For the past few years I've had a hairdresser who's also one of my loveliest friends. She is amazing. I sit in her chair and I can just say 'Do whatever you please' and I'll always come out with something I love. I trust her infinitely and she knows exactly what I like. So when my dearest Natani decided to move back to her homeland of South Africa, I was devastated - not only was my loveliest friend moving very, very far away... but also, where was I now going to get my hair cut?!
It was after Natani moved that this disaster occured. I had left my hair for months, feeling at a loss as to where to go or what to do with it, but a special occasion was fast approaching and so I needed to do something. I had returned to my hometown for the engagement party of my brother-in-law. It was a big deal, all the in-laws were going to be there, I had bought a new dress and shoes, but my hair looked a mess - all long and straggly and out of style.
So I decided to return to the hairdressers of my youth, they had always done a pretty good job and they were a local chain so I was pretty sure I'd get a good cut for a reasonable price. I sat in the chair and explained to the hairdresser that I wanted a choppy bob, just above my shoulders, with a side fringe. Pretty standard stuff, I thought, I'd explained that to many a hairdresser in the past and they had known exactly what I meant.
However, as the haircut progressed, I grew increasingly anxious, looking in the mirror as she chopped and chopped and chopped. 'Where are the layers?' I thought, 'what is she doing? Why is she going about it this way?' My fingers dug into the arms of the chair and I could feel my back getting stiffer and stiffer as I watched my hair take shape.
Then came the fringe. My sloping side fringe, which should start at my parting on the left-hand side and slant downwards to just above my right-hand eyebrow - Natani would always cut it a little too short so that it had room to grow - this was how it had always been, you could tell from the way my hair had grown out that it had always been that way, and the hairdresser herself had the exact same fringe!
My finger nails dug deeper into the chair "It's not exactly a side fringe is it?" I asked through gritted teeth. "What do you mean?", the hairdresser asked, frowning slightly at the very level fringe that she had just cut, straight across, with no softening, just a straight line, kind of like the fringe I had when I was four.
I reached up and pulled my fringe to the side in a slant "It's supposed to slant from my parting to the right, in a sloping side fringe!" I said.
She pulled my fringe to the side and said "Oh it will stay that way if you dry it properly"
"But it won't," I said as my eyes stung with tears, "It won't if it's the same length from left to right, this bit on the left of my parting is supposed to grade into the rest of my hair, but you've cut it the same length as the rest of the fringe!"
"Oh", she said, "that's ok." and she whipped out a razor blade and started shearing off chunks like a mad woman in a bid to make it less harsh and grade it in. "A razor blade isn't going to help it become a sloping side fringe - it's the same length all the way along." I said. "Don't try and fix it, it's fine, it's fine. I'm done." My voice was panicked, desperate to leave before she could inflict any further damage.
I jumped out of the chair, grabbed my coat, paid the bill without speaking and stormed out, my husband in tow, without saying a word. I stopped at a bench outside and put on my jacket, bursting into tears. "What's the matter?" Jon asked.
"I miss Natani".