Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Salon fresh








I visited a hairdressing salon today, as a special treat to myself. It's not something I do very often - I'm still not over the humiliation of accidentally asking for a cut and blow-job when I was younger - but the barnet was out of control, and there are only so many times you can trim your own fringe and 'mend' your split ends before you start to resemble Edward Scissorhands on an off day. (Having scissors for hands, you'd have thought his hair would have been a bit tidier, but hey-ho). Anyway, it was all very pleasant, although the stylist did have a habit of using the royal "we."

"What do we want?" she asked, when I walked in, fingering my locks as if they were oily rags.

I felt like saying, "Well I don't know about you, love, but I want a lottery win, a published novel in Waterstones...and world peace."

Anyway, it was all very pleasant, and one of the assistants made me a nice cup of tea, which would have been nicer without the little hairs that materialised on the surface within four seconds, but it wasn't long before the stylist pitched up at the inevitable question.

Her (snipping vigorously) - "So. What do you do for a living?"

Me (looking shifty) - "Um. Well, I work in a library, part-time and, er, I'm...well I'm a bit of a writer. Sometimes."

A bit of a writer??? What the heck...? I think I meant to say I do a bit of writing sometimes, but it came out wrong. The thing is, I don't really think of myself as a writer, yet, so the words tend to stick in my throat. In fact, I don't normally mention it at all these days, as such a bold claim (not that it was bold on this occasion), always leads to that vexing question "ooh, what do you write?" to which the only acceptable answer, really, is, "Oh, you know...best-selling novels that top the charts and get made into films or television dramas." Rather than "oh, you know. A feature here and there. Book review in the local paper (actually, that statement does lend a tiny bit of gravitas), plus I'm working on a novel..." which naturally leads to the response, "ooh, what kind of novel?" Groan. It's at that point I long to change tactics and say that, actually, I made the whole thing up, because I'm really an astronaut or a spy or something I can't really talk about in public, because people are listening.

The cringiness of the conversation, which soon stuttered to a halt, I can tell you, did give me an idea for a story, though. Imagine a character making up something extravagant like that, at the hairdressers, or a party, and saying something like, "I used to be a glamour model. Oh yes, I've worked with all the greats..." and the person she's talking to says, "Oh god, I thought I recognised you. You were in that film too, weren't you, with Brad Pitt? Didn't you have a fling with that photographer, who went on to shoot the Queen (in a manner of speaking)..." and before she knows it the heroine is up to her eyes in all sorts of high jinks. Interesting. Maybe.

It must have been my lucky day though, because as well as a nice haircut (still long, but humanized), it was half-price, as a special New Year offer!

Now I just need that stylist to call round every morning and maintain my shiny, swishy, ever-so-slightly wig-like, new locks for me, or come the weekend I'll look like a rat peeping through a hedge again...

11 comments:

Anna said...

they don't give out cups of tea in salons here!!!

sniff...

I love the story idea... hijinks ensue! but I too feel like a bit of a writer... sometimes a bigger bit than others.

CTaylor said...

I REALLY sympathise. If I tell people I write and they ask what (my second most hated question)I tell them I've had stories mentioned in women's magazines (no point mentioning the literary ones because they won't have a clue what I'm on about, in fact very few people do other than other writers) and that I've written a novel. Then of course comes the most hated questions "What is your novel about?" because my novel's subject is a little unusual (undead, ghosts, tasks, geeks etc) I'm invariably met with a very blank look so I always end up saying "It's a bit like that film Ghost but it's the woman that dies" and then I am rewarded with a vague shrug and a "that sounds interesting" and I just want to give up the will to live!

Moondreamer said...

Hi Karen,

Thank you for your lovely comment on my blog, I think yours is great! I love the pictures on your posts too.

I am very new to this and having immense fun (everyone is so lovely) ... but getting very little else done!

So addictive ...

Let me know when you are next in Scarborough, perhaps we could meet up for a coffee!

Good luck with the writing! :o)

Lane said...

Spooky similar themes today!!

And the other awful question (which is why I could never say I'm a writer) is 'what have you written?'

Well ... articles in magazines in the 80's .. before you were born :-(

Hope your hair stays lovely!
(ps re embedding details - I've answered in comments on my blog)

Lane said...

Except I can't see your email address .

I'm lanemathias at gmail dot com. Send me your email address and I'll send you sooper dooper embedding info:-)

Tom Foolery (TF) said...

Don't you just love it when they ask " Where did you go on holiday?"
.
I'm always tempted to say "Timbuktu"
.
"Oh lovely where's that then?"
.
"North of the Watford Gap!"

HelenMH said...

Actually, one of the main reasons (other than extreme lack of money) that I cut my own hair is that I can't bear those conversations you inevitably get caught up in. I always end up talking complete rubbish!

Lucy Diamond said...

"A lottery win, a published novel in Waterstones...and world peace."

Great answer - really made me laugh. Please promise you'll say that for real next time!

Annieye said...

I have a peculiar phobia - hairdressers! I hate going into a salon. I can't understand anyone who actually enjoys it.

I'd sooner give birth than walk into a salon and equate getting a haircut to going to the dentists.

KAREN CLARKE said...

anna - I always make a point of having a cuppa when they offer, as they charge so much (normally) for a haircut!

cally - It's really hard to reduce a novel to a sentence that sounds...interesting. Yours does though - can't wait to read it:)

moondreamer - It would be great to meet up - I usually only visit once or twice a year, but I'll definitely let you know!

lane - Thanks so much for the embedding advice - just need an excuse to use it now :)

tomfoolery - Amazingly, I wasn't asked that question this time round! I had an answer ready too..."I haven't been on holiday since 1924." Imagine the puzzlement.

helenmh - I know what you mean - I'm working on cultivating an enigmatice silence for next time :)

lucy diamond - off topic, I'm going to recommend your book for my next column...I really enjoyed it! Thanks for visiting.

annieye - I have a friend who feels the same! She has hers cut at home, for about £4. I wonder if there's a technical name for it??

Leigh said...

Oh, I'll whitter on about writing if she really wants to know (which, of course, she doesn't - but then, she shouldn't ask). I'll talk about anything, as long as she doesn't ask about my holidays (pl).

Yeah, Timbuktu. Tempted.

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