When I go to the hairdressers, I expect some small talk – not too much, a bit of imagination (I can’t bear it when I visit a stylist, tell them vaguely what I’m after, and end up with a barnet much the same as everyone else who has visited the same salon in the last six years), and a decent cut at the end of it. For this, I am willing to pay a fair amount. After all, my hair isn’t like my shoes, I don’t have one style for walking, one for riding my ponies, one for travel, one for best… You see where I am going with this. I don’t carry a wig around in my bag.
Betty, my most adorable pooch, however, has had the same cut for the last two years. She is not a fan of having her hair trimmed: she wriggles, writhes, lies on the floor behind the car seat amongstother ‘moves’ to avoid the clippers. For Betty, even a scissors cut is traumatic. The first time I tried trimmimg her myself in a bid minimise her trauma, she looked like a lion with one furry-club foot and a lop-sided moustache. With rose tinted glasses firmly in place, I felt she looked outlandishly modern and cuter than ever. Nobody else did.
The second time was worse. I should never have started: I was hungover, and gave up approximately 7/8 of the way through. When my truck broke down on the M5 a few hours later, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for myself sitting on the barrier, waiting for RAC. But I felt more sorry for Betty. Curled up on my jumper beside me, she looked like a rescued stray.
So I conceded that Betty would have to have her hair cut professionally. Having failed to book it, my mother took matters into her own hands, conducted some research and took Betty to visit Paul while I wasd on holiday and oblivious to my pooch’s pain. Now anyone who has met Paul at Hairy Hounds will know that he is a delight with, I must add, excellent teeth. And though she’s reluctant to get out of the car and whines when I leave her, she copes. Not only does Paul succeed in this department, she always returns immaculate, with a classic cut and smelling of talc. Perfect. In this way, I consider the service to be worth every penny of the £30 it sets me back.
When I moved to London, I knew that there would be a change. It was inevitable. For a while, I told myself that all would be well: I would simply prearrange my visits home and book Betty in for a haircut at the same time. I was wrong. I have never been this organised. The only reason I have a birthday each year is because someone else arranged the date for me. So when Betty began to get a bit matted about her armpits, I knew action would have to be taken. I booked her into a local salon. I explained to the lady behind the counter that Betty is VERY nervous, and in turn, she told me that they would take their time, and text me when she was done. Two hours 45 later I turned up unannounced. The waiting was excruciating and I feared she had been abducted or worse. Needless to say she hadn’t and I tried not to wince as I handed over £69 for the service. To my own credit, I remained buoyant a few hours later when I discovered some dirt still matted into her belly.
When she began to loko a little hairy again, I shopped around, but the pricelist was much the same give or take an extra £40. One little spot not far from my flat even has a little bar where one can sit and enjoy a tipple while you wait for your dog. Tempting as this is, I think on balance, Betty needs the drink more than me and I’m just not prepared to contemplate that. Another had a lady behind the counter who understood little of what I asked her and I decided not to persue this option any further for fear Betty might return looking like Tina Turner, or worse, Boris Johnson.
Only now things are worse. And I have no one to blame but myself. In the interests of procrastination, I persuaded myself that to give this timming lark a third chance was far better use of my time than tidying the flat or putting the dishwasher to go. It was already loaded, by the way; that’s how little I wanted to ‘do’ tidying. But guilt steered me away from doing nothing and I picked up the scissors.
For a majority of her body, she remained still and calm. I told myself that she was relieved to shed some of the coat in the heat of the flat. She even remained calm as I trimmed her legs. All four were negotiated and I was beginning to feel a burgeoning sense of confidence. Then I massacred her tail. Again, she remained calm and I told myself that she would look better after a bath and a groom as I proceeded with her ears in much the same vein.
She was not calm when I attempted the face. In fact, she was not calm at all. I called on Rhys to assist and when he entered, her eyes widened with a mixture of fear and loathing. She had probably heard up talking about his DIY skills and knew there must have been a better option out there. With Betty looking increasingly like a deranged mutt, Rhys and I looked increasingly hairy as bits of fur flew about, hung in the air before clining accusingly to our clothing. And our faces.
It’s her chin that looks worst. It’s lopsided and makes her look slightly deformed. This is closely foollowed by her tail. And in the cold light of day, post bath and post groom, her body doesn’t look so smooth either.
Still, I have told her that with the savings we have made, I’ll take her to Farm Girl for an expensive egg on toast. I think she understands. Although, I may not tell her when I next book my own hair cut.