Real life

The politics of hair dye

18 July 2020

9:00 AM

18 July 2020

9:00 AM

‘What are you going to put on my head to protect me?’ said the man outside the barber’s shop to the bemused looking barber.

The builder boyfriend had been standing in the queue for a while and when he got to second in line, as the man in front was asked to step inside, he found himself delayed by a curious argument.

‘What do you mean?’ said the barber, who was wearing a visor, gloves and apron and was more than in accordance with the regulations.

‘I mean,’ said the man, who was one of those arch, self-satisfied types the builder boyfriend finds it all too tempting to make fun of, ‘I mean, what measures are you going to put in place around my head to protect me from Covid as you cut my hair, hmm?’ And then slowly, as if the barber was stupid: ‘What protective equipment do you have for me to put on my head?’

The barber, who was Turkish, looked him up and down and said: ‘Well, if I put bucket on your head I not gonna be able cut your hair, innit?’ The builder b was desperate to laugh but decided to bite his lip.

‘This is outrageous!’ said the man, and raising his voice to full volume he announced: ‘People are dying! And you’re just going to stand by and do nothing?’

At which point, several customers inside the shop ran out in a panic to ask who was dying, before running away down the street.

The builder boyfriend was now thoroughly enjoying himself. The man who wanted a haircut through a bucket turned on his heel and the BB found himself at the front of the queue, staring into the visor-covered face of the barber.


‘My friend,’ he said, ‘I don’t have an appointment, but would you consider cutting my hair? I don’t care what you do, I don’t care how much you touch me and I don’t want you to put anything over my head. Just please, will you give me a haircut?’

The barber hesitated, for it was appointment only, and the queue was meant to be people who had booked. ‘Wait a minute, I recognise you now. You have appointment, yes?’

‘Ye-es,’ said the BB, ‘that’s what I meant. I have an appointment, don’t I?’

‘Yes, yes!’ said the barber, beckoning him inside. ‘You old client. You come in now.’

And taking him to a chair, this hero set about shaving the BB’s hair off, leaving a tuft on top like Tintin.

When he got home from his adventures, I conceded the effect was fetching in a comic way and much better than the style I had given him during lockdown, which was similar but more reminiscent of Johnny Rotten. Now he had a childlike air, which rather suited him.

A few days later, I was in the hairdresser’s chair at another salon where my regular lady was about to get started on me. ‘Half head of highlights?’ she asked.

‘No. Do the whole lot blonde, I don’t care how much it costs.’ It was £200 in the end but I had no regrets. I looked Conservative again.

A lot of my friends have gone on the bottle during lockdown. By that I mean they have bought hair dye from the chemist and coloured their hair silly shades, all of which I would call ‘Hint of Labour Voter’.

Home dyeing is just about excusable as an emergency measure for lefties. But I do not accept it as at all viable or acceptable morally as a short or indeed long term personal grooming solution for those not of the left.

This business of suddenly turning purple-headed or creamy-pink with dark roots is simply not civilised.

If God had meant us to walk this earth with pink hair, he would have made us with pink hair. And the same goes for green. Show me an incidence of a human being born with hair the colour of pond slime and I will accept that it is something other than barbaric.

I’ve got girlfriends who have gone green, purple, pink and combinations of all three who are declaring themselves happy with this state of affairs even though they could now go and get it sorted out. In other words, they are contemplating never getting their hair done again. They are considering staying that way and forcing the rest of us to suffer them looking like that.

These are not new age travelling hippies, they are people who normally work in offices and pay tax. I don’t see what their excuse is for perpetuating this abdication of aesthetic responsibility. It must be the same excuse they are using to carry on all the other scruffy habits they have acquired during lockdown, along with this new-found devotion to being preposterously rude.

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