otwo Attempts: Hairdressing

 
 

“Don’t pay money for that,” shouts an arbitrary money-saver, “I’ll mess it up for free.” Does Eoin Brady really have to answer to our hair prayers?

For this Attempt, we wanted to see what it felt like to inflict pain on another living thing. Unfortunately, a considerable portion of the body of potential candidates for subjecting to savage treatments had been put out of commission before we even got started: AA Gill had pretty conclusively put one baboon beyond the bounds of usefulness for this project with his softnosed .357 to the lung, and none of the other baboons were any good to us because they were all in the editor of The Guardian’s office drinking strong cups of tea and getting back rubs.

IMG_7604This is where Rob came in. With his luscious chocolate-coloured locks bouncing and shining in the sun as he frolicked gaily around the airy Student Centre atrium, we couldn’t help but be smitten. Smitten in an aggressive, violent kind of way.

Sadly, bloodlust doesn’t go very far as a justification for naughty behaviour these days, so we needed some other explanation for our deviancy. We’ve come to the conclusion that we’re trying out home hairdressing not to live out our violent fantasies, but in order to save money.

With this ostensible goal in mind, I set about preparing. It turns out that in order to do a proper haircut, a considerable amount of equipment is required. When I volunteered for this, I was a happy-go-lucky, carefree young man with nary a worry (beyond where my next Americano was coming from). I thought I’d show up, chop some hair, wave my arms, and everyone would give me adulation and hugs.

When I got past the initial excitement, the onerous nature of the task to which I had been assigned struck me. I would need a scissors – possibly some sort of special one, an electric razor with multiple extensions, a cloak (for Rob, not for me), a water spray gun, magical salon shampoo and conditioner, a lean-back head sink, a tiled or wooden floor, anti-varicose-vein stockings, and numerous copies of Hello from 2008. This was getting serious.

Even then, if I did somehow manage to acquire all this equipment, I feared that more would be required of me by this terrifying challenge: I would even have to learn how to cut hair. Ingeniously, I stumbled upon the idea of using a so-called internet “search engine” in order to find information that other internet users had “posted” on their respective “web sites”. The first “website” that I “logged on” to, howtodothings.com, was quite helpful and gave succinct and easy-to-follow directions. Having invested fully seven minutes of my time (two searching and five watching the video) I felt I was ready for the next stage in my training. I proceeded to learn advanced layering techniques from expertvillage.com over the course of the next seven minutes.

IMG_7620At this point, I felt that it would be appropriate to begin investing in the future of Rob’s hair. However, with the original money-saving goal weighing heavily on my mind, I decided a more prudent approach would be to find a scissors of sort (which I proceeded to lose, incidentally), put a hole in a bin bag for a cloak, use a little cup of water for a squirter and simply do without everything else on the list of necessities.

The momentous occasion arrived, and I began to make the first inroads into Rob’s treasured keratin crown, but I had some difficulty getting into my groove. I was uncomfortable and awkward. It felt like being the only person on the dance floor. A couple of pints later, I was flying. Not really. That would, of course, have been deeply irresponsible for someone entrusted with property of such sentimental value and, presumably, considerable age. After a few timid snips at the mullet-esque backside of Rob’s head, the clipping began to flow. I even remembered to cut it all the same length by using my fingers as a guide, which is a pretty advanced technique, if you ask me (and you do).

Occasionally, bystanders contributed something to the process. The useful contributions came exclusively from girls: Rob has girls to thank for his feathered fringe. I also picked up a rather graceful pinch-and-snip technique from a girl, which looked much more elegant than what I had been doing up until that point – grabbing clumps of hair in my fist and hacking blindly until they became detached from Rob’s head. Another (much less beneficial) contribution to the production was the tub of Red Dax that appeared before me. Red Dax is a product intended for use on short, neat hair. Conversely, if your hair is six inches long, Red Dax will literally make you die. We were all dead. It was that bad.

When we’d gotten over being figuratively dead, and I’d rearranged some of Rob’s other hair over a particularly tenacious Dax wad, everyone was quite happy with the morning’s endeavours. We swept up the hair, nibbled politely on some Rice Krispie buns, and thought about what we’d learned. The lessons we can take from this Attempt are as follows: girls are useful and should be listened to. Red Dax is not useful and should not be listened to. Cutting hair is easy.

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