ironing board. So many things have change. I too was obsessed with straight hair.


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