I cheated on my hairdresser. I knew it was wrong but I needed a change. I felt I had to get out and live a little, despite the obvious risk. Our relationship had been casual to start off with but already I was in too deep. After four years, it was now strictly monogamous.
It wasn’t something I had ever planned but somehow I had just kept going back. The convenience of the inner Sydney location made it so easy to pop in for a trim and initially I had just let the colourful detail of his day-to-day life wash over me. It was really just politeness that made me first inquire after his wayward boyfriend and the weekends away, but before too long I was getting the full story, including way too much information about his dysfunctional relatives and the difficulties of toilet training ferrets.
I was now family.
The problem was he was just not any good at cutting or styling hair. The right combination of celebrity photograph, pre-wash show-and-tell and an insight into my weekend activities, would surely ensure that I came out looking how I liked, right? Wrong. Every six-week visit saw me emerging as a different cast member from The Love Boat.
It is a brave person who criticises the work of someone who is swirling above their head with sharp blades. I would always leave the salon with my face fixed in a joker sort of smile that appeared after the small mirror was brought out to show me the back of my head.
“Great, great, fine, yes, good” would squeak out of my forced smile in answer to "do you like it". It would be insensitive to speak the truth when so much creative vigour had been applied to make me look glamorous. Once out of the door, I would quickly shake my head upside down lest the combination of chemicals set permanently in that particular style.
I had to get out. This relationship was killing me.
So this week when I found myself outside another salon, I knew I had to make the leap. I walked in and asked for a trim. This was it. I had finally made the break. Sitting down in the chair an assistant had me trussed up in the neck to knee wrap when the hairdresser approached. A wave of nausea came over me. I knew her. “Hello Sandra, where have you been?” Four years is obviously nothing at all in hairdresser years as I barely recognised my former stylist from the late 90s. Of all the clip joints in all the world, I had to find the one where she was now working.
Damage control was automatic, “Oh, I’ve been living in Melbourne”. It just popped out as I knew I could never tell her the horrible truth that I had been seeing someone else right under her nose. I remembered how I had vowed never to go back to her after one particularly dreadful haircut I had my friends believing for weeks - from behind my hijab - that I had seriously embraced Islam.
After an hour of mindless chatter about my fictional new career in Melbourne and a haircut that now made me look like an extra from Prisoner, I was free. She was sorry to hear that I had to return to Melbourne practically immediately as she had been so pleased to see me.
I had learnt my lesson.
I’m growing my hair now. I know the day will come when I will have to go back to my local hairdresser but the longer my hair becomes, the harder it will be to tell who cut it last. That’s my theory anyway. I’m also looking for two very cute ferret collars which could just tip the balance in my favour if the ugly truth of my infidelity ever gets out.
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