Mikey holds a length of my hair to the end of my ear lobe.
“Are you ready?”
“Yeah,” I say hesitantly. A short pause, and then a more confident “just cut it.”
I hear the snip, and five inches of hair falls to the floor. My hand flies up to the wet stumps of hair at the base of my skull, despite years of haircuts having taught me that this is the worst thing you can possibly do. Like all modern art, haircuts can only appreciated once their creator has carefully explained what is meant by it. This is partially why Mikey has refused me the privilege of a mirror. The other part is that I’m sitting in a chair in his living room, and the wall mirror doesn’t go down that low.
I trust Mikey implicitly, and like a lot of the highly skilled people I know in London, under regular circumstances I would never be able to afford his services. I felt guilty taking up his precious time with a humble trim, so as I’m taking off my coat, I’ve ask him to get rid of all of it.
“Like, everything?” His voice is becoming gradually more excited. I’ve never cut anybody’s hair before, but I can imagine that in a world of methodically applying ash highlights and pruning split ends, scalping an impoverished 22 year-old must be the world of fun.
My hair has been described as a lot of things over the years. To my mother, it’s my best quality. To everyone else, it’s been described as Dulux dog-chic and a Lion King inspired statement. It goes red in the summer, brown in the winter, and there is a lot of it. Everything must go.
“I’m just… tired of looking at it.” I explain, as Mikey attempts to run his hands through it, lodging his knuckles in an almost-dreadlock. I sigh contemplatively. “I’m tired of looking like myself.”
In the way only hairdressers can, Mikey sums up my existential crisis with one pithy statement.
“You need to do something un-blah.”
He was right. I had become blah. I was waist-deep wading in a quarter-life crisis and the only way to regain control was to hand it over to Mikey’s vision.
There’s no real explaining the intense relationship women have with their hair, but it’s understood that it’s basically a reflection of how well your life is going as a whole. I’m not sure where this theory came from, but if it’s to be believed, then my life has become dry, knotty and highly susceptible to humidity.