I have long wanted to Do Something with my hair. But I didn't want to grow it and I was scared to dye it, which limited my options somewhat. A few days ago, however, I came up with the answer: why not have a design shaved into the back?
The first problem with this was not having the first idea where to get it done. I am accustomed to walking into Mr Topper's Original £6 Haircuts (formerly Mr Topper's Original £5 Haircuts), saying "Number 3 all over, please" and walking out again four minutes later. So I asked a colleague who is always having things done to his hair (tiny plaits/geometric patterns/shaving the whole lot off), and he told me that I'd probably have to go to an Afro-Caribbean shop.
I don't understand why hairdressers are so markedly segregated. Yes, there are different hair types, but surely when you're studying for your hairdressing qualification you are taught to handle them all? Yet in our integrated, multicultural melting-pot of a city, there are black hairdressers and white hairdressers and never the twain shall meet.
Until, that is, I walked with some trepidation into a barber's on Lee High Road, produced my design
and asked "Can you do that?" The hairdresser beamed and assured me that he thought he could, and ten minutes later I was installed in the chair with toilet paper wrapped round my neck to stop offcuts going down my collar (it really worked, too), listening to soft reggae and watching the lady in the chair opposite have her hair straightened with smoking tongs.
Having my hair cut is always a slightly nervewracking experience, since I have to take my glasses off and without them anything could be happening up there. This was even worse, as most of the action was taking place round the back. The point at which one of the other stylists said "Hey man, that looks more like a gremlin!" was the point at which I almost fled the chair.
But it's done; it's unusual, highly tactile and a darn fine haircut even without the husky. Of course I can't actually see it myself, and I've been spending a lot of time standing in front of the bathroom mirror and turning round really fast in the hope of catching a glimpse of the back of my own head. You lot will have to tell me when it's time to have it done again.Bigger picture here
. It's not perfect; the guy promised that next time I go in, he'll be able to make it a mirror image of my design.
I wonder what my grandma will think when I pop round for tea later?