Saturday, 2 April 2011
George Clooney's pet
In the meantime, I've finally gone and done it: I had my hair cut. I'd been working pretty hard (contrary to popular belief, in between jobs, actors don't tend to wait around sulking by the phone, they keep busy learning new skills - like coming to grips with a fiendish piece of new web design software) and decided to go for a brisk short walk in the sunshine. My destination? The local Tesco's, a few blocks away. Uncharacteristically for a visit to the supermarket, I took the time to apply some mascara and lip gloss and even rubbed a bit more styling putty into my hair for good measure - noting en passant that I should really get around to getting a hair cut. I even brushed my teeth. I stepped out in my dark denim flares (the kind that only look good paired up with high heels), my little flat healed biker boots, an orange t-shirt from Holland (the country not the brand) my purple suede hold-all and to tie it all together (or just because) my pink knock-about dufflecoat... And then almost as an afterthought, I grabbed my beautiful new Paul Smith sunnies. (I got them last August, and even blogged about it in the entry I've Been Touched by Midas. They still qualify as "new" because London's only had something like 5 days of sunshine since then.)
So far so good. I was half way down the block when I stepped into one of those parallel universe moments where I suddenly turn into my impulsive alter ego. I love being impulsive. Normally, I'm such a sucker for routine but being impulsive makes me feel like Angelina Jolie in one of her action films: thin and sexy and hard and then she gets Brad Pitt for real and forever. (I'm not lusting after Mr. Pitt, I'm just trying to illustrate my point.) Where was I? Impulsive: on the way to the supermarket, out of the blue, I called the hair salon. It's Isabelle, would Luigi be able to fit me in before the end of the week? Tomorrow or today? Today would be great. How about 4pm? (So far that was just planning. Nothing Angelina about that. Wait for it! Here comes the impulsive bit...) How about now? Now? Yes. Now as in how soon? Now as in the 20 minutes it'll take me to jump on the tube and get to you. OK then. See you in 20 minutes.
How's that for impulsive?
As I vaulted into the tube station, and I switched back (I have no control over these switches, I wish I did) to my more familiar neurotic and cautious mode, it occurred to me that although I wouldn't be arrested by the Tesco style police I wasn't necessarily dressed appropriately for a visit to Luigi at Taylor Made. I don't know about you, but when I go to my hairdresser's I like to look my best. Same with my dentist. I toyed with the idea of buying a cheap (cheap!) pair of heels and/or a new top in the station's shopping arcade. I don't know whose ideal I was trying to live up to but I came to my senses and hopped onto a train instead.
So feeling rather short-legged and under-dressed - especially once I took off my uber-stylish Paul Smith sunnies - I sat down for my pre-shampoo consultation with Luigi. As I've mentioned before, it usually goes something like this: Me: "Hi. It's been a while, I should've come to see you sooner." Luigi: "It's not that bad!" (That's true, only because Luigi - in addition to being a real sweetheart - is also a hair god: a hair cut with Luigi never really grows out, it's your hair that gives up.) Luigi: "So what do you want to do?" Then I say the three magic words: "Up to you." I surrender in this way because a haircut by Luigi is a beautiful thing. Because that's what I imagine Angelina would do. And because hair grows back.
I wrestled into the salon robe and lowered myself into the shampoo chair (you know what I mean) and gave myself up to the ministrations of the new shampoo boy. All I remember is saying "Hi, I'm Isabelle." He said "I'm from Japan. My name is..." and then he applied his hands to my head and - did he aim for a pressure point? - I melted like soft butter. Literally, my entire body went "flump" into the shampoo chair, my neck turned to jelly and my spirit floated up and away, light as a feather. For the next 5 - 10? - minutes I levitated, without a care in the world, with the kind of serenity that still eludes me in my yoga practice. If Luigi is a hair god, this guy is the god of head massage. All I can say is if he can do hair as well as he washes it, he's going to be a star.
Hair washed, I glided back over to the consultation chair, placed my purse at my feet, and grabbed two fashion mags. For the record, I am a CFB. A closet fashion binger. I LOVE FASSSHHHHHION! There I've said it! I am not a slave to it (remember I was wearing flat shoes with my jeans that only work with heels) but plonk me somewhere with the latest copy of Vogue and I will keep myself happily occupied for as long as it takes me to read it from cover to cover (including the credits, the small print, and the classified ads at the back). So there I was, embedded in Elle, oblivious to all around me, Luigi expertly wielding his scissors around my head.
Half way through the cut, the young receptionist materialised at Luigi's elbow: "Hi... this girl here is new in town and she's just wandered in and wants to know if she could come in and just watch you cut hair for a while." What can I say, this is London. Luigi, bless his heart, said OK: "Hi, I'm Luigi. Just sit yourself here where I can see you." She sat there for a while (I couldn't really see without my glasses and besides I was deep in the accessories section) and then she took off. Suddenly, I had "that" feeling and looked down at my feet: "Where's my purse?" I did a quick scan around the chair. My purse had vanished. Me again, but a whole lot louder: "Where is my purse? It's purple. It was at my feet when I sat down." I stood up (from the adrenaline pumping. I even made a mental note of it for acting purposes.) Luigi had stopped cutting and turned an unhealthy shade of white. The entire salon stood still. Before the panic had a chance to set in, one of Luigi's assistants darted to the end of the row and held up a purse (mine). "Is this it? I put it there to tidy up 'cos I didn't realise it was yours."
Oh dear God. Call off the police. Luigi and I had just lost a collective decade of our lives to the overzealous tidy-up brigade. Still, I was grateful to have my purse back.
I sat back down clutching it and immediately checked the contents: mobile phone (cell): check, cash: check, credit card: check. As I said to Luigi: "I figure I should double check cos if my wallet is missing I'm going to be washing hair for the next three months." We had a little chuckle over that - not so much because it was funny but rather because we both felt so relieved the worse hadn't come to pass. (To the girl who likes to watch people cut hair: I am really sorry I assumed you were the one who had taken my purse.We're all of us very sorry.) Luigi resumed the cutting and I realised that in all the excitement, I'd lost my appetite for the fashion binge. (I may try and replicate the circumstances and see if it works just as well on chocolate cravings and will keep you posted on the results of the experiment - we could be on to a winner.)
Then a tall girl with apricot hair sat down next to me and one of the salon's stylists started weaving long blonde extensions into it. It turns out he was one of four finalist in the Hair Extension Stylist of the Year competition and was prepping up his hair model for the last round. He was wonderfully catty and petulant as only the truly passionate and talented can be. Some competitors were openly using hair pieces and hair clips: "In a hair extension competition? Can you believe it?" I wished him well. He was planning to dye the whole thing apricot and then dip the ends in pink. I hope he wins.
Then with one last flourish of the hair wax, Luigi was finished. I thanked him. Grabbed my purse. Paid up. And put my sunnies back on. Then me in and my new hair strode out into the dazzling Spring sunshine -and how else can I describe it: it felt as good as if I'd just put on a sexy pair of heels.
Now George Clooney, if you're reading this, about those pet pigs...