Friday, April 5, 2013

A Cutting Remark

I don’t like having my haircut.

First of all, it seems like a terribly intimate thing for a complete stranger to be doing to me: removing bits of my body. Ok, dead bits, but still! Well, not strictly dead: non-living. It never was living. But still! They are touching my head, moving me this way and that.

And they are talking to me. This too is a terribly intimate thing for a complete stranger to be doing to me! And I maintain that they are complete strangers, because I have my hair cut as rarely as possible. Even if it is the same person again, they will not remember me. Usually it is not the same person, because I go to one of those really cheap, quick hairdressers, and the staff turnover is pretty high. So they ask me questions, and I try to answer, but pretty soon the conversation withers. So now I am imprisoned in an uncomfortable silence with a complete stranger. They will think I am unfriendly and dull. The fact that I am unfriendly and dull is beside the point. It hurts that (yet another) complete stranger thinks so.

Before even the touching and (non-)talking begins, there is the terrifying question: How would you like it cut? “Well,” my usual response is, in an attempt at the same pathetic joke that I always try, and which, no doubt they have heard from thousands of people before, “shorter.” What else am I supposed to say? It’s what I want. I am really boring when it comes to hair. I just want it shorter because, at the moment, it is too long. It gets untidy when it is too long. It grows frizzy bits. It’s quicker and easier to wash when it’s short. It doesn’t get untidy in the wind. I know that untidy seems to be popular at the moment, and that achieving just the right appearance of untidiness requires a great deal of skill and costs a great deal of money. But untidiness is not for me, at least as far as my hair is concerned. And my untidiness would almost certainly be precisely the wrong kind of untidiness. No. Simple and low maintenance is for me.

So eventually they show me the final product, back and front, and I make suitable grunting noises and smiley shapes with my mouth. Then I pay, relieved to have that over with, and at not having to go through it all again for several months.

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