At the hairdresser

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I arrive at the hairdressers today and find one of the girls on her knees picking up something from the floor.“No need for that when I walk in,” I say grandly.  “A curtsey is more than enough.”“What?” she asks, like maybe I’ve just propositioned her.“There’s no need to get down on your knees when I walk in,” I repeat but with less conviction.“I wasn’t, I was getting some gum off the floor,” she answers brushing her jeans.  Well, Oscar Wilde would not have been deterred, I think.  Persevere and you can make anyone smile.

“Would you like to take a seat?” asks the earnest employee of the “Top ‘n’ Tail” Hairdressing Salon.

“Not today,” I say, “I have enough chairs. What I would really like is to have a haircut.”  She stares at me.  “No, I meant, would you like to sit down so that you can have a haircut.”I decide to sit down for my haircut and resist any temptation to cast forth further pearls into this porcine parlour.  But my resolution is short-lived; there is something so invariably funny about the humourless.“Have I seen you here before?” I ask as she bedecks me in a blue cape.  She moves my head this way and that like there’s just no angle that wll improve it.“I’ve been here almost a year,” she tells me.  Then she adds helpfully, “But I do change my hair a lot and I am not wearing my glasses.”“Oh, are my ears safe?” says I with a mock air of trepidation. “What?” she has a worried expression that does not look good on someone armed with a pair of scissors.“Nothing,” I say.  I have long been an adherent to that part of the Bushido Code that counsels against being a smart arse when in the seat of hairdressers and dentists.Soon she is singing to the radio and for a moment I feel that the whole room will join in the chorus.  It’s like being in a musical except my hairdresser isn’t very musical; unless Tone Deaf Flat is a genre, of course.“So,” I ask, desperate to stop the singing, “how’s your life going?”She dabs some lather on my neck and reaches for the razor.  “My boyfriend is in an induced coma from a motorbike accident.”“Oh, dear,” I say somewhat helplessly.  Suddenly I wish the guy who usually cuts my hair was behind me regaling me bitterly with the latest exploit of his ex-wife, commonly referred to as “that bitch.”  At least he sees me as an ally even if only by an accident of gender. And the ending is always so reassuringly the same. “Anyway, I hope she falls flat on her fucking face.” Always said with such emotion and with such finality that it is all I can do to resist saying “Hear, hear!” My present hairdresser pauses, looking at my reflection in the mirror.  I hope she’s not depressed, I think.  But she scratches away gently at my neck and says thoughtfully, “The doctors say he’ll be fine soon. I sing to him every night but I don’t know if he can hear me.”I am about to say, “Well, that would certainly induce a coma in anyone.” But bite my tongue just in time.  There are just too many weapons at her disposal. I sit in noble silence. When I leave she takes my money and then suddenly and inexplicably smiles. “That was funny what you said when you came in. I just worked out what you meant.”“Great,” I say. “Next time, I’ll ring through a joke an hour before I get here and we can have a good laugh when I arrive.”“What?” she asks.“Nothing,” I answer rubbing my neck. Even Oscar Wilde would have struggled at the Top ‘n’ Tail.

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10 Comments

Filed under hairdressers, humour, life

10 responses to “At the hairdresser

  1. Kym

    The Top ‘n Tail…Dear me, 69’s at the hairdresser’s? What a name!

  2. Oh my! This made me laugh and a much needed laugh it was. This is so funny I’m sure no one could make it up!

  3. S

    Oy vey! That is painful.

    Was her hair cutting at least better than her sense of humor?

  4. Tim

    Your tale made me laugh out loud, and caused my co-workers to (once again) inquire what I was reading. I need to just read your stuff at home.

    My oldest son seems to surround himself with people who are incredibly intelligent, but don’t “context switch” at the same speed he does, and therefore don’t make the logical jumps necessary to appreciate remarks like these. Sadly, even simple wordplay isn’t always appreciated.

    The worst was when he was telling a friend, “Yesterday, I told Suzy that someone had written ‘gullible’ on the ceiling, and she looked.”

    His friend looked at the ceiling and asked where it went. – Tim

  5. loubird

    lol–to be fair, sometimes in workplaces it’s better to play it safe ’cause you never know. You think somebody is making a joke, but if their face doesn’t look like it you don’t want to laugh for fear of upsetting the customer.

  6. I remember when barbers used to ask … “Something for the weekend, sir ?”

    That also ‘drew a few blanks’. 🙂

    Seasons greetings and a Happy New Year.

  7. Hi, Kym – my hairdresser’s is not that interesting (but your idea does conjure up a new fantasy…)
    Scout – I’m glad it made you laugh (which is more than can be said for my hairdresser).
    S – The haircut was fine and my ears remained in tact…
    Hi Tim – I have a son a bit like that. Lately he has begun to speak in song lyrics which I find intellectually stimulating (trying to work out which song he is quoting as conversation) but which his mother finds simply bewildering.
    You’re right, Loubird – perhaps we have all become just a bit too serious. Sad when it’s dangerous to laugh…
    Ah, but those were the days when a men’s hairdresser was something quite different, John…

  8. gentiana

    I’d have definitely kept my position and extended my hand as if to kiss your ring. Of course, processing the humor in time to do it -before- the haircut would depend largely upon whether my target blood/caffeine level had been reached. Hmmmm. Was she sipping on coffee, at least?

    (I loved this story!)

  9. No redeeming coffee indulgence even, I’m afraid, Gentiana – I’m glad you liked the story.

  10. Nikki

    Oh, wow, this is hilarious. I laughed out loud (and not in the dull, computer-y LOL kind of way, but in a hearty, straight from the stomach kind of way).

    And by the way, I admire your tenacity. When I encounter thick-skulled, sarcasm-missing types I often get quiet and annoyed and start feeling superior and jaded all of a sudden. Kind of like Dostoevsky’s existentialist in “Notes from Underground.” Maybe I’ll try your jesting and persistent alternative sometime.

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