Friday, 22 April 2005

The Cruelest Sales-Pitch

I have the hottest hairdresser in town. She is so hot that I return to her at five-weekly intervals, even though she goes for short-back-and-sides every single time. Not that it really matters, because my motorcycle helmet rules out styling my hair and in general I suffer from a serious case of helmet-head. In any case, she is so hot that, when I return home after a haircut, the first thing my housemate asks me about is what she was wearing. In fact she is so hot that she is the only person who can pull off a double-denim with style. In fact, she is so hot...ermm you get the idea - this girl is sharper than the pair of scissors she supposedly earns her living with.

I usually wait until I have a really bad day and then I go for a wash and a cut. Aah yes, another thing about her - she does not palm regular customers like me off to some shampoo-girl - she personally washes your hair. She takes great care not to spill some water in one’s ears, the way careless shampoo-girls are wont to do. Also, a wash is followed with a very long and relaxing head-massage. This head-massage is so intense that it usually elicits involuntary moaning sounds from me. At first I felt a little guilty about this moaning, but she reassured me that moaning is an important signal in our stylist-client communication, as it indicates to her that she is on the right track... sort of pressing the right buttons I suppose. However, I soon learnt that muttering "yes, baby..." is frowned upon - apparently there is this invisible line that should not be crossed.

Oh and when she cuts your hair she lowers the chair to this perfect height whilst moving around you. And when she moves around you there is the intoxicating smell of her perfume that follows her. Not too sweet and flowery, not too metallic either - an in-between scent... perfection. Whilst normal hairdressers clean the fluffy hair in one’s neck with an electric clipper, this girl whisks out a genuine old-fashioned razor-blade! This action of her pulling the razor-blade over my skin, stimulates a mixture of fear and excitement in me that is truely Sigourney Weaveresque (in an Alien[s] 1, 2, 3 and 4 kind of way). So in short, I really enjoy going to her for haircuts, probably because it is the closest that I can get to a lap-dance without the moral disapproval that accompanies visits to strip-clubs. And in a twisted way my hair-salon visits are hotter than strip-club visits too - especially if (like me) you rate potentiality over actuality.

Over the last couple of visits, she managed to convince me that, taking into account the fact that I regularly wear a motorcycle helmet, the shorter she cuts my hair the better. At first I refused. The ostensible reason (that I advanced) being that my hair is really straight and have a tendency to stand if cut too short. The hidden reason (that I harbored of course) being that really short hair would move me off the five-weekly haircut cycle to a six-weekly cycle. Imagine my horror at simply imagining a whole extra week without her hovering around me, clasped in a chair, covered in a cloak, with the razor-blade being flicked over the back of my neck!

But of course, I have never been really good at winning arguments with beautiful people, so I gave in to the even shorter-back-and-sides suggestion. To be fair, I must admit that having fire-breaks around your ears does wonders for helmet-head, if only because there is less hair to be disturbed. But the shorter sides also meant that some thinning of the top was called for. She has a special pair of scissors for thinning hair that are a couple of teeth short and these only cut some of the hair, her level of enthusiasm regardless, and so thins the hair out. Naturally a major part of my last visit consisted of thinning the top, because she went "medieval" on the back and sides. The haircut was practical beyond believe, no styling required, not affected at all by time spent inside my motorcycle helmet, and so forth. I also think I looked great, albeit in a retro rat-pack kind of way.

After such a haircut comes another special treat. Knowing how uncomfortable it must be to walk around with cuttings of hair stuck under your collar and other irritating places, she offered to rinse my hair and then blow-dry it for me. Of course I noticed the unspoken-but-implied invitation to a bonus head-massage and agreed in a knowing sort of way. And then, while she was running water over my head, she lined me up for an incredible salvo of salon cruelty. First she made a little "u-oh" sound and then exclaimed with shock that she could see my scalp! My back stiffened and my fingers clamped the armrests. Carefully I asked her what it means. She gave me a complete diagnosis. My hair is naturally fine and according to her it is starting to thin noticably at the top. Sweat started steaming from under my palms as I waited for her professional opinion. Based upon my last few visits she came to the conclusion that I am rapidly approaching baldness! I was silent for a moment and then tried a weak joke about the correlation between an over-production of testosterone and baldness, but before my mind’s eye I could see myself losing my toupee in public and I was horrified.

In a soothing voice she told me to relax, because it is not such a disaster as one would think. Apparently thinning of male hair is natural. It is caused by a confluence of factors ranging from genetic predisposition, to nutrition, to stress and even environmental pollution. But there are some things that a victim can do to soften the blow dealt by nature. There are a number of shampoos and conditioners available that stimulate the hair follicles, reverse the thinning of the scalp, clean and nourishes the hair, and these products can slow, if not reverse, the process of balding. Especially if the symptoms are noticed as early as she has done in my case. Together, we can beat this thinning of my hair; she will monitor my situation and help me. To be exact, I am actually in luck, because their salon just that week became a Nioxin supplier and they have the entire Nioxin hair and scalp regimen for sale!

I slumped in the chair as I realised that my favourite hairdresser just made me the target of the cruelest sales pitch. And I walked out to my bike, even more convinced of the depths of female perfidy than before.

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