With My Head Held Low

I tried to get my hair done today. I tried and I failed.

I have bad hair, but it is not wild. It is not madly frizzy, or orange. It is just light brown with a few strands of grey that is currently cut into a bad bob by the last bad experience I had at the salon.

I hate going to the hairdressers and for this reason I go to a place that is everything a hairdresser is not. There are no bookings. There is a list of things that can be done, which are all individually priced, like a Chinese menu. There is a huge rotating staff so you never get the same stylist twice.

No matter how anonymous the experience, though, it can not ever give me back my time. It robs me of a couple of hours that I could be using to watch paint dry, which would be a whole lot more fun.

I got there at peak disorganized family time. I had stupidly theorized that as the last two weeks had been school holidays all the mums and kidz (yes I spelt that with a z on purpose) would have had their hair cut, but I was wrong. The place was heaving. The receptionist, or ‘hair traffic controller’ as she is officially called, gave me a ticket and asked me to come back in half an hour.

When I came back they were still busy, but instead of asking my name and finding my colour card, she asked me to sit down on a bench. I looked at the chaos in the salon and then looked at the floor, which was preferable. On the floor was a small plastic box filled with random toys that looked like they had been stolen from a charity shop. One of them was a plastic monstrosity in bright pink. It was some sort of princess amphibious transport unit. It had a bright pink hull, giant wheels that looked like biscuits that has been decorated in coloured icing by a five year old, a seat with some sort of seat belt, presumably to keep the princess safe when the vehicle picked up speed and a pink canopy with gold edging. It was frightful.

Finally, I got to sit down, knowing that I still had at least two hours of white flourescent light and my jowly face in the mirror to look forward to. The stylist had blue hair. She took ages finding my card and then asked me in some detail what colours I wanted.

‘The ones on the card, ‘ I said.

Then she got all technical and started asking me questions. I tried to remain calm and told her I did not know what she was talking about and to just give me whatever the card said. She brought a rack of hair colours and laid them before me like a row of tiny horses’ tails.

Then it got worse. She asked me about the cut and I replied I wanted it shorter at the back. I actually knew the technical term for this: a graduated bob, but I did not any to encourage her any further. She was lovely, but by now I could see a calendar in my mind’s eye, with the pages of each month peeling off and floating away like they do in the movies. She told me for a cut like that, she would need to blow dry my hair.

I said I did not want my hair blow dried.

She said she did not think she could do the cut without blow drying it. I said,

‘Do not do the cut, then. Just cut it straight. Actually just do anything but TALK’

(I didn’t say that last bit, but my face may have, just a little bit.)

She went away and then came back with al sorts of things scribbled out and amended on the Chinese menu. It came to nearly $180.00.

That may not seem too much to normal people, but I have been going there for a while and the cut and T-section of foils has never cost that much. When I queried why I had been charged for long hair, she said it was because my hair was touching my shoulders so it qualified as long.

A better person would have risen above it, or calmly queried the quote further. I am not such a person.

‘You know what? I said, ‘forget about the colour. I will just have the cut.’

She was very nice about it and snipped my hair quickly. My fringe is now out of my eyes and my hair is off my shoulders. But I feel bad. I feel I have failed totally. It takes me such a long time to get around to going to the stupid hairdressers and now I have just prolonged it further, and even though the girl was very nice, I can not help feeling we both lost during that transaction, even though she did not seen to care.

But I cared. I cared enough to cancel my hair and now it looks short and awful instead of a little longer and awful. It was just that somehow, sitting in that chair I felt just like that stupid princess boat so I did the only thing I could and left, ate an ice cream and watched season five of Girls again.

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