Hair Today …

Hairdressers are rather like husbands.  For the first few years they do exactly what they want and you always feel good afterwards.  Then they get a bit lazy and complacent and suddenly you don’t feel so special any more.  So when that happens, it’s time to start the nightmare search for a new one.  So where do you start?  Is there a Tinder for hairdressers?  Hinder, maybe?  And how do you tell the incumbent that you’re moving on to a younger, trendier salon?  It’s not you, it’s me? And if you don’t tell them, you end up trying to avoid the area for fear of bumping into them sporting a new ‘do’.   It’s a huge dilemma – one I’ve encountered on many occasions over the years.  I knew the false beard would come in handy one day.

There isn’t a high street in the UK now that doesn’t have at least 2 or 3 salons peddling their hairs. It’s an industry that has grown steadily over the years and currently sees no sign of declining.  It was sometime around the end of the 1800s when we slowly started to see the transition from men only barbershops to salons across the civilised world.  In those early days, wealthy women were having their hair styled by their servants.  All a bit Downton Abbey.  The rest of the classes probably just used some carbolic soap and some rusty shears.

The roaring 20s saw almost 25,000 hair salons open in the US. From the 1900s to 20s, bobby pins, hair dryers, perms and hair colour became more and more popular. It was the age of Hollywood movie stars, Jazz and Coco Chanel.  Everyone wanted to look like their idols!  By the 40’s and 50’s, beauty salons became the go-to-place for the housewife to escape from their mundane lives, get pampered and indulge in gossip. Gradually, the hairdressing salon became affordable to the masses and not just the upper classes, eventually combining other beauty services to pamper and preen it’s clientele.

Wartime_Hair_Dresser-_the_work_of_Steiner's_Salon,_Grosvenor_Street,_London,_England,_UK,_1944_D18212

“SO WHERE ARE YOU GOING FOR YOUR HOLIDAYS THIS YEAR?  BUTLINS?  OOH POSH!”

Nowadays, our high streets are awash with them.  Some part of a chain, others with quirky fascias such as ‘Hairport’, ‘A Cut Above’ and my personal East London favourite, ‘Jack the Clipper’.  But how on earth do you choose a good one?  Today it’s easier with social media, reviews and online recommendations but what’s good for the goose isn’t necessarily good for the hairy old gander.  My own personal start point is that, if the hairdresser has bad hair, quite frankly I don’t want them anywhere near mine.  They are basically a walking advert for their profession.  Like I don’t want a dentist with bad teeth or a doctor with weeping sores.  I’m also rather seduced by a cool interior.  1970’s pictures on the wall, office furniture or rubbish towels are also a bit of a sign of apathy. Not always indicative but first impressions etc.  I also like hairdressers to be honest.  If it won’t suit, then please have the decency to tell me.  A stark reminder never to show them a picture of a poodle ever again!

witch hairdresser cartoon

So on a whim, I booked into a trendy Shoreditch salon for a cut and blow. I’d read the reviews, scoured the website and gallery and wandered past on more than one occasion. I could even book online which shows both innovation on their part and total laziness on my part. Tick!  Nothing worse than booking over the phone to a fairly dopey receptionist who gets just about every part of the booking wrong.  Most annoying to find out you’re booked in next Tuesday with Cilla for a perm when you’d asked for a Saturday appointment with Donna for highlights!  That’s happened!  Anyway, I was politely greeted,  ‘gowned up’ by a nice young man and promptly offered a cocktail.  It was after 6pm so why not!  Who doesn’t love a Espresso Martini full of hair!  Anyway, a chat with the Senior Stylist and a rather nice (and faintly disturbing for various reasons) wash and head massage from that nice young man, I was set about with sprays and scissors.  Oh and another Espresso Martini or 3.  Rude not to!  They were friendly, they’ve got dogs, alcohol and nice towels.  By the end I was hair cut, half cut and £65 out of pocket!  But you get what you pay for and I’d definitely go back.

 

Probably when I’ve won the lottery!

x

Washing Machines and Mid life Crises

I’ve just spent a frightening amount of time trying to explain to my daughter about how, one day, she too will get ridiculously excited over a new washing machine. How appliances can be beautiful. Life-changing, even. How she will marvel at their ability to perform such tasks. But somehow I don’t think she was really listening. Or if she was, it was in total disbelief (her eyes were glazed or maybe she was just crying) and eventually she walked off with that look – you know, that ‘I’m going to have you put in a secure home’ – look.

What she didn’t understand was the hell I’d been through with the previous one. It took on a mind of it’s own some time ago. You know, not washing properly, not rinsing, trying to wake the dead! It smelled funny, trundled across the floor, was always getting blocked up (mainly hairbands and chewing gum!) and looked tired and grubby (I know how it felt). It won’t be for some years yet until she realises what pain a sub-standard washing machine can cause.

So when it finally chugged, clunked and spat out it’s last breath, I knew that it was that time. Thank goodness I’m horribly dull and have taken out kitchen plan insurance for just such occurrences. And in no time (actually at 7am on a bank holiday Monday after a party), those nice men from Comet turned up with a new one.

Oh and what a beauty! It’s black, with a brushed silver door. It’s got lights, an LED display and it plays a cute little tune when it’s finished. It’s got about 30 different programmes and Direct Drive! Yes, Direct Drive! I can hear you gasping with envy! I’ve no idea what it is but, trust me, you want it! It’s breathtakingly gorgeous. And once again, washing harmony has been restored.

That was a few weeks ago and since then, on more than one occassion, I’ve sat watching it silently churning as it’s lights twinkle, it quietly spins and eventually sings me a soothing song, telling me in it’s own sweet way that all is well with my whites. And also, I’m accutely aware that somewhere in the house, my daughter is searching the internet for ‘Homes for Lunatics’. Still, as they bundle me into the van, at least my knickers will be clean!

My husband is definitely having some sort of mid-life crisis. He’s bought a pair of skinny jeans, white pumps and swapped Burtons for Ralph Lauren. He’s talked of buying a Porsche, carries a man-bag and has an unhealthy interest in the Polish barmaids in his local pub. Fortunately he is unable to use ‘Regaine’ (something to do with his medication – which in itself, is rather ironic) although a couple of bottles do languish in the back of the bathroom cupboard, for when Magda starts pointing and giggling at his bald patch and he puts hair before care.

I’ve looked into this male menopause issue. Many believe that men go through a midlife crisis when they are in middle age. But apparently, that’s not strictly true. Many middle-aged men do go through midlife crises, but it’s not because they are middle-aged. It’s because their wives are. From the evolutionary psychological perspective, a man’s midlife crisis is precipitated by his wife’s imminent menopause and end of her reproductive career, and thus his renewed need to attract younger women. Therefore, a 50-year-old man married to a 25-year-old woman would not go through a midlife crisis, while a 25-year-old man married to a 50-year-old woman would, just like a more typical 50-year-old man married to a 50-year-old woman. Are you still with me? See, it’s not his midlife that matters, it’s hers. When he buys a shiny-red E-type, Superdry leather bomber jacket and grows a goatee, he’s not trying to regain his youth, he’s trying to attract young women to replace his menopausal wife by flashing his cash and trumpeting his wares.

So it’s all my fault. Clearly my hot flushes, night sweats, clammy hands, irritability, mood swings, sudden tears, insomnia, loss of libido, anxiety, feelings of apprehension and doom, difficulty concentrating, disorientation, mental confusion, disturbing memory lapses, incontinence, itchy skin, headaches, indigestion, flatulence, depression, weight gain, hair loss, increase in facial hair and bad breath are causing him some sort of problem. And as a result, he feels the need to strut around in front of young women, like some aged peacock, doused in Armani.

Well sod it. In my state of disorientation, I shall book myself into the local salon for a facelift, forget to write a will and head off to sunny climes where I intend to task some young Turk with finding my libido.

I may be some time.