Thursday, 25 April 2013

In praise of Hair Majesty

We live in the Age of Me.

An era in which women are finally claiming their right to “Me Time” in which we stop stressing out about work, soothing the Other Half during his latest bout of Man Flu, making a mental itinerary of how empty the fridge is or how full the laundry basket, and attending to the demands of assorted offspring’s homework and extra-curricular shenanigans.
Or so the glossy magazines tell us, in between the articles on how to burn the optimum calories whilst achieving multiple orgasms (ha!) every time(ha ha!) – and look great in the process (falls off chair in hysterics).

We know we should be doing it, because all around us we hear of friends, colleagues, cousins-in-law, even strangers on the bus, talking about their appointments for massages, nail sculpting, massages, seaweed wraps (and not the sort you eat), colonic irrigation (WAY too much information!), yoga sessions, teeth whitening,  intensive circuit training, tan sprays and other me-affirming activities.
I get knackered just eavesdropping on their conversations. Where DO they find the time?
Personally, I’m a pretty low-maintenance kinda gal. My idea of pampering is ignoring the pile of unironed shirts and the teetering tower of plates waiting in the kitchen sink, and kicking back to watch a movie of MY choice with a brimming glass of vino on a Friday night.

I’ve had a grand total of two massages in nearly five decades on this earth. The first was undertaken in the line of duty in my days as a junior reporter on a local rag, writing about one of the first aromatherapy massage parlours to open in our corner of South London in the early 1980s. The other, two decades later, was at the hands of a kind and newly-trained friend. I enjoyed them both, but not enough to dig out a gap in my schedule and hole in my monthly budget.
Facials are a virtual unknown for me. Professionals have attacked (and tutted over) my pores just three times. And as for nails? Well, I’ve only HAD nails for the past 18 months, so you can imagine how many times I’ve trotted myself off to the local manicurist.
But even I, the Queen of Scruff, have one regular pampering treat that always lifts my spirits and give me a break from the drudge-filled reality of my mundane life.
Every month, without fail, I head for my trusted hairdresser for a trim, some chat and the royal treatment. I’ve been going to the same place for years. They know me. They know all my preferences and foibles - from my aversion to hairspray, to my insistence on running my hands through my newly-trimmed and crimped locks to 'scruff it up'. They know how I drink my coffee and which stories from the regulars will make me laugh. They know what suits me, not just in terms of face shape, hair type and excess baggage carried around the jawline, but also in personality. They know that the way I wear my hair (short and bright dyed red) is the way I want to present myself to the world, but also has to be easy enough to fit into my busy schedule.
They 'get' me' - and I wouldn’t change them for the world. My pet snipper Mika is under strict instructions not to retire until I go bald.
I’m due for a cut again soon and have already booked my regular appointment next week, but this time I’m going to treat myself and let Mika loose with her paintbrush. And I can’t wait to step out of the shop into the spring sunshine, spiky bits bouncing in the breeze and copper and black highlights glinting in the light, and walk home to present the latest reinvention of Me to the boys back home.

If I’m lucky, they may notice I’ve “had something done”.
But whatever I have done isn’t for them. It’s for me. It’s my little indulgence that even in times of violin-string tight purse strings and the relentless soundtrack of gloom and doom that accompanies much of modern life helps remind me that – yes – I AM worth it.
So, here’s to the hairdressers – and all the other Me service providers – who help us preserve our sense of self (and our sanity) when the going gets tough.

Long may they reign!


  1. Oh! I so agree!

    Only ever had a couple of therapeutic massages when suffering from chronic back pain. Never had a facial, even self-administered. Colour own hair. Cut own fringe. Tan own skin, slowly and gradually, in own garden. Fail to mosturise any part of body, even face, most days. Paint own toenails, and cut and file same. Finger nails never adorned, as I am busy in garden or house most days so what is the point as they will be ruined? Cut and clean is enough!

    But do like a decent haircut every once in a while. If going through a short hair phase this will be three times a year, if growing it, not at all. The pooch receives more pampering. As does the car which is valeted more often than I am, as some things I draw the line at and washing and hoovering a mere vehicle is one of them.

    Me Time? That is any and every snatched minute of a day when it is quiet enougn to think my own thoughts. It's enough. I reside between my ears, not on the surface...

    ...but your streaky professional hairdo sounds gorgeous. ENJOY!

  2. Go girl! and post a picture when its done...

  3. You had me until you mentioned the regular hair trims. I've had two manicures and one facial in my entire life. The only massage I had (including claustrophobic body wrap) early sent me over the edge. I like to have a decent looking haircut, but perhaps because it's long at the moment (any excuse) I'm afraid to say 6 weeks is but a dream - more like 6 months.