I loathe having anything done to my hair.
I have thick wiry hair that kind of curls. Not beautiful pre Raphaelite curls or corkscrew ringlets but the sort that just half-heartedly attempts it. It needs tremendous coaxing to encourage it not to frizz and you can imagine the traumas of being in a tropical country where humidity is a constant issue. (Does anyone recall the Friends’ episode set in Barbados with Monica’s hair?)
I’ve always had thick hair but it didn’t begin to curl properly until adolescence. My mother told me that people paid a fortune to have hair like mine. She told me this over and over as though that might help. Looking back I suspect that that some of the traumas I had with my hair might be because as a small child I was tasked with brushing it myself. I brushed the surface and allowed a vast bird’s nest – nay a bird colony – to grow underneath in the nape of my neck. When this was discovered my mother claimed something weird must have happened in the paddling pool that day. Little did she realize that I’d grown it myself through neglect. I screamed the house down while comb teeth and hairbrush bristles flew through the air. My bird’s nest had to be cut out while I was pinned to the table.
So I hate the hairdressers. Quite often the first thing a hairdresser or their junior hair washer says to me is “have you ever thought of having your hair straightened?” Whether or not I like the curls, anyone who thinks curly hair is not nice isn’t the right person to cut my hair.
It’s got even worse in Thailand because of the language barrier. I have found someone to cut my hair but she’s in England and mostly I’m not. This suits me because I don’t have to go too often but when I’m there I have to grab the opportunity so that I get sorted out at least once a year.
But my hair has been troubling me in recent weeks and I won’t be in the UK until March so … I ambushed myself last week in KL. I walked into a salon and asked for an appointment. He didn’t do quite what I wanted but it’s a good cut.
They did the oddest thing: I had my hair washed ‘Malaysian style’ – in the chair with a bottle of water and shampoo. Does this happen anywhere else in the world?