The Ageing Affects of the Hair Salon

At fifty plus I still feel the same on the inside as I did when I was eighteen so it’s galling a times to be treated like an old croc just because my insides don’t match my outsides. Whilst I’m looking out on the world through the same eyes I’ve always looked out from,  I’m being looked back at as a relic of a bygone era.  Sometimes I’m not noticed at all as I wear the older woman’s cloak of invisibility which in my case consists of green and yellow shoes, black polka dot tights and a purple skirt (but only if I’ve remembered to put one on). The biggest culprits for making me feel like a ghost of my younger self are based in the very place where I should be made to feel like I’m still me – the hair salon.  The staff can’t help being young and gorgeous but the younger and more gorgeous they are the more decrepit I feel.

At the reception desk I give them  my name which is discarded in favour of  ‘lovey’ or ‘sweetheart’.  To each other they are ‘babe’ and ‘hun’. Maybe being around all those chemicals makes it difficult to remember names but I am never ‘babe’. I sit down in front of a mirror which makes me look thirty years older than the one in my bathroom and we ascertain that I don’t want a nice blonde bob but want to keep my hair long and just have trim. She tactfully suggests some highlights to blend with the ‘silver’ and we both agree that taking seven inches of dry ends off is about the right length for a trim.

The conversation then begins but not with me. My stylist chats away to her colleague who is in the process of giving an old lady of about forty eight a nice blonde bob. They discuss an episode of  ‘Made in  Chelsea’ and remembering her manners, my stylist asks me if I watch it.  I lie and say I do but that I missed the episode where Tristan and Verity agreed to respect each other but I’ve got it taped and I’ll tune in as soon as I get home. She looks slightly puzzled and says ‘bless you’.  I don’t remember sneezing but I let it go.

Her multi-tasking skills amaze me.  She can put my foils in whilst asking someone who’s just come in to ‘wait there hun, with you in a sec’, ask the junior to mix some more SPK9 peroxide, discuss Riley’s first day at school and include me in the conversation

Stylist:  “have you got any kids lovey?”

Me:       “yes I have”

Stylist:   “What have you got?”

Me:       “two men”

Stylist:  “aw lovely.  How old are they?”

Me: “25 and 26”

In a flash I’ve knocked ten years off the ages of my children. The mirror reflects my regret at my vanity. I recall my mother saying that if I pulled a face it would stick like that. She was right but forgot to tell me that it would take fifty years.

Eventually I’m done.  My hair looks fabulous and many years younger than my face. The Junior retrieves my coat and kindly helps me on with it whilst remarking that her gran likes bright colours too.

I go to pay and feel mildly panicked at the thought of how many people I need to tip. I had the service of four different people. A young lad of about twelve made me a coffee, another girl washed my hair, another peeked beneath the foils to ensure I wasn’t being overdone and then there is the incredibly talented stylist who, with a twirl of the straighteners transformed my frizz to smooth ringlets (Hello Bette Davis in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane).

I finally leave the salon with gloriously young hair, feeling about ninety two.


Carole Ludlow

I was terrified of going through the menopause and whilst I glided through relatively unscathed, I didn't entirely escape its attempts to knock me down I firmly believe there is a positive side the menopause and to being an older woman in the 21st century. In my fifties I trained as a fitness instructor, which I did as a side hustle to my regular job of a college librarian. I also took up belly dancing and danced on stage in a city theatre and created my own fitness classes with hula hoops. Last year at the age of 61 I ditched the library job and now buy and sell vintage jewellery, run fitness classes and work part time from home in a customer services role. It ain't over till its over.

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