Can I just make one thing clear to the reader: I detest getting my hair cut. I can think of nowt worse than having a weirdly-dressed stranger take my bag, wrap me in a tablecloth and guide me to a chair where I will have to sit still for a good half hour, with nothing to look at but my own miserable reflection.
I love having the new hair cut. I love walking out of the salon feeling incredibly self-consious, with luscious bouncy locks which will be history by afternoon. It's just the cutting of the hair which I hate, and the accompanying pre-cut and post-cut fuss. I hate the pre-wash in the uncomfortable neck-contour sink (whose neck? An ostrich?). I hate the nuclear-voltage blowdry where they deafen you whilst simultaneously scorching your scalp to a glowing ember.
Some hair-related things I have learned the hard way:
1. Don't go to a discount hair salon which is aimed at blokes (G.I. Joe's in Richmond, I am looking at you). I cried all over my colleague when I came back one lunchtime with a small boy's haircut (short on top, shaved at the back). It might have been cute on Mia Farrow, but I looked like a frickin' idiot.
2. Having said that, hair grows - it is never going to look that great for long, or that awful for long.
3. You don't necessarily have to talk to the hairdresser while they work. It is such a relief to come across a naturally quiet one who doesn't want to chat endlessly about your holiday plans, in between regaling you with vivid tracts from her hectic social life.
4. It is worth putting on some lipstick and changing out of your tracky-daks. If you show up at the salon looking like a bogan, they will give you a bogan haircut.
5. Don't get stuck in a hair rut. I have had all lengths from lesbian crop to (the current) born-again hippy, and all colours from brown (bad) to fiery red (strangely good), to rediscovering my mousey roots (current). It takes time to work out what suits you best - and your hairdresser must surely be sick of cutting her millionth "long layers, please" for the day.
6. It's just hair. You shouldn't need to spend upwards of £40 for a haircut. You wouldn't spend £20 getting your nails cut, would you? Well, maybe you would. But I sure as hell wouldn't. That money could be going to more useful things, like a new CD or more chocolate.
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It was OK in Australia - my littlest brother's girlfriend happens to be a fantastic hairstylist. Brilliant! Discount super-smart haircuts for life. Fingers crossed they get married and we have a permanent hair-fixer in the family.
If only my middle brother was going out with a music-label guru. Or a master chocolatier. I'm not fussy; either will do.