i never understood how women could spend so long in a hairdresser. how they could disappear for half a day. half a day! i knew about the colours and potions that had to be applied but could not see the attraction of spending so long on a necessary thing. when i was young, if i was lucky, i got a break from the wonky fringe created by mother and instead went to the Bosun’s. Chair. it was a typical town hairdressers, images of forgotten styles proudly in the windows, chrome chairs and black outlined mirrors. a woman in her forties would listen carefully to my mother’s instructions and produce an approximation. once, when a teen, i took a picture from a magazine of Jon Moss and saidi wanted hair like him. i left disappointed by the outcome. when i grew older, i ventured into the world of gentlemen barbers. there was one called Manns (yes, really) that lay hidden down an alley in Taunton. people would sit waiting, courteously declining their turn if it was the old guy cutting. no one wants a cut from pre-war days. we wanted the latest trend of shaved sides and spikes atop. he just couldn’t cut it. i would leave more satisfied at the price than the result. when i moved to London, i found places that would trim for a tenner. no time wasted. ideal for a frugal me. i would go to the same place and as for the same thing. over the years, we built an understanding. then, overnight, a disaster. it shut. my reassuring friend was no more. so i went on an adventure. entering places i had never before explored. one, we talked fluently in our own language. In vain I tried to sign a style. I left with something. the worse time i saw a place full of young men with clippers. i thought they must know. Iientered and sat down. the guy cutting became distracted by a friend and the offer of a cigarette. he continued with fag in hand, clippers in the other, talking, turning to talk to his mate. realising the cutting a hindrance, he handed the clippers to another and walked out to continue his chat. i left with a disaster on my head. now, i go to the same place as my wife. it is above my usual 10. but i get pampered. coffee is offered, good coffee, and. i lean back and have my hair washed. the massaging releasing the tensions of the week. then the cut. i show a picture and she crafts with scissors a close representation.. i smile at the person in the mirror and leave happy.