The luxury of having a haircut? It’s more like a punishment better left for posh pets. I can empathise with those poor dogs that have to be trimmed, washed and primped down to their last woolly toe every few months.
When it comes to going to the hairdresser, I have the same sense of trepidation. Most people love their monthly, weekly or even daily trip to the hair salon. The event is viewed with as much pleasure as sharing coffee and cake with their buddies. I, however, would rather go to the dentist. It starts at the washbasin, where the over-friendly assistant invites me to have a seat. As I am of above-average height, simply getting my neck in position over the basin without my backside falling off the chair takes some fine gymnastic manipulation. So there I lie, strapped into position, like a dog on its back with its vital parts exposed.
Why is it that the hair washers – those unappreciated assistants to whom I trust my most prized physical possession (no, not my hair, my head) – never seem to get the basics of physics right? Like the difference between hot and cold, for example, or hard and soft.
I endure temperatures ranging from scalding hot to freezing cold while my ears are stabbed by fingernails as long as kebab sticks. I admit that I’m as vain as the next person, and prefer knowing everything is in place and colour coordinated. That may explain why I don’t like staring at myself in the mirror for half an hour with wet hair plastered back from my face, covered up to my chin in a neon purple gown.
Sometimes, I just give up and close my eyes. If the hairdresser is hacking off too many split ends, well, what the heck, I’ve survived it before. One more thing about that mirror. I like to have my hair fluffed out and dry to hide a pair of not-so-elfin ears. Yet, as the comb slips through my sleek, wet hair, it clears a direct path to my ears like a rake through a flower-bed. Ms Hairdresser giggles, “Don’t worry, honey, I won’t hurt you!” just like the witch in Hansel and Gretel did.
I appreciate the creative urge in anybody. If you love decorating cakes or painting walls or building sculptures from scrap metal – wonderful. If you want to exercise that creativity on my precious head of hair – not so wonderful. The parting I’ve had since childhood does not appreciate your efforts to move it a centimeter to the left.
I know, because it’s been like that for 30 years. The sticky stuff you’re smearing into my locks is not going to change my mind, and your fancy blow-dry is not going to last longer than the five-minute drive home.
For me the best part about having my hair cut is that for the next two months it can grow and blow in its own haywire fashion, like a dog exuberantly wagging its tail.