#5: Haircut of truth

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that a woman’s femininity is bound up with her hair. It’s one of our most defining features.

If you don’t believe me, just think how Britney Spears’ head-shaving incident was used to prove what the press wanted us to believe: that she was stark-raving bonkers.

What self-respecting all-American beauty queen would shave off the very thing that made her so beautiful?

Even though she was clearly struggling to cope, it was an act of conscious defiance.

While my haircut is nowhere near that extreme, it nevertheless says something about me. For years I’ve had long blonde hair, following some crazy years of braided, pink, blue, and green hair which I sadly gave up on when I got a ‘proper job’ (although given I work at a radio station this was probably self-imposed – I don’t think anyone cares what we look like really).

The desire to change my look and seem different to how I did five years ago (plus the offer of a free haircut at a very posh salon) led me to emulate this (sadly the pink dress not included).

It was the first time I’ve ever taken a photo in and it definitely helped. I left feeling slightly like a very chic French politician and swishing my hair in the breeze.

Sadly, at my next haircut (at a different hairdressers) I showed them a photo of my last successful haircut and not the photo of Kristen Wiig.

Unfortunately it ended up more like this.

The most coveted hairdo about 20 years ago. Not so great in 2012.

It felt like the time to ask for changes had passed. I left the salon feeling uncertain and self-conscious. What had I done wrong? Had I not been specific enough? Was she deliberately being spiteful, or did she actually think she could give me a better haircut than what I had specifically asked for?

Soon despair turned to anger – I’d paid £50 for that haircut and left a tip! What a waste of money. I should have gone back to the last place even though it would have cost 3 times that at full price.

After 3 days (in which several people said ‘oh, your hair’s nice… you look like Rachel from ‘Friends’!’) I picked up the phone. Could they, if it’s not too much trouble, and sorry for not saying so at the time, but would it be at all possible for them to re-do it? (British people are not very good at complaining).

Of course they understood and said yes straight away. I was dreading the confrontation with the hairdresser but she was really nice (despite the fact she had to hack through clouds of dry shampoo as I’d assumed they’d wash my hair first).

Negotiating and complaining politely are pretty valuable life skills: it wasn’t just my haircut that ended up more grown up.


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