I love myself a great blowdry. I really do. If there was a mobile service in Jozi that you could call last minute to come to your house to blowdry your hair, I’d be their best customer. But since Janine from Jeauval in Hyde Park left the hairdressing profession nearly eight years ago, I just haven’t found that perfect combination of hairdressing skills and personality coupled with a fabulous salon experience, to be a regular salon goer. I’m also fortunate in that I actually like my natural hair colour and so, because I don’t have root issues and because I don’t have a hairdresser and a salon I love, I hardly ever get my hair done.
But on Tuesday night I had a function and the thought of squeezing my bulging belly into a nice outfit for it was more than I could bear. So I figured that at least if my hair was fabulous, I’d feel better about having nothing to wear.
I managed to get a last minute appointment at the salon closest to me. I’d tried them before. The hairdresser I’d been to was a genuinely lovely person but we couldn’t have been more different. I realised this when I caught him eyeing my Woolworths water bottle. He said something which I interpreted to be critical of people who drink exclusively bottled water. I quickly assured him that this was not the case and that I refilled my bottles with tap water and only replaced them a couple of times a week. Apparently, it was the issue of replacing the bottles that concerned him. He wanted to know why I didn’t use a permanent sports bottle which didn’t need replacing…
He was also an avid cyclist. At first I thought that he did this for sport, rather than with the sole purpose of saving the planet. He told me that he did all his grocery shopping by bike, but this did have some limitations, especially when it came to items in “unnecessarily large packaging” such a as boxes of cereal. Still not really understanding I said:
“But why don’t you just take the car when you need to stock up on cereal?”
“Oh no,” he said, “I sold my car years ago. I really don’t want to leave any footprint at all.”
Ooooooooh! I suddenly got it. He was what the Mother Figure calls a “greenie beanie”.
That was just over four months ago. This time, with my last minute booking, I was given a new guy in the salon: Benji. Benji introduced himself, took one look at the tufts of pregnancy hair growing vertically from the edge of my forehead, raised an eyebrow and said in a camp Joburg, drawl:
“Oh my GAWD! What ARE we going to do with THOSE?”
Me: “Um… Hide them?”
I explained that they were from pregnancy and that they’d disappeared a few months after my last pregnancy so he shouldn’t be too shocked etc, etc. Still, he looked mildly horrified.
Once my hair had been washed, I asked the lady not to brush or comb it while it was wet as I had a problem with split ends. I then explained this to Benji.
Benji: “This is a special salon brush. The bristles are springy and they bounce off the strands of hair so they can’t split them. But these ends look like they need a really good cut.”
Me: “Yes, yes, I know, this was just last minute and I have a scan in an hour from now so I’ll make a plan to come back when I have more time.”
A pregnant (excuse the pun) pause ensued…
Benji: “By the way… exactly when last did a pair of scissors go near these ends?”
I begin counting the months in my head as I prepare to answer but Benji is quicker:
“1642?” he suggests and promptly cracks up at his own joke.
Me: (squirming in my chair) “Um, about four months ago, actually.”
The truth is closer to five months but I decided to round down…
But Benji has more in store for my ailing self esteem:
Benji: “Maybe your ends are in such bad condition because of this bad dye job?”
Me: (spluttering decaff salon cappuccino in shock). “Actually, this is my natural colour. The last time I dyed my hair was in 2006.”
Benji: (with a raised eyebrow which seems to be his specialty) “Really?”
He then takes my split, obviously lighter, probably somewhat sun-damaged ends and places them against my roots to demonstrate the difference in shade.
“You see how much lighter your ends are compared to your roots?” Benji looks at me smugly like a detective presenting a criminal with damning, hard evidence.
Dude, why don’t you just cut to the chase, call your new client a liar and tell her she has crap hair?
But it gets better.
“Or, is it possible, that these ends still have dye on them from 2006?” Benji looks as though he truly believes he may be onto something.
Despite dear, sweet Benji I do walk out of there with a beautiful blow dry, although my pregnancy tufts are threatening to start standing up any minute with the spontaneous downpour that begins just as I step out of the salon’s door…
Who needs a shrink to sort out your self-esteem sh** when you can just get some tough love from a scary hairdresser?