I seem to spend a disproportionate amount of my life in various hair dressing salons around the Home Counties, and yesterday morning found me in my fast becoming favourite one. As I sat there watching the comings and goings of this extremely busy salon, it dawned on me that there is a hierarchy of staff; something I hadn't really thought of before. I think it goes like this...
These can be easily recognised, as they always wear black (the salon's attempt to make them invisible). They are normally spotty, but with perfectly groomed hair and very thick artificial eyebrows. They also seem to stand around quite a lot, waiting for direction from the stylists, as to when to sweep, when to make coffee and when to get gowns or coats. They normally look bored, and probably wish that they had applied for that job in Top Shop instead.
These are Grade 1's who have been working at the salon for at least six months, thus earning their place at the basin. Along with questions such as 'Is that pressure ok?' and ' Do you want to put your feet up?' they get to actually touch the customer's hair, and once the shampoo (always two - can't they do it properly the first time?) and conditioner have been applied and rinsed, they escort the customer back to the 'styling station' and then whip a comb from their back pocket and comb the wet hair through. A huge responsibility...
These are the ones who cut and style your hair. Artists in their own right, and just as likely to be an Amazonian Swedish lady in beige, to an older chap in tweeds and baker boy hat, and with a beard which could house a family of starlings. These are the ones which wield the magic wands (boar bristle brushes) and therefore should be treated with a modicum of respect. They like to chat, mainly about what you are doing that night and products currently on offer (they must be on commission).
These are the gods amongst men within the salon. Do you know what makes them stand out? Those lovely little black aprons which they wear, casually tied around their hips, as if to say, 'Bleach? Hah! I laugh in the face of danger. After all, I have my all protecting apron on'. These waltz through the salon without acknowledging anyone else, a Grade 2 scuttling after them with a plastic bowl and a paintbrush. My favourite bit, is when they say, 'I'll just go and mix your colours'. I almost expect there to be a Trumpet Voluntary, dancing girls and fireworks, such is the adoration which these colourists expect.
All that in half an hour.
I need to get out more...