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U3A Writing: At The Salon

“Ah, just wait, you will like this, I create a new you. You will look so young.” He continues with his shears. I see a hideous sight emerging – a bird’s nest on the top of my head…

Joan Murton, with a secret smile, confesses that her hairdresser terrifies her.

Are there any other women who, like me, are terrified of their hairdresser? Surely I am not the only efficient, self confident ‘power house’ female who, when she is seated gowned, in the salon chair, becomes deprived of the ability to be assertive ?

I gaze at Antonio’s handsome features in the mirror in front of me. He is lifting and stroking the natural locks which I have cared for all my life, with a distasteful look.

“We should really do something to brighten this” he says, “The hair is thick, I could work on it. You will not recognise it”.

How right he was.

“You need a new style. Your husband must be so tired to see you look the same all the time” he continues, running a comb through, what I have always thought of as, my crowning glory.

Well, if he is, he has never mentioned it and, knowing my husband, I rather think he prefers to see ‘the devil he knows’. After all, if I were looking different, he would think he had a different woman around, which would mean he might have to make an effort to look tidy and to make conversation. But, I sit there and listen as Antonio describes my new persona.

“ A different colour, not drastic, just highlight the natural glints a little. We’ll shape it here…” he tweaks above my left ear, “ … and a little here” - another tweak on the top over my right eye. I can sense his growing enthusiasm to transform my comfortable, dated look into something – in his eyes - more up-to-date.

I have a momentary mental picture, as I watch him in the mirror, of a younger me with a modern hair style and a prettier colour. Commonsense prevails. “No, I don’t think so, Antonio. I’m happy with it as it is, “ I say smiling.

Too late.

“We do the colour first”, says Antonio, waving a chart under my nose for all of two seconds. “This one will be good for you. You will love it.”

At that stage, I should have left the salon. Why didn’t I ? Because I am a coward and, a little curious. Trust him, I thought, it will be fun to see my locks looking a little less jaded.

The colouring was completed. I looked quite different. The change from a natural redhead to a platinum blonde was a bit of a shock. I ventured a surprised comment.

“You will get used to it” said Antonio. “It will be better next time”. Next time … never !

Antonio has his scissors in his hand. Before I can think, the blades are snipping into my locks. I am shocked by the amount of hair falling on to the pretty pink gown which covers my unhappy frame, though I do not recognise the anaemic colour as mine.

The torture continues, I try to protest. “That’s short enough, Antonio. You know I don’t like my hair short, it doesn’t suit me.”

“Ah, just wait, you will like this, I create a new you. You will look so young.” He continues with his shears. I see a hideous sight emerging – a bird’s nest on the top of my head, built by an inexperienced bird because it did not know how to manage the long, straw like ends hanging down at the sides.

“But I’m not young,” I cry, “I don’t want to look young, I want to look 45.” Well, as I’m 55, that was true.

At last, Antonio stands back and surveys what I think, is the ghastly mess he has made of my crowning glory. He pulls forward the untidy strands hanging at the side of my face and pats my bird’s nest gently.

“There, a new you. You are now quite different, no?”

I feel like shrieking “Yes, yes, yes, put the old me back again” Instead, I meekly ask “How much ?” Insult is added to injury as I pay a small fortune for the torture which I have suffered.

On the way home, I buy a wig, the nearest I can to my natural colour. Not for myself, you understand, but I don’t want to give my husband too much of a shock. I’ll just tell him I had a new style, for a change. Can wigs be worn in bed ?


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