In preparation for the New Year festivities in the UK, I paid a visit to my coiffeuse, Véro, chez Jean Vallon on Wednesday. It's a place I've been frequenting on and off for many years now. At one point though, I spurned the camp zebra-print sofa provided while you wait for a service à domicile with Crystelle, who staggered along the unfinished paths to my doorstep with her equipment.
She was a lot cheaper than the salon, and we had a good old natter while waiting for the colour to take, but she is so successful that you have to be pretty well organised about booking her in advance. Unfortunately, I'm the 'oh my god, I've got to get my hair done this week or bust' type, which meant I was forever being told kindly but firmly that she was unavailable. At which point I would revert to Véro who could always fit me in somewhere.
So now I've accepted the inevitable. I rang the salon on Tuesday afternoon for an appointment the next afternoon and was fitted in as smoothly as a well-kept hand into a silk glove.
We hear a lot about morose French service industry workers, but in Jean Vallon they are a cheery, smiley bunch who always make you feel you are a good client, which I am. Véro cuts hair, so another nice girl did the colour and I was able to admire her tiny French frame and the way her belt seemed able to suspend itself on her hips without working its way up, or down.
Next to me was a scene of intense activity. A young woman in her early 20s was turning from a brunette into a blond. This involved several stages of work. Her hair had to be uncoloured and then coloured blond. It was taking ages. She was at the uncolouring stage when I joined her at the mirrors. Her mother was passing protective cotton wool strips to place at root level while the 'bleach' was applied and massaged into the long strands of hair.
My own colour applied, I sat and read 'Challenges' magazine instead of a trashy women's one because it had a section on what studies lead to jobs. So, for example, general engineers are 80% likely to get a good job on leaving university. Those doing media studies have a 39% chance of a job most of which will be through a temporary contract. I was reading with the RA and my eldest in mind as it also gave information on what makes a CV stand out from the banality of most.
Back at the mirror, Ms Decap was standing up to make her way to the basins. It took a long time for her to do this as her legs emerged as being very long, perched as they were on 4 inch heels, with a very very short flimsy skirt over thick patterned tights. A thought flitted across my mind that my mother would have blown a gasket had I appeared in such an outfit, so obviously her mother, who was sitting admiring her daughter as she strode over to the basins, had a laxer attitude than mine...
I was by now sitting on the cutting side of the room. The hot water had run out just before the conditioner on my hair was washed off, so I had to endure a chilly rinse which froze me to the core. I sat, warming up, while Véro snipped, and watched, fascinated while Ms Decap had her hair dried. It had come out a virulent orange yellow and she gawped at it, horrified, holding her nose, maybe to stop herself snorting. I tell you, it was most entertaining.
Her coiffeuse was not in the slightest perturbed as it was completely normal for brown hair to decolour like this. Had she left it like that, she could have made a fortune on street corners. Still, it had to be blondified, so she went back to the colouring side of the room to have the 'bleach' applied, and when I left, she was still waiting for it to take.
She would look extremely stunning when it was finished, I'm sure. With those legs, and long blond hair, she'd drive many men wild, which I'm sure was the aim. She would be all set to have a fantastically fun New Year!
My more modest cut and colour were beautifully executed as usual even though the girls were extremely busy, had been working last Sunday and would be working this Sunday too. I am very excited by the fact that I have been there now 9 times, so next time I go, I'll get a free session.
I did envy those legs though...