Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Light of Head

Yes, it's that time again. Scant six months since my last visit, yesterday afternoon the Horse Doctor dragged me along to the wig scratchers, claiming I was beginning to blur at the edges too much. I think she just needed to get her eyes tested, but judging by the amount of hair swept up after they'd finished with me, maybe I was in danger of approaching mullethood. Now the beard has been neatly trimmed too, I can scare myself looking in the mirror once more.

I used to hate going to the hairdressers (or barbers as we called them) when I was a kid. It didn't matter how well they trimmed my wayward locks (and generally speaking, they didn't), I would always be laughed at by the rest of my family on returning from the dreaded trip to town. I remember one occasion when my mother made the foolish mistake of telling me she'd booked an appointment. We lived in an old converted laundry, surrounded by many acres of Capability Brown landscaped park and garden, so I was able to hide until it was safe to come out again. Pictures of me as a child almost always show me having Big Hair, and this is simply because I refused to get it cut.

In another memorable incident, some months after my mother had picked up some scissors herself and attempted to tame the wave, I finally relented and went to see her own stylist. He looked at my spiky locks in horrified disbelief before calling all the other hairdressers in the salon across and proceeding to use me as a teaching aid in how not to cut hair. Humiliation doesn't come much more terrible than to have the piss taken out of you by a hairdresser. I pulled off the protective gown they'd thrown around my neck and stormed out, never to return. My neck stayed warm that summer.

As a rebellious teenager, I was into the David Sylvian look, and played endlessly with hydrogen peroxide to get that cool bleached blonde fringe, drooping over my glasses and getting into my food (oh, how I miss the eighties!), but I still hated the cutter. Then, after university, when I was hanging about in Aberdeen trying to be a comic script writer, I decided that hair was just an inconvenience you had to ignore. I think it was somewhere between my shoulder blades and my arse in length before I finally relented and got it cut. The beard didn't see much trimming in those years, either. Frankly I'm not sure why the Horse Doctor put up with it. If you're ever unfortunate enough to see Mr Stuart's wedding photos, I doubt you'll recognise me. But you might wonder who that Neanderthal in the kilt is.

Today I've learned to cope with my trichological phobia, and can seek the attention of a coiffure without having to be bullied. But since the nearest one is in Aberystwyth, and I hate going to town if it can at all be avoided, the old tresses do tend to lengthen a bit. On the plus side, at eight pound a pop, getting scalped twice a year is cheap. It costs the Horse Doctor twice that* and she goes a lot more frequently than I do.

And so, light of head I brave the winter months. But I can't complain really. At least I've hair to cut.

* which is particularly galling, since this time at least, she had less hair to be shorn than I did, favouring as she does a rather boyish crop.

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