Nicola Vincent-Abnett

Nicola Vincent-Abnett
"Savant" for Solaris, Wild's End, Further Associates of Sherlock Holms, more Wild's End

Saturday 8 September 2012

Blame it on the man... or the hairdresser’s apprentice part iii

I’ve talked about the hairdresser’s apprentice twice, now, and I still haven’t talked about the hairdresser.

I first met him thirty-five years ago when he was the hairdresser’s apprentice and life was real. It was the seventies and I was in my teens; he was three or four years older than me... still is, and he gave me my first serious hair cut. He’s given me every serious hair cut ever since.

He’s an intelligent man, personable and good looking too, but, most importantly, he is that rare thing: he is the right man in the right job.

Most people don’t keep the same hairdresser for thirty-five years, and if they do, it generally isn’t because they give good hair. To be fair, the good hair isn’t the whole reason why I’ve used this man for all this time, but it is the main reason. My hairdresser has never given me a hair cut I haven’t liked, and he’s certainly never given me a bad hair cut. He’s never given me a cut that didn’t suit me, a cut that wasn’t appropriate, or one that wasn’t fashionable/current/modern. 

He has pedigree. He’s been on winning teams in international hairdressing competitions. He’s a bit of a perfectionist. He stays current. He stays interested.

He also has expectations.

When did having expectations become unfashionable?

I don’t know how many juniors I’ve seen pass through the hairdresser’s hands over the past thirty-five years, but it’s more than a few, and I’ve watched him working with them. He expects a lot. He begins by teaching them how to clean and how to be clean, so that sinks, brushes and combs, perming rollers, kitchens, bathrooms, towels, coffee cups, floors, brooms, mirrors, and every surface in the various shops he has run are immaculate. He teaches by example. He demonstrates, he shows, over and over again. He asks questions and expects answers. He expects juniors to use their initiative and rewards them for doing so. He wants more and he gets more, and so do they.

They don’t all survive the process. I sometimes wonder how the hairdresser has survived, but he has, and the men and women that have completed his training have benefited hugely from the experience, I am sure.

Not everyone is going to meet his expectations, but if there were no expectations to meet he would not have produced so many capable hairdressers nor enabled them to have careers of their own.

Hats off to him, and to the man who takes up the reins and has expectations of his own. I wonder if it will be the hairdresser’s apprentice. I wonder if I’ll be around in another thirty-five years to see the fruits of his labours... I wonder if I’ll still be dipping into the tints... Purple slices anyone?

And here's my sister's take on what happened:

I am the very sister to suffer the outcome of the blue hair. Hello. If you are a regular reader of Nicola’s Blog you will know to which story this refers. Yes I am currently on one of my regular visits not least to meet my gorgeous new great nephew. Sooo cute! 

On my last visit an appointment was set for the next, and the addition of some colour into my somewhat dark brown mop. As you may know, this did not quite work the way it was intended (see previous blog) and yes, I will admit to having the feeling that it seems as though every little thing I try to accomplish is very often thwarted along the journey somewhere. I confess to having a moment of feeling more than a little of ‘this isn’t fair’ and ‘why me’ and for those of you that do know me you will understand what I mean by that. To move on, the wonderful hairdresser did put my hair back to it's original all over brown and for that moment in time all was once again well with the world. 

To effect the cosmic balance let me tell you what happened next... We had a list of things to do, Nicola does like a list. I was put in charge of the list which had to be pulled from it’s hiding place each time something from it was achieved and that very item crossed off from it. This was working quite well. Next item on the list - Handbag. I love my handbags. Handbags is my thing. In fact, all sorts of bags, but I was specifically looking for a new red handbag. I had what I considered to be a reasonable budget for this purchase so off we went to my very favourite bag shop in search of said item. Oh my. Step through the door and just take a moment to breathe. The aroma of leather is glorious! On with the search. Lots of these bags are beyond my financial reach, but I take great pleasure from the look and the feel and that is often enough to satisfy me. There was one bag that will always be just a dream but we did manage to find another. To me it was quite stunning but again, looking at the price label, way beyond my budget. Sister takes a look and says “no that’s ok you can have that one”! I objected, as you would because that is not who I am, I’m not a taker. Yes I like to be treated but I also like to give back. I couldn’t see what I could possibly give back that would allow my own paranoic mind to accept this as a gift. (The sales lady said she would happily swap places with me). I put forward my thoughts and was eventually over-ruled. What’s a girl supposed to do? I am now the proud owner of a new red handbag.

My family is lovely to me.

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