Hairy Stories

Thanks to your steady stream of blog fodder, I realise that Corona is impacting  the community in hair raising ways. It is almost as if Trump and Boris got a head start on us; short hair clearly has no place in politics.

I feel smug about this.  My father’s gene pool gifted me a thick head of of hair and an absence of grey and now is my chance to prove it.  Additionally, my crowning glory is my hairdresser who is ace/god-like/the best/I am his favourite and he is sure to ramp me up to the top of his appointment list as soon as we approach locks down.

My hairdresser and I go back many, many years – as he often points out when reminding me that I hit the 50 year mark long before he did.  I am indebted to him not only for his relentless provision of football trivia (he thinks I am listening but really I am distracted by his magazine offer), his refusal to believe that I am not  – or ever will be –  a Stars Wars fan and because every time I visit, he manages to persuade me – without us falling out – that I will never look like the magazine photo I have taken in to be my muse.  Over the years we have settled on various shades of blonde highlights (news flash, my father’s genes did not gift me flaxen follicles and my salon index card favours warm honey over platinum) and some nifty work from his hair straighteners. I always leave his chair believing that I am ready to face the world and pretending that I will eventually get round to viewing Luke Skywalker’s back catalogue. (Note, although I love my hairdresser dearly, we have agreed that he can not use me as a model for a Princess Leia hair competition he wishes to enter).

It helps that my hairdresser is also a DIY enthusiast and keen gardener for he has been using the shut down to manicure his lawn and to try his hand at topiary.  This means he will keep his hand and eye in for the plentiful supply of hair crafting projects that will be split-ending his way once his salon reopens. He will also have a huge supply of gardening gloves and welding visors to use when he is allowed to get near clients again.

Meanwhile, incoming London hair news: Favourite Son (FS), after NEVER allowing me to cut his hair as a child (always insisting on our hairdresser above) surprises by allowing his girlfriend to cut his hair.  The trust!  The responsibility !  He tells me that the noises she made in the process of barbering were slightly disconcerting, but as long as he avoids mirrors he feels he can weather Corona face on.  (Post Corona, don’t take offence if he refuses to turn his back on you – I think this is a noble trait to have in a young man and proof that his girlfriend’s risk taking will be rewarded).

From Norfolk we have news that Favourite Daughter’s Man (FDM) started lock down boldly and forecast – correctly –  that he would not be seeing his barber for some time; he prepared proactively by shaving his head.  A couple of weeks into the Days of Corona, his hair had grown back even more luxuriant and bouncy than before.  Foolishly he then allowed his twin brother to pick up a razor.  Follicular evidence indicates there may be more sibling rivalry/male humour at stake with male twins than we realised.  It was more slash and burn than Peaky Blinder.  If I were FDM’s twin, I would definitely be sleeping with the door locked for the foreseeable future.  Thanks to the NHS (Norfolk’s Hair Squad) FDM was surrounded by enough loved ones to have his tears dried and some DIY SOS performed on his buzz cut. Blades down boys.

I Facetime a couple of female friends intending to mock the current trend on social media for sharing best tips to mask grey roots, but discover this is a sensitive subject.  When one friend is eventually persuaded to appear on screen she is wearing a shower cap.  Another friend has upset the NHS by abandoning her project to make colourful face masks and has directed her sewing machine to churn out turbans instead.  ‘It’s either this,’ she tells me, ‘or I will have to start fashioning a balaclava that covers both face and hair; this may be my new niche market –  PPH – Personal Privacy for Hair’

I discover it is no better with my friends’ husbands.  I am more than accustomed to looking at my hairdresser’s photo album to admire his various Adam Ant and Human League looks from the ’80’s, but I find myself unprepared for middle aged men that I actually know sporting ponytails, braiding and dreadlocks.  One husband is now growing a beard that can be tied behind his ears and over his mouth when he leaves home to double as make shift PPE.

Corona has also had it in for fringes.  First of all I notice friends have had a ‘little snip’ at their bangs with a pair of nail scissors, and then a few weeks later, after recovering from the collateral fall out, they appear back on screen having scavanged an ironmongery of hair clips from their children to clip back the offending fringe while it grows out.  I like a bit of hair art, but my jury is out on Little Kitty hair clips being sported by a 56 year old.

Don’t get me wrong, even with my lack of grey hair or fringe, I can show empathy here.  The youngest of three girls, as a child I was well used to a mother who decided we would all have short hair (no risk of nits or vanity) and that she would perform these hair cuts herself to save on the housekeeping.  A pudding bowl in our house was definitely something to be very afraid of – and not just because of my mother’s cooking. In all my school photos I appear as a sullen little boy with an exclamation mark of a fringe.  No surprise that for every birthday  during the 1970’s I begged for a Crissy Doll with ‘growing hair’.  You could wind up her hair to make it short or push in her belly button to make it grow again.  If only we had this option to get us through Corona.

Listening to Radio 4 I hear that the British Museum are asking people to save key items from this Age of Corona – favourite slippers, favourite C Div food or a photo of their Corona home hair cut. I pin back my ears (well I do once I have tied my hair back in order to hear better) and know that this will cheer FDM  up no end.  He loves history, he loves to get involved with community projects and we certainly have a photo that the curator will be interested in (see above).  Win, win, win.

Sitting in my personal isolation in my first floor flat (move on, Mama J), I reflect on my day of research. I realise that there is now only one thing for it; I will let my hair grow REALLY long.  Yes, it may draw attention to the fact that my roots are looking more dark than blonde (apparently a brown ombre is the look for AW20 anyway), but at least my mother is in another part of the country with her pudding bowl. Give it a few weeks  and I think I may be able to pull off a pretty decent Rapunzel impersonation.  I may even get rescued…

In the meantime, I will fend off boredom by learning to fashion my tresses into bunches, braids, curls, and dreads.  Hang it, I think I might even look good with two side buns – Princess Leia/Clara de la Rocha (if you want highbrow) as my inspiration.  My hairdresser will be impressed – he might be able to enter that competition after all, and my change of heart will definitely see me soaring to the top of his waiting list (as if there was ever any doubt Mr Gorgeous Best Hairdresser in the World (#rememberyourfriends).



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