Because as a child I was blessed (cursed?) with an unruly mop of thick, dark curls, every now and again my mother would take me to the local hairdresser to have my hair ‘thinned.’ I still remember the pain and indignity of the experience. Without saying a word, the lady in question would grab and pull my hair, jerking my head in the process, in order to gain access to the part she was about to cull. At times, in order to avoid these visits, I would take the big scissors out of my mother’s sewing box and chop off bits of hair myself. Naturally, the next time I was taken to the hairdresser she would accuse of me of the capital crime of cutting my own hair, which of course I denied.
Somehow I managed to grow up and on the whole to master my hair. Or perhaps it became more malleable with age. For a time I kept it long, but after my children arrived on the scene it seemed more sensible and practical to cut it short. Thus, for many years I had cropped hair, and found the arrangement very convenient. I still visited a hairdresser from time to time, but when you’re an adult you have more say with regard to what the hairdresser may or may not do.
Or do you?
About a year ago, as a major family celebration was coming up, I decided to let my hair grow a little longer. I had been going to the same hairdresser for several years. She was a friendly, amiable lady who would chatter constantly – either to me or to someone else, occasionally even on the phone – while she attended to my hair. This was irritating, but I decided that her convenient location, low price and professional expertise offset the disadvantage.
When my hair was beginning to grow longer I needed the colour to be attended to, and so I made an appointment and went to her ‘salon’ (an annex to her house).
“I’ll just tidy you up at the back,” she said before embarking on the colouring process, and proceeded to wield her scissors.
Snip, snip, she went, and before I knew what was happening my hair was cut short again. Once the bit at the back had been cut she had to bring the rest of the hair into line with it. Perhaps my hair was not quite as short as in the previous months, but it was definitely shorter than it had been when I stepped inside the hairdresser’s emporium.
I went home in a state of shock. How had it happened that my efforts to let my hair grow had all come to naught in the twinkling of a pair of scissors?
By coincidence, a friend had been telling me about her hairdresser, praising his kind and caring nature and ability to wonders with any and every head of hair. His salon was a bit further away, but still not too far from my home to make it difficult to reach.
I decided to give him a try.
The next time I needed the colour attended to I went to him and he did a good job. I told him I was letting my hair grow, and he merely straightened my fringe, and refrained from cutting anything else. At the family celebration many people complimented me on my new hairstyle, and I felt that I had made the right decision.
And so I transferred my coiffeurial loyalty to Zalman (not his real name), and have continued trusting my hair to his hands ever since.
Yesterday I needed the colour attended to again. My hair had been cut short, at my instigation, for the summer, and was just beginning to get back to the length I like.
“I’ll just tidy you up at the back,” he said before embarking on the colouring process, and proceeded to wield his scissors.
Snip, snip, he went, and before I knew what was happening my hair was cut short again. Once the bit at the back had been cut he had to bring the rest of the hair into line with it. Perhaps my hair was not quite as short as in the previous months, but it was definitely shorter than it had been when I stepped inside the hairdresser’s emporium.
Once again, I went home in a state of shock.
Déjà vu all over again!
Note to self: Next time you go to the hairdresser, no matter who, where or when, be on your guard, and don’t accept any offer to ‘just tidy you up at the back.’