Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Auntie Em gets a stylist?

I used to have a good hairdresser (Scottish Ruth, with the broken central heating, where did you go?) but in the three years since I last saw her I have had maybe two haircuts that I've liked. Now, OK, I only get my hair cut every two months (rather than the magazine-mandated six weeks) but that's still approximately 16 hair cuts to which the response was "oh well... it'll grow out."

I was bemoaning this to friends who have very good hair a few weeks ago and one of them advised me to get a stylist. I balked at this because, living in London, a stylist to me is someone takes 10% of your month's salary to do what the hell they want to your head. Because obviously they're far better placed to know what you want than you do: they're stylists goddammit. And they're all based in these scary salons that make me feel like that bit where Julia Roberts goes shopping in Pretty Woman, but without the warm glow of self-esteem that apparently comes from having borrowed a rich punter's credit card.

Eight weeks have rolled by since the last trim and it's time for a haircut. I've decided I'm bored of growing it: I've been trying to look professional and sober in a premature gesture towards possibly becoming a lecturer, and really it doesn't suit me at all (the hair and, possibly, the career plan.)

I know the style I want - I accidentally got it by some fluke a few years back but have lost the sole photo of it. It's best described as "messy" but that doesn't seem to be enough to go on. Google image search wasn't helping: one more picture of Reese Witherspoon with her artfully tousled frikkin red-carpet locks will kill me. I have a life, not a personal hairdresser. These are not the follicles we're looking for.

In a flash of inspiration, I realised that I was looking in the wrong place for my hair. The style I have in mind doesn't live on top of a Reese or a Drew or a (shudder) Paris. It lives on top of a Satoko or a Satomi. I finally found the hair I want on a jRock site. Please promise you won't laugh:

(Yes, I know, that's not a real person.) It took some finding. Google image searches for "Cute Japanese woman hair" without at least moderate safe search on should not be tried except in the most liberal of workplaces!

But who do I trust to transform my serviceable but dull bob into something Tokyo stylee?

Well, I work in Hendon, North London, home to a sizable Japanese diaspora. There's an Asian hairdressers on the opposite side of the dual carriageway from my tube stop. So, braving rain and underpasses, and rehearsing last night's freshly learnt Japanese grammar under my breath ("watashi no kami koto dekimasu ka?" Is my hair possible? Can you cut my hair?) just in case [1], I took a deep breath and went into a new hairdressers. I even, instead of just making an appointment, asked if I could have a consultation first (oh brave new world!)

Tan - who is from Malaysia and speaks perfect English (to my disappointment - all that practicing for nothing), sat me down and did that "wafting the hair about through his fingers" bit that I (used to) believe was purely to establish the "me hairdresser, you client" dynamic. But no - he told me why that style wouldn't work with my hair and how to change it so the bits that I like would work with my hair.

So I go back on Friday for a two hour appointment. For which I am being charged the princely sum of 25 quid. (For overseas readers (and other non Londoners), that's probably as cheap a haircut I've had in London since I moved here.)

I'm not promising photos - unless it goes really well - but watch this space. Auntie Em may yet have a good hair day!

[1] There's a Sushi restaurant next door where Japanese is pretty much exclusively spoken. I long for the day when my Japanese is good enough to use in there. Free conversation practice!

1 comment:

Green Butterfingers said...

I want pictures please

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