Something For The Weekend….Down Under
C tells me that I only get a decent haircut once every twenty years. Well, the last one was twenty years ago – just before my wedding – and being Down Under for six weeks now has necessitated a visit to a barber. Frankly, I had my eye on one of the $15 haircut jobbos (as the Aussies would say – they shorten everything and put an “o” on the end of it) but C insisted that I go somewhere “proper” and insisted that I book myself in at Toni and Guys, and promptly left the country……
Now, changing one’s barbers is stressful at the best of times. I believe I have utilised no more than four different barbershop establishments in my entire life, each change necessitated either by my relocation or as a result of the establishment going under. But, for a hot-blooded heterosexual male such as myself, the prospect of going to a proper “hairdressers” or a “stylists” can be quite daunting.
I am sure it is something that my brother-in-law, Smithy, would take in his stride – but he is a bald metro-sexual who moisturises his whole body, shaves his legs and plucks his eyebrows. He’s a pilot. Need I say more. In fact, thinking about it, my youngest brother-in-law would also probably take it in his stride too – but he is called Joel and looks like he’s a member of One Direction. I do hope he doesn’t moisturise all over as well…..
Even the call to make the booking was daunting. I was greeted like a long-lost friend and then asked to choose whether I would like to be “attended to” by a hair stylist for $95 or a creative director at $143. Attended to? I was looking for a quick trim and tidy up rather than “extras” and something for the weekend. I went for the stylist on price, and because I didn’t fancy anyone getting too creative with my locks. I’m a person, not an object.
I was asked if there was anyone particular I would like to attend to me. I thought about stipulating a woman – this is the gay capital of the Antipodes and I could do without being hit upon by a guy running his fingers through my hair – but I thought that might be a bit rude. C recently told me that heterosexual men cannot help but to flirt with gay men. I rubbished the theory but, frankly, didn’t want to be put to the test.
Now don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against gay men. I fact, some of the stylists in the barbers I use back home are gay. Robbie Savage frequents the place after all. But that is a barbers, where all the clients are male and straight razors are wielded and we talk about football, beards and women and man-stuff.
I thought carefully about what to wear. I went for casual butch and macho. I needn’t have worried. Upon arrival it was clear that the one gay male stylist was already attending to another client, another male, who seemed to be enjoying all of the creative direction and attention he was receiving. I am not sure whether the client was gay or not but there was certainly much flirting going on. C could be right after all.
There was a lot more faffing than usual – I was presented with my own personal pile of magazines for men and a cup of coffee and then they insisted on washing my hair which I had already washed myself not an hour and a half earlier…..
Fortunately my stylist was female – a pretty, chatty Asian girl who danced around me with the grace of a ballerina, complimenting me on my “silver hair”, and massaging my ego. I have moved beyond my earlier Clooneyesque salt ‘n pepper look and am now in my silver fox stage.
All in all she did a great job. But, I’m not sure the difference merits the price tag – there was nothing for the weekend at the end of it. Now I’m off to trim my beard. But not my eyebrow. And, no moisturising.