What are you doing this weekend?
Having a quiet one
I’m not. I’m going out.
Where are you going?
To a hen’s night – I’m making vodka jelly shots and my friend’s hired a stripper.
I’m assuming this kind of banter constitutes the fourth year of hairdresser training, because I can’t seem to escape it, regardless of which salon I go to. Thursday Friday Saturday and Sunday is “what are you doing this weekend” and Monday and Tuesday is “what did you do on the weekend” (note tense change). I like to go on Wednesday, because it’s too late to ask what you did and too early to ask what you’re doing.
The tragedy is that neither of us really wants to talk. I know this for a fact because I’ve been told by a real live hairdresser that it’s an annoying part of the job. This may or may not be true, but whenever I get a cut I can’t help thinking that the whole thing is like a side serve of French fries that neither of us ordered. You can never be completely sure, though, so I always answer their questions promptly and politely: the last thing you want to do is annoy someone with scissors near your jugular.
The worst thing, though, worse than the enforced conversation, is being reprimanded for not looking after your hair properly. The whole thing’s very odd, because there’s no other place I can think of where you pay money to get told off. I’m always apologising: sorry for not getting a trim regularly, sorry about the split ends, sorry about the flyaways, sorry about my head in general, etc etc.
It never seems to placate them, though, because they play with your hair for a while looking like they wished they’d worn gloves, sigh, and then drop the whole lot back around your face like a cut price frame. If it’s a hairdresser you don’t know, it will be “who did this to you?!!” like the perpetrator should be punished to the full extent of the law. Just once I want to say, “I’m pretty sure it was you – I thought it was rubbish at the time too. Remind me to find another hairdresser.”
This is reason enough for me to avoid the hairdressers, but I think the real source of my enduring aversion is due to an incident I like to call “the day Megan went in expecting a normal haircut and came out with a mullet.”
Almost a decade ago – it feels like yesterday – I made the terrible mistake, of volunteering to be a hair model at a training session. Under normal circumstances being a hair model is pretty sweet because you have a say in what you want done. The training session, as I now know, is a different story. Much like dissecting a toad, the students learn a lot, but the frog’s in terrible condition at the end.
There were a whole heap of other girls there, and each of us were given a different look. Mine was “modern,” which sounds harmless enough until you’re sitting there two hours later with a red mullet, wishing that your look had been titled “severely antiquated.”
There’s also something really weird about having your hair cut in front of a group of people because you have no mirror, no idea what’s going on, and you have to wear that ridiculous cape – the one that looks like you’ve just located Darth Vader’s dressup box – in front of more than one person.
I was compliant, though, and had a strange, completely unfounded, sense that it may all turn out alright because all I heard was coos of delight from the hairdressers and snippets of words like “edgy” “stunning” “cutting edge” so that by the time I saw my hair raining down in sad little clumps (no doubt desperately trying to cling to the side of my head) I was confident that what had just transpired was nothing short of a miracle.
Those hairdressers must have sniffed too much bleach back at the salon, because Scissorhands had butchered my hair into the most ridiculous coiffeur I, or any of my fellow models, had seen the likes of. As soon as I walked back towards my peers I saw a mixture of relief – it wasn’t them – and the kind of pity reserved for leper colonies.
An hour later I was – inexplicably – wearing a catsuit and walking round in a kind of dressage routine with the rest of the girls while we were appraised by the hairdressers. I don’t know what horse I represented except perhaps poor Ginger out of Black Beauty. Unlike Ginger, I would not have the luxury of going to the knackery.
I’m usually quite resilient: it’ll grow out is my motto – no use crying over split ends, but this do was beyond redemption. Save a bowlcut or full GI Jane, this was the lowest you could stoop. It was not the redeemable, nay cool, mullet that took off a few years later, where the hair gradually tapers into a graceful rat’s tail: this was Grade A Billy Ray Cyrus, a suspicion confirmed by my mother whose first words to me when I stepped through the door were “you’re a ranger with a mullet.”
I love that woman more than life itself.