Saturday, December 09, 2006

Adventures in Hairdressing - a bio piece from 2001

I wrote this bio piece before I had a blog. I think it still stands up so I thought I'd share it here.

Adventures in hairdressing

(c) 2001 Mike Kimera All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without written permission from

Last week I went to get my hair cut and, as I waited for my turn in the chair, I reflected on how my tastes have changed over the years. No, I don't mean that I wear different hairstyles (although I have at times been through everything from ponytail to military style brushcut) but rather that my taste in hairdressers has changed.

For years I used to go to a fancy salon. Remember when exposed brick walls with halogen spotlights and lower case chrome lettering logos were cool? I would sit on a sofa upholstered in whatever that year's fashionable contrast colour was (this year the salon is in lilac and white with chrome contrasts of course). The staff would remember my name, serve me espresso in ridiculously small cups and play the same CDs that I'd been thinking of buying that week. My hair would be washed and my scalp massaged by strong gentle fingers. No chitchat, just personable women being nice to me as I sat in a comfortable chair in a softly lit room. The haircut itself was almost secondary to the "haircut experience". How 90s that concept now seems.

Then, almost 3 years ago, it all started to feel cloying, too sheltered and packaged. I found I had become impatient with it. For my last haircut I went to Supercuts "no appointment, no credit cards, no fuss". I could come here four times for the cost of one trip to the other salon. The ambience is more launderette than salon; strip lighting in plasterboard ceilings, plastic chairs and radio tuned to the local commercial station "GWR bringing you the better music mix with sounds from the 80s, 90s and today" as well as 15 minutes of ads for every hour of broadcasting. Bland bands for bland lives. You take a number and wait for your name to be called sitting on hard plastic chairs placed too close together and marked "for customers only".

But here's the thing. They cut my hair well. I don't get coffee and the staff turnover is too high for anyone to remember my name. I find that I no longer want the haircut experience. I just want my hair cut with no fuss so i can get on with other things. I think it is a trend. A move away from the over serviced 90s to whatever the next thing turns out to be; the informal functionalism of the 00's?

Back in the early 80s, when I was 24, in my first job after college, I once had a completely different haircut experience. In those days I was slim, maybe 150lbs, chest only 38", my cheekbones not yet offset by the slabsided face cheeks I was left with after contracting mumps in my 30s, the bald patch at the back wasn't even a trend and my hair started lower down on my forehead than it does now. When I looked in the mirror I just saw someone who most people's eyes just passed over.

Looking back at the photos I can see that I looked young, gentle and just a little androgynous. I also used to wear tight jeans and no underwear. It's surprising how easy it is to tell that just by looking at the photos.

I was working in Croydon, an old town raped by the planners of the 70s and turned into a concrete, soulless wasteland. I went to what we then called a unisex salon but where most of the customers were still women.

One of the hairdressers led me into a back room, equipped with one sink and two chairs but away from the heat and stink of perms and dyes. She was taller than me, a little over 6 foot, dressed in a skinnyribs roll neck and a tight fitting dogstooth mini skirt that descended into dark wool stocking that were somehow erotic in a girlish way. Her dark hair was cut short in a boyish sideparted style not dissimilar from my own. She had small high, apparently unsupported, breasts that I wanted to touch and tried hard to deny the existence of. She was probably a few years older than me.

I was intensely attracted to her and so tried not to look at her directly and didn't speak to her at all. Only the pressure of my cock struggling to readjust the denim surrounding it showed my interest. It never occurred to me that she would notice this.

She sat me in the chair and put a gown over me. Then she lowered the chair and tilted it slightly backwards. This was odd but I was too busy watching her in the mirror to pay it any attention. She started to cut my hair. Slowly. Her long fingers would frequently rearrange my hair before cutting it. She was standing very close to me. I could smell her. She smelled as if she had just woken up. I closed my eyes. I love that smell. Then she touched me.

Her fingers were on either side of my head repositioning it, when I felt her touch her pubis or belly, I couldn't be sure which, against the back of my head. I didn't say anything. I kept my eyes closed. She continued to cut and continued to rub.

I was educated if inexperienced (nothing much has changed) I knew what this was called. Frottage. How typical of the French to have a word for getting off by rubbing against something, or someone. I knew the word but I'd never felt the effect. It was electric. I allowed my thumb, concealed under the gown, to trace my erection. The contact with my head was constant, just persistent. It could almost have been accidental.

After a slightly longer than usual period of non-contact I opened my eyes. In the mirror I could see the lines of the skinnyrib jumper distorted by her erect nipples. She was watching me. We made eye contact. She said, touching my hair at the temples "Is that what you wanted?" "Um yes. Thank you. Very nice." I said and felt her pubis on the back of my head once more, just resting. "Do you want anything in it?" she said running one hand backwards through my hair "Gel? Blow dry?" I was sure she was laughing at me now although it didn't show in her face or her voice. I declined the offer.

She righted the chair, removed my gown and started to brush hair from my collar. As she leant forward from behind to brush hair from off my shirt front I realised three things: she could have done the task more easily from in front of me, her nipple was grazing my head, she was looking at the small damp stain on my jeans.

She led me back to the main room. I wasn't thinking straight. I couldn't quite take in what had happened. She gave me her card at the till. Her fingers brushed my hand as she passed it over.

I came back 6 weeks later (I know, I was an idiot) and was told she didn't work there any more. Did I imagine her movements? Had it all been innocent? Was she running another service on the side? Did she, perhaps, find me attractive? How pleasant it is to be able to ask but not to answer those questions

(c) 2001 Mike Kimera All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without written permission from