Even though it looks okay now, I had the haircut from hell last night. On my way to the Capitol Theatre to see Barry Humphries (which I’ll write about later) I decided to pop into a nearby hair dresser for quick haircut. As someone with not all that much hair, it usually only takes a couple of minutes and doesn’t normally cost all that much.
I guess I should have known something was wrong when the salon manager pointed towards me – as the only one sitting on the couch – and I noticed my alloted hairdresser ask “which one?”. Further, I noticed a look of confusion on her face when I gave her my usual fairly simple description, “a number two clipper cut, thanks”. I didn’t worry too much when she brought out the scissors and comb and started trimming my hair, as I thought she might have been preparing it for the trimmer. But after 5 or so minutes of watching her do this, I repeated the instruction, “I’d like a clipper cut, please, a number two clipper cut” with more an insistent tone than the first time. “Oh”, she said, “You want clippers?”.
I had now realised her English language skills were a lot worse than I had immediately imagined. Generally speaking, that doesn’t worry me all that much, as I live and work in a culturally diverse city where you just learn to speak a little more slowly and deliberately at times.
However, even though she now understood the instruction, she seemed to attack the job as if she had never used clippers before. And attack is probably a good word, as my head soon began to resemble a patchwork rug with some areas clippered and others not. After a further 15 minutes or so, she declared my haircut complete, even though clippers had so far not even touched the top of my head. When I asked for a mirror to see what the back of my head looked like, she held the mirror in such a manner that I couldn’t actually see it. I was beginning to wonder if I was on a “candid camera” style program.
I then asked her very politely if she was going to clipper the top as well. “Oh you want that done too?”, she asked. “Yes”, I said, and then almost immediately afterwards I said, “No, forget about it”. “Are you angry with me?”, she asked, and I replied, “No, not with you”. At that point I looked at myself in the mirror and wondered if the bright red of my face was the result of anger, embarrassment or if I was about to burst into tears. At that point I walked over to the manager. Pretty quickly, you could see the look of recognition on his face that something had gone horribly wrong. Although I looked him straight in the eye, he avoided mine, concentrating instead on my temples. “I’ll fix it”, he told me, as I got the impression this wasn’t the first time this had occured. As I sat down for a “repair job”, I felt a huge amount of sympathy for the woman who was by now obviously totally humiliated. And I also felt sympathy for the bloke who was now seated in the chair in front of her.