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Friday, February 25, 2011

Bad hair phase


I dropped to my knees shaking in agony, various toiletries and hygiene products showering down on top of me. Holy sweet merciful christ almighty. In a miscalculated attempt to swish hair out of my face,  I had shaken my hair absent mindedly and with just my amazing luck, a strand of peroxide coated hair had flicked into my eye and been squished there by the delayed reaction of my eyelids shutting together. I used to think I knew what pain was but this was a completely new sensory experience. Desperately ripping off my little plastic gloves and crawling around on the floor blindly like a gasping goop coloured cockroach, I prayed and prayed to come into contact with a towel. Even crawling into door frames and toilets couldn't distract from my mission. I still believe that had I found a spoon there on the bathroom floor at that moment I would have scooped out my own eye...
2 minutes, (or in pain time: several eons) later I managed to climb up the sink, towel in hand, and hung there with my bare eye under the cold tap, whimpering. The searing pain didn't seem to bothered with subsiding and I started to have a life altering moment of thinking about all the things I would never see again, now that I had been blinded by a home hair dye kit. Uninspired, all I could think of was how I'd recorded last nights Skins and my now never get a chance to see it. Eventually my sight came back just as I began to panic about how I'd even find the remote control, and I after three excruciating blinks, I could peer at my reflection: Red faced and panting. One eye practically useless, bloodshot and swiveling around it's socket in a mad panic, the other one tearing up from my near blinding experience. As I straightened up, I watched the pus coloured goopy dye drip onto my shoulders after coming undone from the excitement. I was a sight for sore eye. The shiny black box laying on the floor, in all the aftermath caught my impaired sight. I squinted in fury at the blonde gorgeous model absolutely shit-a-brick happy beaming up at my from the hair dye box. That was how I was supposed to turn out. Sigh. Putting myself through all of this hardly seems worth it just for the sake of fixing a few pesky roots. But it's definitely better than putting myself through the trauma of going to the hairdressers.

I want my hairdresser to be my friend. I always have, and I always will. I always sit there lemon mouthed and smiling awkwardly every time I catch my stylists eye contact in the mirror. Meanwhile, in the chair next to me, another client seems to be having the funniest conversation there ever was with what appears to be their bff 4 eva + alwayz who is standing behind them holding the scissors. I try and I try and I try, but I've never met the right person. I did once have a brief relationship with a hairdresser. It did not end well. Since then I've been careful with my heart...y split ends.
 The year: 2005. My hair: brown. The boys in my town had really been testing my patience. I don't know if they'd been paying attention during any romcoms, like I had, but they had yet to realise that the bookish, unattractive brunette in the corner of the library was actually the girl of their dreams. I had to try another method before I could helpfully point it out to them that they were in love with me. Being me though, there was no happy middle. Learning how to use a comb or apply make up may have sufficed. I don't know if you all remember, but 15 year old boys are not exactly tricky to seduce. But no, as far as I was concerned, I had exhausted all avenues with the awkward nerdy girl attempt. With me, I was either one end of the spectrum, or the other. I was either radio waves, or gamma rays. I was never infrared. (My library phase featured a heavy interest in physics. The sexiest of the soul destroying sciences.)
  And lo, it was decided, I would REINVENT MYSELF. Being 15, I had only been 'myself' for about 4 days. Nevertheless, it was time to get a ridiculously cool haircut. This haircut, ladies and gents, was so ridiculously cool that it's 2011 now and it STILL hasn't come into fashion. I was that ahead of the game.
    I wanted a spikey punky little creation, with of course the obligatory pink streaks. I've seen the pictures, the only thing I can say is where was my mother when this idea went down. 
    And after going into my local salon one day for a trim, I found the man for the job. His name was Andy and we got on really well. I was over the moon. 'This was it!', I thought, 'my big chance.' 
   As I was paying for my trim, I proposed the idea to Andy. His face lit up like a stolen car in the corner of a field behind Dungarvan GAA pitch. At the time I saw his enthusiasm in a kind of creative 'I shall make you my masterpiece' kinda way. I see now all to clearly that it was obviously a ''SOMEONE HAS GIVEN THE MOST HYPERACTIVE CHILD IN THE PLAYGROUND A PAIR OF SCISSORS'' kinda way. I booked the appointment and strutted out of the hairdressers. Already I had the montage in my head of the day I would walk into school: renewed. I would be wearing sunglasses for no particular reason, and I would take them off in slow mo and shake my head and everyone would go ''oooh!''.
      I know what you're thinking. 'Oh Saucy! Another stupid mistake you've made in your life and have inadvertently used as blogging material. We can all clearly see at this point in the story that this haircut is going to end up looking horrific''. Sorry if I've spoiled the ending for any of you who were in extreme tension at this point, but yes obviously the haircut came out terrible. The shocker is that the actual haircut I chose isn't even the worst thing that happened me that day. Yeah, you're gonna keep reading now, aren't ya. 
     I arrived and nestled myself snug in the chair. I think I intentionally ignored the manic look in Andy's eyes as he eyed up a range of scissors and took his sweet time in selecting which one he was going to use to hack away at my locks. Cos me and Andy were so tight, we sat and chatted for a while about how we were going to do this. Together. He and I. I and he. 
     Andy explained to me that with the drastic change I wanted to do, he would have to do the job in three steps. (You would think the word ''drastic'' and the fact that I had to have a consultation and sign a permission slip before getting it done would have deterred me but no.) First he was going to cut my hair into a chunky Tetris blocky pyramid type shape. Then he was going to bleach where appropriate and apply the pink dye. Then he was going to snip away into my chunky lego layers and make me one funky chicken. Sound good?
 No. Of course it doesn't. It sounds like the stupidest haircut there ever was. But on with the narrative. Andy began to methodically cut into my hair so that it was in four very unattractive symmetrical blocky steps on either side of my face. If you can imagine, it looked for all the world like I was wearing a brown lego hat. But no matter. I stopped focusing on the haircut because OMG YOU GUYS, ANDY AND I WERE GETTING ON SO FREAKIN' WELL!
     I was beyond excited at this point. I couldn't wait for Andy and I to start having a really cosmo relationship and possibly creating our own secret high five, involving a finger click or three. We sat there exchanging hiiii-larious stories from our ker-azy lifes. Obviously he being a male hairdresser in a small Irish town (MAD!!!) and I being the kind of person who dyed my hair pink, we were both two kooky and off the wall for this one shaded horse town. If it weren't for the pure peroxide burning straight into my scalp, I wouldn't have known we were already on Phase 2: bleaching. Andy and I were having such a jovial time, we lost the run of ourselves. That peroxide was a little bit close to things like my ears and face. Andy was listening so intently to the interesting things that I was saying that he was smiling and nodding at me in the mirror, stroking the peroxide loaded brush over the same part of hair over and over again. Yeah, it was careless hairdressing, AND WHAT OF IT? We were having a whale of a time. Bonding. It got to the stage where even when we were silent I'd look up from my copy of OK! from 1999 and he'd look up hair, and our eyes would meet in the mirror. Usually, this is moment is so painfully awkward with any other hairdresser I'd choke myself with the nearest GHD cord. With Andy, we could just smile at each other and go back to what we were doing. We were like that. 
   And then it happened. I was nattering away about whatever laborious incident was overshadowing my stressful 15 year old life, and Andy flicked back his wrist in a gesture of sympathy to my tale of woe. So lost in my anecdote was he, that he momentarily forgot he was holding an extremely dangerous bottle of 100% pure peroxide in that hand, and it slipped from his grip. 
     What are the odds, would you think, dear reader, of that bottle falling from Andy's grip and his arm being the perfect distance from the floor at that point & the peroxide bottle being at the perfect weight that it would allow the bottle to spin so many times on it's descent to the floor that it would land at a precise angle. An angle so precise, say, that it striking the floor at such a force would cause an ejection of peroxide from the tip of the bottle and it would go directly (because it was at this perfect angle) into Andy's eye? If you were a betting man, how much money would you put on that ACTUALLY happening? Before you answer, pause, and think who's blog are you reading. Yeah, now reassess: What are the odds of this happening to me?
That's right. Extremely likely. 
Back to the innocuous 15 year old me sitting in the salon chair. All I saw was Andy drop something and then seemingly try to really enthusiastically pick it up on the floor by collapsing onto the ground after it, disappearing from view completely. I sat there for a few awkward seconds blinking at my reflection thinking, 'Oh Andy, you clown! Probably trying to initiate a really hilarious game of peek-a-boo in a minute by staying on the ground so long.' I was then more than a little irked when some of the salon staff came running over, ruining the game entirely.
'Andy, ANDY? Are you ok?'
I best turn around and see whats happening.
Andy was lying on the floor shaking in a way I had only seen performed by an upside down crab at the beach once. His mouth kept opening and closing until eventually what was (I'm sorry Andy) a very feminine scream came out. Everyone was very confused. No one more than me. 
What was this, Andy? Was it one of our private jokes which we'd talked about during Phase 1? If it was, I'm sorry but the reference was not very clear at all. Maybe it was some sort of installation art piece. If so I was going to like Andy very much indeed. He was quite clearly the coolest person ever. 
Eventually Andy managed to tear his hands away from his inflamed face and point at the bottle of peroxide lying beside him. It quickly transpired to everyone what had happened. Everyone except me of course. 
It wasn't until I was standing outside the salon with the rest of the staff (and even some other curious clients,) wearing scraps of tinfoil in my hair and my black cape looking like the worlds shittest supervillian, as they loaded up the ambulance, that they explained the situation to me. 
Andy had in fact managed to squirt pure peroxide into his left eye and was now being rushed to hospital in an attempt to save his eyesight. This Andy was the same man whom I'd sat and listened to for 40 minutes as he discussed how hairdressing was his only calling in life. How his life would be so mind-numbingly soul destroyingly void and meaningless if he didn't wake up to a scissors and comb every day. And I had potentially taken this away from him. I had visions of Andy in a dark room wearing two dramatic eye patches and sobbing aloud, now that he can't cry anymore, blowing a hairdryer into his own face just to FEEL like a stylist again. 
       This scenario is bad enough as is, you're probably forgetting that at this point me and Andy are BFF's so I was extra upset. Also I was 15 and a clusterfuck of emotions at the best of times, so I may have had a little lip wibble. Hairdressers being hairdressers they flocked around me and herded me into the salon with lots of ''ooh''s and ''aah''s and tongue clicking and ''aw hun!''. 
     A cup of tea later and to be honest I was sure Andy was going to be right as rain. One of the hairdressers, or Miss Lovelies as I called them from that point on, then brought my attention back to the other pressing matter at hand.
'Now Saucy, how are we going to sort your hair...'
'Oh yes well I guess you can just pick up there where Andy left off with the peroxide there...'
I caught the look on Miss Lovely #1's face as she let her eyes dart to the offending bottle of chemicals, a few feet away still lying at the scene of the crime. It was obvious she was going nowhere near THAT. She then composed herself
'Well um, Saucy, the thing is....before Andy was taken off in the ambulance...'
My face winced at the reminder of what I had already told myself would definitely be a repressed memory from now on
'...WHERE I'M SURE HE'LL BE FINE!!! Well, he said that am, he didn't want any of us to finish your hair...'
Very funny Andy! 
The look on my face must have said it all.
'Well the thing's such a big job and he was going to be so proud of it, he uh, wanted to finish it himself. When he gets out of A&E...'
I frowned. That's disappointing at best. I had a disco tonight and my reinvention was going to be put off. There was something niggling at me though, something I was forgetting....
The lovelies flocked around me and took me to the sink where they washed out all of the demon peroxide and sat me back in the chair for a blow dry. Well, at the very least my hair was going to be nice and glossy and straight for the night.
The penny didn't drop until the lovelies had completely finished drying my hair.
Lego hair.
ANDY NEVER GOT TO PHASE THREE. He didn't even get to the middle of phase two. I looked like the Sphinx. 
Half a haircut. I left the hairdressers with half a haircut. Certainly the worst half. And on the eve of a teenage disco. I was a Jacqueline Wilson novel waiting to happen. For the evening I sat with tears flooding down my face and 10,000,000 hairclips by my side trying to clip back the clumps of brillo pads which were my tresses. I would pull at strands and attempt to force them into a clip before realizing they had been cut unexpectedly and then screaming 'THERE'S NOTHING TO CLIP! I HAVE NO HAIR! I HAVE NO HAAAAAAIR!'
And that was the last time I tried to be friends with my hair dresser.

And so staring back in the mirror at my present day self, I kind of felt bad for Andy. If homedye hurts when you get it in your eye, I can only imagine what industrial strength chemicals were like. Also because I can see now that Andy had hoped I would be his little protegĂ©. I don't have to describe to you how bad that haircut turned out when Andy was finally allowed to take off his eyepatch. And so with a deep breath and gritted teeth, I pulled back on my little plastic gloves and set to work on those damn roots. Yes I am trusting my hair with the biggest idiot I know, but no matter how much I fuck it up it will never be as bad as that particular 'do was....*shudder* .

The Saucy Cow


  1. That is wicked and painfully funny. Both Andy and you have sympathies, I have had bleach in my eye too (and an air bubble once! Long story...).

    Also, the girls in the corner of my library were either taking drugs or sleepwalking. Where were you then, Saucy?

  2. Where the hell is YOUR library? But I'm sorry that I failed you. Can't believe I let a library corner go nerdless.

    An air bubble?! That sounds intriguing...? But yeah bleach in the eye is a proper ''I AM NOT GOING TO LIVE THROUGH THIS'' moment.

  3. Oh dear...even if he was crap, at least he was nice...normally hairdressers are crap AND jerks!


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