Saturday, February 17, 2007

"...booked any holidays yet this year?"

So. Yesterday I got my hair cut.

Is it just me, or are hairdressers' mildly stressful places?

First of all, I had to explain what I wanted 'doing'. And I haven't learned hairstyle language. "Make it shorter and tidier" is always my response, illiciting a sweet smile that says: "you are very dull indeed and clearly rather insufficient..."

Then they washed my hair in a basin and I wondered if my neck would ever recover.

At the cutting stage, you have to negotiate the disconcerting extremes of hairdresser behaviour. Some 'stylists' (did you notice that? That's the correct word, that is) talk incessantly and compel me to pretend to be deeply interested in things that, in reality, bore me to tears. Or they ask a barrage of questions, the answers to which confirm their suspicion that I am extremely odd.

Or else they don't speak at all, thus forcing me to gab away asking them questions that are probably equally confusing and uninteresting....

There's also the issue of being offered a drink. Aaargh. Yesterday I was thirsty and requested a squash when the chance arose. But just when are you supposed to take a glug? They place the cup on a table below the mirror in front of you, just out of reach without having to move your head. And they're cutting your hair, so you can't move your head. So the drink sits there, possibly getting cold. Often I just leave it, untouched. Yesterday I gulped the whole thing down while trying to pay. Probably dribbled a bit. But by then their opinion of me was so low that I'm sure it didn't matter.

After the cutting, I was asked what I thought about my new hair. "It's the same but neater" I wanted to say. But this seemed ungrateful. Instead I mumbled, as always, "very nice, thanks". What would happen if I ever hated it, I do not know. Probably "very nice, thanks."

Finally, can someone please tell me if you are supposed to leave a tip? To me, a hair cut seems way too expensive already. But I'm sure I'm not imagining the look of mild hatred and disdain that I'm usually given when I pay the exact amount and no more, waiting for 50p change if necessary?

I don't know.

Don't have to go through it again for a few months, at least.


Anonymous said...

I know its generally different for blokes, but I had a particularly odd hair cut experience once. It was a few years ago and I was living in London, Stoke Newington to be exact. There was a hair cutting place on Newington Green so I went in to have my hair cut (shorter and neater). I was surprised to discover that I had to make an appointment for a few days time rather than sitting and waiting on a dirty sofa. In fact so surprised that I forgot to ask how much it would cost (big mistake as it turned out). I turned up at the required time and rather than sitting in one of those seats that go up and down, I was shown to a wicker chair in the window, given a cup of tea and had to talk about my hair. Very uncomfortable. I probably got a good haircut out of it, but funnily enough, for my next haircut I went to one of those places with the red and white striped pole and the dirty sofa where you sit and wait.

Anonymous said...

Yes yes yes! How am I supposed to drink it if you shout at me everytime I move my head? And you're the hairdresser, you're the one who knows about hair. I just want to make me look cool, I don't want to use words like 'layered' and''sharpened'. I don't know what they mean. I don't know how much you should cut off. You tell me. And don't ask me where my parting goes. What if I've been doing it wrong? What if it looks stupid there? Put it where you think it should go. It's only hair, and if you mess it up, I'll just go somewhere else next time. And what's wrong with the colour of my hair? I've always liked the colour of my hair. It's the only thing I like about my appearance and you want me to change it? You think it's not dark and glossy and shiny enough? I've always prided myself on its dark and glossy and shinyness.

Don't tell me it's now too late to grow my fringe out for my wedding. Why raise the subject at all if you're just going to make me feel bad for not coming to you five minutes after the proposal? Sorry, but I've had one traumatic experience already and I've got two more to go in the next few weeks.

So, going anywhere nice on holiday this year...?

Mel said...

I never know where to look at the hairdressers. Are you meant to sit there staring at yourself in the mirror like some kind of Narcissus, or watch someone coming at your ears with scissors. I'm not really tempted by the celebrity magazines and even if I was, I'd get aching arms from holding them up in the air so I could keep my head in the position it's meant to be in.

I never bother with the tea or coffee as I think I'd feel more under pressure to give a tip if I'd had a drink there too.

Anonymous said...

Thank you! I thought it was just me who didn't know about the tipping thing, and have been too afraid to ask anyone in case I seemed really tight!

Anonymous said...

You're supposed to tip???