I thought it was about time I went grey. I want my hair to match the wrinkles on my face I say to the hairdresser who looks horrified but there is something about having to wait an extra week for your next appointment and watching the sideburns fade to shades of something not too bad, that encourages me. I discuss it with the expert and this time I’m sure of my ground having spent hours last night looking up ‘going grey’ on google. We decide the way to go is with foils. Expensive I know but if I’m doing this, I need to do it right. I make an appointment for the next day. As it’s still Level 3 lockdown I have to promise to wear a mask, to gel my hands before entering and if I want anything to read or anything to drink I must bring my own. I take that literally and fill the thermos then spending ages deciding if one tea bag would do two cups and if so, which type of tea suits going grey . I opt for My Chai and hope in the midst of all the directions they don’t forget to take the reg number of the car because the last thing I need is a parking fine.
The first part of this exercise is the foils. I sit making polite conversation as my hair is separated with a comb and bits of it slapped with pink goop and folded in tin foil. This is it, I say to myself. No turning back now. I get hotter as my head grows shinier. I then I have to sit for ages until I’m ‘done’. That sounds like a roast chook but I smile, take out my kindle and pour a cup of tea. Everyone thinks it’s hilarious that I bought a thermos but obviously they either haven’t read their own message or can live for literally hours without a decent cuppa. They don’t know how close I was to bringing a snack. Several times the foils on top of my head are unfolded and checked for done’ness. Once perfection is achieved I go to the basin and my new head of hair is revealed as the foils are unfolded and it’s all rinsed out. I can’t wait to see it but I’m told to stay there. Hmm. Can this be a giant mistake but no, it’s apparently easier to apply the toner at the basin. When I do return to ‘Mommy Dearest’ on my kindle and the last of the water in the thermos, all I have is a shiny head. I wait another twenty minutes until that’s ‘done’ and I have another wash. I’m beginning to feel like a show poodle and can’t wait to see what I look like with grey hair. I get back to the mirror and discover I look exactly the same – a tinesy bit lighter but only my friends with really good eyesight are going to notice. I can’t work out what’s gone wrong. I thought I’d be ‘greyer” I say to the anxious hairdresser. Well…she says thinking I’m cracked in the head, we could apply a different toner. Just mean you’d have to stay another three quarter of an hour.’ I’ve been here all afternoon and my thermos is empty. Staying another ten minutes is asking too much so I smile beneath the mask and pack up. At the counter I’m offered products to maintain the colour but once again I’m standing here in shock. I wanted to be different. To be a wise, yet fashionably sassy elder and all I am is me with lighter hair. I think I might be looking in the wrong place.