How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time, right? Well that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to nibble away at the edges of this big awfulness and hope that one day I look up to find it’s gotten smaller.
I started with the toe nails. Now for another periphery: the hair.
I have quite long, limp hair, simultaneously prone to both greasiness and frizz. It spends most of its time scraped back into a ponytail – a style that does nothing for me (and even less for my increasingly gaunt and care-worn horse-face).
It can look okay if I spend considerable time straightening it or curling it, but THIS LITERALLY NEVER HAPPENS.
I think I like to think of my daily style as a messy ‘mum-bun’, but the truth of the matter is that my hair simply doesn’t have enough volume to achieve the look – it’s more like a disembodied rat’s tail left to curl up and dry.
And it finally occurred to me this week that the reason I have this hair is that Dadoffthenetheredge likes women with long hair.
And now I don’t have to please or appease anyone.
So in the manner of all divorcees I’m going to do something DRASTIC with it – or at least as drastic as one can possibly get with what will essentially be a bob – arguably the world’s most classic/conservative hairstyle.
The trouble is, I do not like going to the hairdresser.
It sets off my social anxiety in several key ways:
1. I’m not trendy enough. I feel the need to apply make-up and put on nice clothes just to enter most establishments – and then I just feel weird about having done so.
2. I do not like having to look at myself in the mirror for extended periods.
3. I don’t like to be touched. On the head. By strange teenagers. And having to make light conversation with them while doing so. WHY IS THIS A THING????
4. I don’t like bending over backwards to get my hair washed, which is either a showing my jugular thing, or the fact I once read an article in Closer (I was at the dentist, honest) about a woman who put her neck out in this position and essentially ended up paralysed 3 days after getting her hair done. This is exactly the kind of shit that would happen to me.
5. Should I accept the coffee? When I know I’m not going to be able to lean forward and drink it whilst my hair is cut? Will it look ruder if I refuse it or if I just don’t drink it? How are other people imbibing this stuff while sitting still underneath someone with scissors??? Why do I care about this??????? And should I care that I care about it?
6. The small talk. Look, my life is really, really, REALLY dull. I literally don’t have anything to say to people that isn’t boring rubbish about children and work. No, I’m not going out this weekend. No, I’m not going on holiday. No, I didn’t watch Eastenders.
To save my own chagrin and the poor hairdresser’s inevitable disappointment, I have in the past taken to just making shit up to try and make everything less awkward for everyone. (I’ve always been prone to a bit of social hyperbole, and I can spin a good yarn, if I say so myself). Trouble is I forget what I’ve said to whom, rendering it impossible to go back to any one hairdresser – who probably wouldn’t remember me anyway because I’m deeply forgettable, AND CLEARLY NOBODY ELSE IS THINKING ABOUT THIS AS MUCH AS I AM.
7. I can’t hear without my glasses. Yes really. I’m as blind as a bat, and while it is always something of a relief to remove them (see no 2), no 6 becomes even more fraught with danger because I have no conversational clues – like what the other person is ACTUALLY saying.
Honestly – with all the hairdryers and background noise you’d be surprised how much you pick up from lip reading your hairdresser in the mirror. Take that away and you’re screwed. (Or at least I am).
It’s that kind of thing where you answer the wrong question, and then your brain catches up, so you realise what they said, and that what you’ve said is therefore stupid, and in my experience there’s no way to recover from that kind of awkwardness besides DEATH.
8. I cannot do confrontation of any sort, ever. They could dye my hair green, shave it off in random patches and set fire to the rest, and I’d still say “Oh lovely!” when they showed me the back in a hand mirror. (I once asked for a hairdresser to take a little more off my fringe. It took me a week to recover).
9. I do not understand the tipping system. I get tipping in restaurants – I know what I’m doing. I don’t get it in hairdressers. Do you add it to the card in the machine? Do you put a couple of quid in the jar? What if there is no jar? What if you don’t have any change? Can you ask for change? How much is the going rate? Do you look like a wanker if you do or if you don’t? Does it go to the stylist or is it shared? WHY ARE THERE NO RULES WRITTEN DOWN FOR THIS STUFF?
10. I already know I will never be able to replicate whatever the hairdresser does, even if I actually like it. So basically the knowledge of my impending failure walks in with me through the door. It is under impending failure conditions that I perform at my very, very worst.
SO ANYWAY –
What I need are your recommendations, Sheffielders!
Given all of the above, where can I go for a hair intervention that is going to cause me the least amount of anxiety – and give me that ‘just stepped out of a salon’ 80s-vidal-sassoon-advert feeling?
I’m going to need someone who can give me some guidance on what will suit me and what my hair will actually DO, and of course what I can actually maintain at home with no hairstyling skills, time, thought or care.
Money is no object (actually it’s a very serious object, but this one is on my lovely Mum).