Emma Connolly could barely wait to get her locks all dolled up after lock-down
I WAS in the hairdresser’s chair less than 10 minutes when the elastic strap on my mask suddenly snapped, leaving me totally exposed.
I half-expected a siren to sound, and for my stylist to shout ‘quick, woman down! Take cover everyone.’ But she simply produced a box of masks from her trolley very calmly, stepped back, and waited for me to get kitted out before getting on with the considerable job of sorting me out.
That’s about as dramatic as it got on my first visit back to the hairdressers after three months. I was all keyed up for a totally surreal and sterile experience, but what I got was a very relaxing few hours, and that was nothing to do with the fact that it was my first time alone in weeks.
My salon, like others, brief you in advance to be in time, come alone (the joy!), sanitise on arrival and to bring your own refreshments as they no longer do teas or coffees.
The team of stylists have split the week in two, with one team working 12 hours shifts for the first half, and the others, covering the second half. It’s a well organised operation – but they’ve been left with no other option.
For most of my two hours in the salon I was the only client on the first floor where two stylists are based, but with spaced out work stations separated by Perspex, and Perspex between sinks, there were lots of reassuring, yet still subtle signs, that everyone is completely on top of their game.
I couldn’t help overhearing another client tell her stylist how she had her hair cut twice during lockdown. I was waiting to hear details of a black market operator in the area, but no, it was by her husband and apparently he didn’t do too bad a job either!
This was the longest period I’d worn a mask for and a few things struck me about it – you definitely talk far less when wearing one. That’s probably an ease for the hard working stylists and besides the fall
back conversation starters such as ‘are you going on holidays?’ or ‘are you going out tonight?’ won’t work that well this summer.
But, more importantly, it’s very hard to read facial expressions, even a smile, when masked up.
My stylist told me she was resorting to the reliable ‘thumbs up’ in lots of situations, while I was hoping the crinkling-up of my crows’ feet signalled I was deliriously happy with her handiwork.
It wasn’t until I was halfway home that I realised the one thing I did miss was that buzzy background hum of hairdryers, phones and chatter (ok I admit it, and the little biscuits they hand out with coffees), but not half as much as the stylists do, I’d imagine.
Anyway, I’ve rebooked for the end of August and am only holding my breath that everyone does their bit to make sure we get that far.