It’s 9.30pm on a Wednesday night and I've just gotten home from the worst hair salon experience of my life. Now, I understand that previous sentence is almost exactly the definition of a First World Problem but bare with me. It is bad. To paint a word picture, I now look like a pissed off bleach-blonde scarecrow and right now, I cant see the light at the end of this unevenly cut tunnel. In the famous words of Hilary Duff, let’s go back…back to the beginning…
I began using this particular salon (who I will not name because I am too lazy to find a new salon and will probably go back there for my next trim. I hate me.) around 18 months ago when my lovely ex-flatmate Sophie recommended it to me. She gave it a great review by informing me that its nearby, reasonably priced for London and they ply you with free booze while you get pampered, she had me at free booze but I pretended to be pumped for the location and price. Needless to say, I have been a loyal customer for the better part of 2 years now and have always left happy and tipsy. That didn't happen today though, they really fucked me this time. Not even a free chilled Pinot Grigio could heal this ugly wound.
So I arrived at the salon for my appointment full of vigour and after a quick flick through Hello magazine, I was greeted by my stylist who never actually told me her name (convinient…) but she had the thickest French accent which made general communication quite difficult. Not ideal when this person is meant to be hacking at your head based purely on your verbal requests but hindsight is a real bitch, isn’t it?! We began our appointment with her assessment of my current hair situation - she just continually said the word ‘dry’ while touching my hair with as much enthusiasm as a person picking up dog shit, the disgust in her eyes when she had the task of touching my barnet with her bare hands was palpable. I told her that I hadn't washed it for a while and it had a lot of dry shampoo in it but she was having none of it and spent 10 minutes trying to sell me every overpriced conditioning product they stock. I just kept nodding and saying ‘Yeah, I already own that. I bloody love it’ in between mouthfuls of white wine. She was like a sexy French dog with a bone. After what felt like a lifetime of her giving me the hard sell, I explained to her that I wanted a long bob with a slightly shorter fringe that could be swept to the side. She immediately argued my choice in an aggressive tone and kept telling me to have my hair longer and flat out said no to my fringe idea, I just awkwardly laughed and said ‘yeah…I still want it though’ until she painfully agreed. I reiterate, I did not receive that desired hairdo and now look like Angelina Jolie in ‘Girl Interrupted’.
She took me over to the sink so she could wash my hair, it all seemed pretty standard at first but then she began to give me a head massage and things went south. After a couple of minutes of scalp foreplay, I became paranoid that this procedure was going on far too long and it became practically pornographic (well, as pornographic as a head massage can be), my ears were continually lovingly touched and she petted my head intensely like I was her fuck buddy. When I say it went on too long, I’m talking 10 or so minutes of silent head caressing. After I came, we headed back to my designated salon seat so she could ruin my life. I decided to explain again exactly what I wanted but I assume I was just a human fog horn to her by this point, my request might as well have been a fart in the wind. She smiled and nodded while she secretly planned my demise and then went to town on my mop. She brushed my hair out, furiously towel dried it to within an inch of its life and then asked me to stand up. ‘Okay?’, I thought it was so she could get a good view of my hair before she began but no, I was very wrong! She proceeded to cut my hair in the middle of this busy salon while I stood in front of her. I can’t explain in words how uncomfortable I was. No one else was receiving a stand-up-snip and we were legitimately in peoples way (I know this because she paused her massacre roughly 20 times so she could move out of peoples walk way), people stared, I looked like the most awkward human alive and it felt like it went on for 9 hours. My inner monologue mocked me, my unwillingness to ask what the fuck was happening and the obvious uncertainty for what I should do with my arms…hold them at my side? do a sassy hand on the hip motion to tell the room I was okay with what was happening? The embarrassment finally ended, she pointed at my chair so I could sit and then gestured a lot while giggling and saying ‘so much hair on your back now’…yeah, you nutcase! Because you cut my hair standing up! The only response I could conjure at the time was ‘Yeah, weird, right?! HAHAHA’. Her final act of aggression was focused on my poor fringe. She cut it a lot shorter than agreed which was evident by the fact that gravity took over and the hair was sticking up like in the film ‘There’s Something About Mary’. This proved my earlier assumption that she zoned out while I passionately explained (with the added use of pics from google) my dream hairdo. As the cut was coming to an end, I drank the last of my glass of wine and my hairstylist supreme let out a huge obnoxious laugh. I smiled at her, acting as if I was in on the joke and she said 'you drink so much!', I couldn't believe it. I'd had one glass of wine and this broad is acting like I'm Amy Winehouse! I just politely smirked and said 'Yeah, it's been a long day, needed to take the edge off' which met a plain vapid response of 'K.', to her I was a walking bottle of booze so I let it go and just said mean shit about her in my head. Satisfying.
She spun me around enthusiastically in my chair for the final result to be revealed. My face dropped. I couldn’t hide my hatred but thanks to my inherent fear of complaining and that glass of wine, I word vomitted ‘Thanks!! It’s great!’. Clocking my actual feelings via my facial expression, she had a slight panic and hurriedly attempted to restyle the fringe. It was a game she wasn’t going to win, the deed was done and there wasn’t enough hairspray in the world to stop me from looking like overly-gelled 12 year old boy at a school disco. I got up and said ‘Thanks again!’ and then gave this establishment money for what can only be explained as a hate crime against my head. Due to hating how flat my hair is after salon visits, I had the bright idea to pack a beanie hat in my bag for my journey home and holy fuck it was a blessing. As I waited for my printed receipt (you know so I can be reminded not only on bank statements but also in my wallet that I paid for this new look), I grabbed my beanie out of my bag. The lady behind the counter stared at me like I’d just taken a dump on the till, ‘It’s so cold out and I’m walking home’ as the words flew out of my mouth, it dawned on me that she hadn’t actually asked why I had put a hat on and she was most likely looking at me funny because I was covered in my own clippings from my stand up cut. I raced home on the Northern line and barely took my coat off before I had shoved my head under the shower, I wet this disastrous do and hoped for the best. Spoiler alert: water cured nothing and I still look nuts.
So back to the present and here I am, looking like someone who is in the midst of a mental breakdown and decided to cut their own hair. I know it will grow back. I know I will wake up at 4am tomorrow to allow at least 3 hours to style it before I have to go outside and see other humans. I know that my lovely work pals, roommates and friends will say nice things about my gross hair because they are good people. I know there are bigger problems in the world and this has been a nice little distraction from my actual issues that can’t as easily be solved by simply waiting for time to pass/getting a dope wig. Believe me, I know all of this but for tonight I will wallow in self pity and listen to episodes of my favourite podcast ‘The Guilty Feminist’ so I can be reminded that I shouldn't care about my looks while crying about my looks. Swings & Roundabouts.