Celeste phoned early this morning – well, early for her – to remind me that before she went up to uni, she had booked me into a hairdresser in town. I was quite happy with my hair the way it was, and had been thinking about trying out the hairdresser-cum-post office here in the village, but Celeste was adamant that I needed to get a new look now that I was ‘footloose and fancy free’. I pointed out to Celeste that I was actually married and not at all footloose or fancy free, but Celeste wasn’t having any of it.
“You need to look more 21st century, Mum,” she had said, “not medieval. Besides, it’s embarrassing being seen out with you like this.”
So the appointment was made – the same day, now I think about it, that Celeste insisted I buy the high-heels that so shocked Verity. Colour and restyle at Perseus, a Greek-sounding hairdresser with no-one from anywhere outside the shires employed within.
I turned up at the appointed time and announced my arrival to the three girls gathered around the reception area. There was only one other customer in there at the time, so they had nowhere else to be. In fact, the whole time I was there, there was only ever one other customer, yet the floor-space is massive – I have no idea how they make it pay. Actually, I paid a hefty sum at the end, so I do know how they make it pay, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
“I’ve got an appointment with Nita and then Chris,” I told the assembled mob.
“Nita’s left,” one of them told me.
“But she’s supposed to be colouring my hair.”
“Nah, she left this morning. That’s why we’re here,” one of the other two said. “I’ve come from the other branch. Come on, what colour are we doing?”
The whole thing seemed terrible casual, but it seemed that she had been employed for over a year as a colourist, so I tried to relax. The next stage was out of my hands; I had been given strict instructions to give them Celeste’s phone number and Celeste would be instructing the colourist and the stylist about what to do. A bit like a make-over on Next Top Model, without the successful modelling career afterwards. I sat in the chair like a draped dummy, while the colourist and the stylist chatted to Celeste on the phone, peered anxiously at me, pulled bits of my hair across my face and then combed it back. I could only hear one side of the conversations.
“That’s quite drastic.... If you’re sure.... Halle Berry? I was thinking more Hilary Clinton but ....”
Eventually a decision was made and Celeste went back to paying attention to her lecture and I was set upon by the two non-Greeks. I quite enjoy the sensation of having my hair washed and my scalp massaged, but this time was a little more nerve-wracking.
“It’ll be fine,” said Colleen, the colourist. “A bit different, but you’ll get used to it. It’ll hide all those grey hairs, for starters.”
I tried to share her confidence, and that of Damian, the stylist, but they had their instructions from Celeste and I had taken my glasses off so I couldn’t really see what they were up to. Finally, Damian asked me to take a look.
“Good grief!” In my shock, I bit my tongue. Really rather bright red and frankly rather short!
“Short hair really suits you,” Damian assured me.
“Possibly,” I told him, “and it will grow anyway. But – red?”
He shrugged. “That’s what you daughter wanted. She’s got quite good judgement, for what it’s worth. Is she a fashion student?”
“No, some variation on chemistry.”
Either way, it was too late, the deed was done. I paid the *exorbitant* fee – they don’t do colouring at the post office, but then the cost would be about a fifth of what I paid – and set off.
Since I was in the car and out of the village, I thought I’d drop in on a friend who’d moved away as our respective children had got older. That is one downside to living in a village – there is every probability that friends move away and even when local are still a car’s journey away. Anyway, I had timed it well – her daughter was poorly and at home, waiting for the doctor to phone. Home visit? Don’t be ridiculous! Those are a fiction from the past, wherever you live. A cup of tea and a natter later – once Sheila had recognised me underneath the short redness of my hair – and the afternoon had disappeared.
So, no more biscuits made yet, and my tongue really hurts from where I bit it this morning. The OH was quite complimentary, though. And he noticed the new look without prompting. Hope for him yet!