I had my hair cut yesterday. I am a Sassoon product and I change with the times and the stylists. I look different today than I did last week, well, of course, than last week because my hair was too long and very messy, since I had not had time or energy or money to get it done after I broke my wrist. Unbeknownst to me, my customary cutter (for the last four years) quit last week, so I inherited his next-chair stylist - lovely woman with whom I’d exchanged a few nods and words. So I really look different today. Better, I think. Different hands, different cut.
Do you know what people say when they see a new hairstyle on you? You look younger. They don’t fool me. I have seen me in the salon’s mirrors and I know what I look like: Ryder Haggard’s She.
“She, subtitled A History of Adventure, is a novel by English writer H. Rider Haggard, first serialised in The Graphic magazine from October 1886 to January 1887. She was extraordinarily popular upon its release and has never been out of print.” Wikipedia
She is described as “she-who-must-be-obeyed,” by Haggard. I quote this because people think John Mortimer (1923-2009) created that description, thinking it amusing. (His Horace Rumpole character refers to his wife as “she who must be obeyed”, in his Rumpole of the Bailey book series and DVDs, 1978-1992.) She was terrifying. But to explain: at the end she stepped into the flame that gave her immortality and disintegrated into a 2000-year-old creature (I refuse to use the word hag) - like the young woman who left Shangri-la ) In Lost Horizon (movie, 1937, based on the book by James Hilton, 1933.) and aged in hours. It’s enough to make you believe in face lifts.
My point is, and I do have one, mirrors in salons are unflattering but haircuts make me look younger for at least 24 hours. I really want to write about Sassoon’s. I used to have very long hair but when we put in a swimming pool at Stratford, I got tired of having mildewed hair so I had it cut - in New York, at Sassoon’s - very new then, not yet arrived in Toronto or Boston, where I welcomed them later.
In 2015 I went on a round-the-world-in-180 days cruise (truncated to 101 days by an accident before we sailed). It was very expensive and I was very frugal, even more than usual, to try to save money to help pay for it. That involved , among other things, letting my hair grow - long. When I finally decided to have it cut, before I embarked, I remembered that Sassoon’s had an apprentice course that charged very little for the heads they worked on. It took hours and the supervisor overseeing the apprentice spent a lot of time on all the hair Ii was offering them. He cut two hanks of hair I sent to the Cancer Society (untreated silver hair is rare) and they refused to charge me anything, including tip. So that’s how I got Paolo, who has just left, and graduated to Yaso, who looks like Emily Blunt and who cuts for the curl.
It still looks nice.