A truth universally acknowledged: a good haircut can make or break your day, mood and life for the foreseeable future.
Since a radical breakup-cut a year ago (we’ve all been there) which left it layered, choppy, and screaming “I’m my own woman, as you can see through this impulsive decision”, my hair has been untouched by professional hands. Several nights of frustration and begging my friends to cut it with the kitchen scissors, using a fork as a comb to minimise the damage, wielded nothing but regret the morning after: finally, it was time to take responsibility for the uncontrollable mess on top of my head.
I should note that I went to the hairdressers wearing a hat, having not brushed my hair for several days, mainly because of who I am as a person. My second mistake was the assumption that the state of my hair would not be mentioned.
As I sat in the chair, pondering – as I often do – if a buzzcut would revolutionise my life or if it would make me permanently cold, out walked the woman I now know to be my arch nemesis. Let’s call her Susan.
Susan began our interaction by looking extremely concerned, letting out an audible sigh at the sight of my damaged hair, and then laughing. Not exactly the approach I would have taken, but each to their own. Her laughing continued throughout the hour I spent with her, and I couldn’t decide if she was laughing at me or with me. She then took up a mirror to show me the back of my hair, and how “ahem… different (!)” it looked from the front, due to several botched attempts to even out the breakup layers.
Tell me something I don’t know, Susan.
I began to regret my decisions to not brush my hair, to come to the hairdressers, and to have been born. As Susan yanked her wonderful hairdresser comb through my embarrassing, knotted, roots-growing out, fab-lolly-esque array of coloured hair, all I could do was think about the better things I could be doing with my time.
I think the highlight of the experience came when Susan was washing my hair. Now, I’m no expert, but I do believe that washing someone else’s hair is a strange and intimate experience in itself, so I was hoping the barrage of ego-destroying comments from Susan would end.
But as Susan rigorously massaged my scalp and I prayed that I had not recently developed dandruff, she stopped abruptly and turned the showerhead off. “So,” she began, “this here that I’m using is called conditioner. Have you heard of conditioner?”
It would have hurt less if she had stabbed me in the scalp and charged me £30, to be perfectly honest.
To Susan’s credit, my hair is less of a train-wreck thanks to her brutal technique and clearly qualified hairdressing skills.
But to any budding hairdressers out there, I implore you to treat every head of hair – even the most desolate case – with a bit of kindness and TLC. Don’t be a Susan.