A few mornings ago, I was woken by the sounds of excited chatter in the living room. From experience, this usually means one of two things: either one or both of my flatmates had a successful second date, or there’s a new movie out starring Ryan Gosling and he takes his shirt off.
I would have yelled out for Saffy and Amanda to keep the noise down, on account of the fact it was a Sunday morning, but the air-con had dried up my vocal chords overnight and all I could manage was a raspy croak.
The girls were at the breakfast table when I shuffled out of my bedroom. They turned bright shining eyes in my direction.
“Oh. My. God!” Amanda said immediately. “Saffy is leaving her hair-dresser! She’s moving salons!”
So excited she was unable to speak, Saffy gasped.
For girls reading this, I probably don’t need to explain to you why this would generate such excitement.
For perplexed guys, it’s like this.
Imagine you’re a devout Roman Catholic. You cross yourself every time Kurt and Blaine hold hands on ‘Glee’, and you hum a few Hail Marys whenever Callie and Arizona make out on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’.
And every Sunday, without fail, you faithfully confess all your sins to your priest. Let’s call him Father Anthony. You tell him everything that’s troubling you, every nasty thought you had that week about everyone from your nagging mother to your horrible boss. You tell him how you’re jealous that Jane in accounts is pregnant. How you stole some Post-It pads from the office. You reveal you’ve had forbidden urges for a married man, specifically Christopher Lee (or if you’re a dyed in the wool SPG, Hugh Jackman). You unburden all your sins, every uncharitable thought and act, past, present and future. You ask for absolution. But most of all, you ask for his patient, listening ear.
Because you know he won’t judge you. He loves you as you are. And you love him. You trust him.
So, you do this every Sunday. Every. Single. Sunday. With the same man. Because you need this man. He knows the real you.
And if Father Anthony is away on holiday, and Father Joseph is the temp confessor, you feel kind of weird talking to him. Which you know is probably not kosher either, so you confess the weirdness to Father Joseph anyway.
That’s kind of the sick co-dependent relationship women have with their hairdresser. They share secrets and shampoos. Hopes and henna. Confidences and conditioner. Gossip and colour. It’s intense.
And in the case of Saffy and Amanda, their relationships with their hairdressers, Michael and Steffan respectively, is as close as a gay man and a straight woman can get without actually going straight to hell.
So, you understand the fuss when Saffy announced her decision to leave Michael, who’s done her hair for the last eight years, for Jake who works at another salon across town.
“I want to try a new hair-style,” Saffy explained, “but Michael thinks this is the one that suits me best but I’m bored with it but I don’t want to upset him by telling him I’m bored with it but I’ve got this promotion coming up and I want to very subtly tell my boss that I’m all about new ideas but without actually telling him explicitly hence the hint with the new hair but I need to get it done without offending Michael which is why I’ve made an appointment with Jake but Michael can’t know so am I making myself clear?”
“Crystal!” Amanda said, sagely.
I’ll fast forward the rest of it: Saffy got snappy new bangs with Jake and also got her promotion and now she is wracked with guilt every time she looks into the mirror.
Everyone has complimented her on her fresh look, but whenever she steps out of the flat, she pulls her hair up in a bun and slaps on a cap and sunglasses.
“It will be a disaster if she accidentally bumps into Michael,” Amanda explained.
“So, she’ll go back to him?”
“Of course. A woman’s relationship with her hairdresser is sacred and eternal, you know. Marsha’s hairdresser saw her through four divorces and her fifth wedding! Besides, she has to. The stress of hiding out from Michael is killing her!”
“But won’t Michael know she’s had her hair cut by someone else?”
“Yes and no. She’s going to tell him that she was on holiday and caught lice from one of the kids at the orphanage she was visiting, and she had to get her hair cut by the local hairdresser.”
I stared at Amanda.
“What?” she asked.