So after a week of tonsillitis and vomiting, I figured I needed a nice relaxing afternoon at the hairdresser. One which involved having cold, stinky-nappy smelling concoctions daubed over my unsuspecting scalp. All while sipping tea and catching up with the latest celeb gossip.
I have auburn hair, but only in direct light. One of the jollies about growing older is the terrible realisation that redheads don’t go grey, but beige streaked with grey or greige. It may be the colour of the moment, but not when it describes your face and hair combo. Not so much pale and interesting, as half baked. Also I’m broke for various non fun related reasons. Nothing to do with high or loose living. Oh all right – it’s because I’m saving for either a freehold buyout or a lease extension and it’s costing a bomb. And my car has just started flashing engine emoji, so I’m gritting my teeth for a monstrous bill. Also (horrors!) the Girl has discovered the thrill of the swishy blow dry. My fault – after years of my mother cutting my hair with bacon scissors (my dad came home one evening and said, ‘you look like Joan of Arc!’. I hoped he meant Ingrid Bergman but it was more likely to be Cadfael. And I was right. All I needed was the polished stone to complete that Medieval Monk look.) So I swore I would always let my own children have proper hairdresser cuts. Madness. At the age of eleven and with hair that only an enchanted sword could get through, the Girl loves her blow-dries but they are such a pain in the arse for the poor hairdresser, she charges adult prices.
I read in the paper that a dental nurse recently carried out an AMATEUR FACELIFT – two words you hope will NEVER EVER go together like ‘gum’ and ‘peanuts’ or ‘Trump’ and ‘President’. But given that hair colouring can easily cost up to £300 in London, I sometimes go to those model night places and have a student hairdresser colour my hair. I’ve done it twice now and as long as you take some basic precautions, it’s fine. I usually go through Gumtree, find a salon that’s doing what I want, and check how much. Some people become unreasonably annoyed that three hours of colouring and tinting costs them a few quid. But come on! A colouring that would normally cost £150 and you’re baulking at £25?!
Then I email with either a picture or a description. Today I asked my lovely hairdresser Amy why she didn’t ask her clients for more details. ‘Because it weeds out the morons,’ she said. ‘If they send a sensible text then I know they’re probably all right.’ Because Amy gets up to a 100 texts she has a lot of weeding through to do. She’s been working at the same salon for a few years and just wants some more experience.
I wondered why Amy kept texting me to check when I would arrive. It turned out that loads of people flake on her. Anyway I showed up in the bustling market of Leather Lane and there was The Lion and the Fox, tucked into the corner of Hatton Wall. Half art gallery, half indie hairdresser, with scrubbed wooden floors, and metal lamps but not in that intimidating ‘conceptual’ way. Delicate watercolours of birds festooned the white walls and the hairdressers had normal haircuts and smiled! I’m always put off by salons where the people who work there look as if they’ve gone a bit mad with pink dye and a chainsaw.
We got the worst bit over first. That’s where you sit on a chair and look enviously at a lady whose appointment is coming to an end and the hairdresser is joshing up her already perfect hair. Meanwhile your hair is being poked at and lifted like a pathologist picking through a particularly gruesome corpse. Amy had glorious natural red hair so when she asked what colour I wanted, I mumbled, ‘yours.’ Then realising how pathetic I sounded, I said, ‘sort of auburn and I don’t mind a bit of grey. But not burgundy.’ The male hairdresser next to me who was busy primping and joshing his client laughed and said, ‘I call that Bustop Burgundy because I see so many elderly ladies with that awful colour.’ We then had a very cheering bitch about the fact that burgundy didn’t suit Cheryl Cole who is utterly gorgeous but not even she could make that colour look anything other than straight out of a box of Superdrug Mauve Mist or whatever they call it.
So we finally decided on colours and for the next three hours I sat looking at some shockingly ugly clothes in Vogue. Culottes?! Padded bomber jackets? Deliberate Cadfael haircuts?! Apparently there’s a Dutch model called Kiki who was ‘boring’ before she cut her fringe with scissors and now Noam Chomsky wants to sit at her feet. Or something. Every now and again, bits of foil were wrapped round my hair, or pulled off and I lay back while stuff was glooped through my hair.
I went back to Heat and learned that Kim has been to see a divorce lawyer. And Jeremy Corbyn is no 24 in the Heat weird crush league. Apparently it’s the saucy shirt collars that do it. Game of Thrones season six is on the way and Jon Snowe is probably not dead. When I next looked up I was being joshed and my hair had a shiny cohesive look. There were little gleaming sections of slightly brighter colour all blended and toning with the overall shade. Swish swish! Amy also performed a cracking blow dry which she didn’t have to do. I paid £25 for this three hour service and gave her a large tip. But really, that wonderful smug gleaming swishness is priceless.