{02/05/2012}   Hairdresser chit chat

I do not like going to the hairdresser. I do not like making small talk to hairdressers. I just want my hair cut and to get out of there. I don’t even book appointments because it is something to dread not look forward to. The other day, after dropping in to three salons who were unable to give me a cut there and then, the fourth had a stylist available within five minutes. Result.
He was the first male hairdresser who had cut my hair in years. He was also the chattiest hairdresser I have possibly ever had. All this said, he was a nice bloke. He initiated the conversation at the hair wash phase. I couldn’t hear very well, what with the disco music being pumped out and water in my ears, so I uttered a few grunts to indicate I was engaged in the conversation. But it seems that I had encouraged him to believe I was into slasher films. I am not. I never have been, I never will be and the mere talk of the gruesome infiltrates my night brain and nightmares ensue. Just not a subject I ever want to discuss.
It transpires that his girlfriend loves them and he endures them. He asked me if I’d seen a whole array of films and TV programmes, all of which I told him “No, I really don’t like that kind of thing”. So instead of changing the subject or genre, he then filled me in on the plots, etc. Seriously disturbing stuff. I felt out of my depth and even more uncomfortable in a hair salon than usual.
Hair salons, in my experience, are largely staffed with people far younger and trendier than me. I don’t think I’ve ever walked into a hair salon looking either trendy or young; I am usually barely concealing a look of dread that gives me frown lines. Yet, is it just me or does everyone get asked about clubs, boozy nights out and slasher films? I once had my hair done in Manchester. My stylist asked me where I clubbed in Manchester. Me? Really? Fortunately, as I didn’t live in Manchester, that was my excuse. So she told me where she thought I’d like to go in Manchester. I had meant to go there, just to identify what it was she thought of me but I didn’t have a chance to go.
An elderly woman next to me the other day was waiting for her dye to take. She was telling her lively young stylist about her days in the dance halls of yesteryear. Good for her, she kept up with the conversation better than me. I have nothing against hairdressers, I can see that they don’t want to spend the day in silence, but I believe there is a skill to judging what your client would prefer. By explaining what I’d like doing to my hair and then sitting mutely, I always think it’s blatantly obvious I want silence. All this talk of clubbing and slashers makes me feel older than is necessary and, no, I don’t want a bloody Victoria Beckham do and, yes, I know I have grey hairs but I’m not falling for that “three hours in the salon as a hostage, released only on payment of an eye-watering ransom” hair dye thing ever again, that was one of the most tortuous three hours of my life! It will be at least a month of bad hair days before I will next set foot in a hair salon.


I am increasingly aware of wrinkles, both mine and those of people I don’t know. For all those reading this who know me, I’m not interested in your wrinkles as an age identifier, the odds are I already know how old you are!

I found myself staring in the mirror and inspecting the skin on my face the other day. I did that long enough to get aching arms from prodding, stretching, etc my skin. I am trying to embrace ageing. I am happy to be getting older where my mind, self-awareness, confidence and experience are concerned. I am distressed about the way my memory is performing. I am becoming increasingly aware of wrinkles. I want to love them.

Part of the reason I was examining my face the other day was because I realised I’d been trying to work out how old someone around my age was. I realised I was going by her face, neck and hands. I concluded she was younger but more ravaged than me! I’m not sure I feel comfortable with this relatively recent fixation with whether people are older or younger than me. It shouldn’t matter, I don’t think.

When I was 35, having not been asked for ID to buy alcohol for quite some years, I was asked on two separate occasions in different towns and shops for ID. Absolutely ridiculous and in fact so ridiculous I couldn’t even see it as a compliment. On the first occasion, I laughed. She probably saw my “laughter wrinkles” at that point and realised her error. I informed her I was 35. 35. I did produce my driving licence, but by this time I think she’d given me a proper look. She was very apologetic but I was quite happy. I did at least feel a bit more youthful than I might normally have felt!

The last time it happened was in Morrison’s, Peckham. This was not a pleasant experience at all and I came out of the store almost in tears and, believe it or not, only in possession of my bottle of wine by virtue of having quite a nasty argument with two members of staff. I know I should’ve complained but I haven’t been back to that store since and I hope never to again. Horrid.

I was using the highly annoying self-check-out machine. I didn’t have that many things, pretty much what I wanted for dinner that night, including a bottle of wine. As anticipated, the beepers and flashing lights went off when I scanned the wine so I waited for someone to come over. She came over, miserable, and asked for ID. I did a proper double take and in shock said, “But I’m 35”. She looked at me, scowled and demanded ID. I’m not kidding, we had an exchange whereby she repeated her request for ID and I alternated between saying, “But I’m 35” and, “I don’t have any ID”. She was having none of it. Then, when the red mist really starting forming, she manhandled me to take the wine out of my hand. Seriously, I felt violated! And robbed. At that point, she was between me and my wine and I was having none of it. We had a dispute. I showed her my wallet and the few debit cards in there. She wouldn’t accept that could mean I was over 18. I was not going to let go of this one and I knew by this point if she’d been decent she would have realised there was no way I was under 18. It got more heated, though neither of us were shouting. So she called over her manager and explained the situation, still with my wine in her hands and an unvalidated check-out. The manager then turned to me, looked at me and said that if I didn’t have ID I couldn’t buy the alcohol. I was seriously shocked; probably lucky to be more shocked than enraged. It went back and forth. I got out my car keys, “But you can be 17 to drive a car”. I repeated that I was 35. By this point, getting angry and frustrated, I was wrinkling like a 90-year old. I can’t remember what tipped the balance, maybe the other customers starting to take notice or maybe just the ridiculousness of the whole situation, but the manager took the bottle of wine, put it on the bag packing area, looked at me, with an evil scowl (well, that’s how I remember it now!), and, while jabbing her finger at me (red rag that, and I’m Taurus!), she said in no uncertain terms that she would let me out with the wine but that her job was on the line for doing that as if I was under age she would be responsible, blah, blah, bollocking blah. She actually jabbed her finger at me and that was all said as if to a naughty pupil. She then made some comment about getting outside the doors as quickly as possible. I was really upset as I walked home.

I suppose that story isn’t really to do with wrinkles, rather two spiteful people on a bit of a power trip. But I suppose I should just appreciate that I must have looked a tiny bit younger than I was. Must apply some anti-wrinkle cream before I go out …

{09/02/2012}   What no make-up?

I just saw the front cover of Heat: Celebs without make-up.  Shock.  I can see why such photos are regularly printed, they make the likes of Jo Public feel good, whether that be because they can bitch about an otherwise immaculate celebrity looking awful, ie normal, or whether they can feel better in the knowledge that make-up is available for all, so if Posh can look rough without make-up and ok with, we can improve our appearance with make-up.  Hurrah, hope for us all.
I’m all in favour of make-up for every day use, to an extent.  I feel bare if I don’t have my Mac Studio Fix on.  It takes the shine off my face and makes me feel smooth complexioned.  I would wear mascara and eyeliner if I could apply them well, not rub my eyes a lot and not be paranoid about having make-up splodges and panda eyes.
Yesterday, I found myself sitting next to the kind of girl I can’t help but snatch stares of.  She was orange-faced to just below her chin, had bright blond hair tied back and a neon pink hair thing ,and her eyes were weighed down with mascara, eyeliner and plastered on eyeshadow.  I imagine with her hair down and no make-up she would look very different.  Like celebrities do without their … camouflage?
I think make-up for every day use makes me feel better, fully dressed.  But I can and do go out without it, feeling bare though I do.
If I were to suddenly become famous, I would be recognisable only with my basic foundation.  If I had the red carpet treatment, I would be unrecognisable … apart from an inability to walk elegantly in high heels!
A friend of mine is a make-up artist for TV.  She always wears a lot more make-up than I would for going out, and it’s beautifully applied.  When she’s “just round mine” she wears a lot less and I don’t think would go out unprepared.
I guess make-up is a kind of disguise, a barrier, our chance to show others how good we can look by enhancing, say, our lovely blue eyes.  Because your face is the part of you people spend most time looking at (unless you’re 32KK!).  The girl with the pink hair thing probably thought she looked amazing, indeed like some types of celebrity.  That was an image she consciously wanted to flaunt.  She got noticed.  Maybe she wouldn’t have done if she just had on foundation and eyebrows in need of restructuring, as I did!
I would love to be creative with make-up.  Knowing someone who does it for a living, I appreciate it’s hard work.  She works with a lot of “normal” people who don’t necessarily have botoxed, smooth, expensively-moisturised skin.  And who have an idea that she can make them look like [stunning model].  We can’t all be transformed to look amazing but it’d be great if we could all have make-up lessons so we could enhance our lovely features and conceal the not-so-lovely ones!
I am wildly making semi-points but developing nothing, so here’s a stab at a conclusion/point: celebrities are not all beautiful people.  Like anyone else, they probably use make-up to create an image, look as good as they can.  The reason most of us don’t look that good is because we are not usually photoshopped or made-up by professionals.  They also probably know that they lose an incy bit of awe in the eyes of those that see them when they are seen merely looking “normal”.  Also, our more conventional work environments probably aren’t conducive to going-out make-up.

et cetera