Friday, May 9, 2014

Hair today, gone tomorrow


Oh dear, I have a terrible feeling about this. 

I do hope she knows what she’s doing. There’ll be tears by sundown. Jo, my wife, is having a haircut. 

Not just any old haircut, but a complete schism, an independence movement from her current look. Like the Scots, there’ll be no going back after this.

You see, for as long as I’ve known her, and for most of the thirty years before I actually met her, Jo has carried on her head a luxurious mane of long lustrous hair. It cascades down her back like a dark willowy waterfall. 

I adore her hair. I love its colour, depth and texture. So does her hairdresser. It takes absolutely hours to “blow out” as I believe it’s called; every now and again she has what she calls “the greys” touched up. 

Once every couple of months she comes back from the hairdressers with a spring in her step. 

“Well, what do you think?” 

“Erm… Wonderful”, I lie. 

I have no idea what she’s talking about. Men don’t get hair. To me a haircut is a monthly chore. I would no more change my hairstyle than change my nationality. 

Short and a little choppy, mine is called. Like George Clooney. I’ve had my George Clooney since before both he and I went grey. 

My look was created by a hairdresser called George, whom I met in 1987 when I made a television programme about him – he was a celebrity hairdresser, for television presenters and the King of Greece. George persuaded me to have my hair short and choppy – a life-changing decision. 

He’s chopped my hair through three marriages and numerous life crises. He knows more about me than I do. For my 50th birthday George decided, as a present, to colour my grey hair back to its natural shade of middle-aged mouse. I’ve destroyed all the photographs. 

Now I’m a natural salt and pepper again – rather too much salt in the mix, if I’m honest. Real men never change their hair or their hairdressers. But since I moved up North, spending £300 on an East Coast train ticket just to get a light trim was a bit excessive. So I found someone in Newcastle to do the same job as George for a fraction of the cost. I trusted my hair to Zander, which I thought was a type of Austrian freshwater fish, but turns out is short for Alexander. 

Zander is a genius, absolutely the only person in the world capable of cutting it to the right amount of short choppiness – apart from George, the inventor of the look. I’m in a bit of a panic right now, for last week Zander told me he’d fallen in love with a girl in Canada and had decided to emigrate to be with her. How long had he known her? Two whole weeks. Hairdressers are impulsive creatures. 

So are their clients, if they’re female. So I always say Wonderful when Jo returns with a new look. Then I study it closely, and eventually detect faint highlights – streaks of gold in the darkness. Despite my assurances, she’s not convinced, then worries about them for hours, before announcing: “They need blending in”. 

Which means having her hair redone, just as it was before. Hairdressers love her – we may as well have a standing order into their bank account. 

But this time it’s different. Being a child of the Pinterested generation, Jo has decided to discard a lifetime of flowing locks for a “short messy bob”. Which means that 80 per cent of Jo’s hair will end up on the cutting room floor. There’s no amount of blending in will restore that to its former self. 

I sit her down to talk this over. She shows me the pictures of the Hollywood stars and fashion models she will now look like. She's going to her own George -- George Northwood, London's hottest stylist, celebrity hairdresser to supermodels and stars like Alexa Chung and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.  I nod sagely. My wife is more beautiful than any of them. But some do look rather cute. 

And I guess it will grow back over time. Unlike the United Kingdom. 

I do hope the Scots know what they’re doing. There’ll be tears by sundown. 

George makes the first cut


cogidubnus said...

You're quite right - she is indeed very beautiful; and I too hope they know what they're doing!

Anonymous said...

Hope Jo got a discount for this overt bit of publicity. Please don't take blog from the North down that route. Will miss the intellectual wit. Hate American style monetising of social media.

Tom Gutteridge said...

Don't be daft, Anonymous, I didn't get the haircut so why would there be a discount? I only write about what I see in life, not to order. And, as a journalist, if I ever received so much as a cheese sandwich, I would declare it to my readers.