Changer de tête

Samson and the lionI’ve been having a bad hair day for what feels like forever. Like the unmistakable first symptoms of a cold, I’ve felt a change coming on. It’s always the same. You keep looking in the mirror, checking your profile, from the back, from the front. Ack. Something’s just not working. Even when I crinkle my eyes and squint.

Time for a ‘change of head’ as we say in French, which for me means a trip to the hairstylist. Here in France you must ‘prendre rendezvous’ (book an appointment) before heading chez le coiffeur. And although it’s only been a month since the last time I sat in that chair, I go back and sing my song of woe.

“Ils sont affreux!” I say, remembering to use the plural as I describe the horror story of my hair. Too long here, too short there. My head looks like a crème caramel. My roots are too dark, my ends too wispy. Essentially I dislike the shape of my head. Can you make it less…round?

He knows I’m joking, bien sûr. Although I only began seeing Nicolas last summer (I am a faithful sort), he’s already had me in his chair (did I write that?) for many hours. He senses, I am sure, that this winter of my discontent is about more than my roots.

We women may not suffer the indignity of losing our hair, but let’s be clear: we suffer. Monthly, and I don’t mean in that way, although that’s not nothing either. I am talking about a certain dependence on hairstylists in order to look/feel/be great. Even good. Even not like a monster.

Not all women feel this way. Some brave lasses don’t bother with their locks at all. Some chop it all off, bundle it back or let it grow wild and grey. I admire you all. You are beautiful. But let’s be clear: I am a top-down kinda girl. If the hair works, everything else falls into place. No makeup needed and I can throw on any old clothes without feeling like a freak.

Once upon a time I was little blonde angel. It didn’t last long. That is, I was a natural blonde until my teens but the angel part went by the wayside early on. I think this picture of me in first communion gear was the last time I played the part. In the mid-seventies, I did the Farrah Fawcett flip (any under-30s reading this blog will have to Google that). Then came the perm years. I started chopping into those curls somewhere in my twenties until I decided to go short and chic.

Evolution of the coiffure

So I’ve stayed, on and off, ever since. Always short, sometimes chic. But now I’m thinking: what if I grow it out, just a bit? A bit blonder to get me through the dark winter months. Maybe, just maybe, this time I’ll be able to wait it out.

So off I went a few days ago. Played hooky from work (had my laptop with me just in case and besides, I’m on intimate terms with the boss). Showed them a few photos of my last round as a blonde bombshell. The salon I go to now is bigger and has a dedicated colouriste. This makes a huge difference. She was able transform my horrible head in the space of two hours.

Then it was back in the chair with Nicolas. He spent another half hour or so trimming and styling but not cutting. It was worth it. When you’re trying to grow your hair out, a few millimeters of reshaping can make a big difference.

Later that afternoon I emerged from the salon, a new woman. Somewhat the poorer but feeling that it was worth every centime. Like Samson with his hair, I am ready to face down the lion. In fact, I’ve barely even looked in the mirror since.

Care to share any war stories about your locks, lack thereof, or latest look?