“Tom goes to get his haircut” (or “Plumbing the Depths of Personal Content on the Web”)
In the UK, we get quite a few American TV shows. These shows are on a little after they are on in America depending on who has bought them. Sometimes it’s as little as a couple of weeks, sometimes it can be as much as years. Like I say, it depends on who has bought them. Last night, Ally McBeal was on (long standing readers may remember my forceful hatred for Ally herself, and my concerns that the series is nothing but 50s reactionary thinking repackaged, much like Bob Roberts, the “rebel conservative”). The episode in question was the one in which it is revealed that Georgia has been meeting Ally’s father in a bar, and that they have, in fact recently kissed. Like I say, we’re a little behind the US.
So I’m watching this TV program, thinking how it doesn’t appear to be as reactionary as usual – that in fact, Billy’s “rebel conservative” / “new man in town” act seems to be being used to show Georgia in a good light – as a strong, intelligent career woman who isn’t prepared to settle for accepting that her role is to put other people’s needs before her own. Billy has, of course, by this point, had his hair dyed blonde, and spends at least a third of his time leering like some kind of weird Aryan frat boy at every piece of skirt that wanders by.
My flatmate’s and I are engaged in the weekly game of shouting, “You pathetic woman! Get a spine!” at McBitch herself, along with “Eat some pies, goddammit woman!”, “All she ever does is whine!” and “I bet she listens to the Lighthouse family. I bet she used to listen to Mariah Carey, but now thinks she’s a bit lame and is a bit embarrassed, and instead listens to the bloody Lighthouse Family…” In the background, Billy just wanders around, silly hair-dye glowing in the night. We think he’s too pathetic to even comment upon.
A day passes. I sleep fitfully and get up to go to work. I have to be in early this morning – I have lots of work to do. After an early meeting (mooching around in my A&F t-shirt, and trying to get some pages mocked-up, I think to myself, “I really need a haircut”, so I head off to ‘fish’ in Soho, which is where I always go. I’m sitting down in the chair while this bloke starts hacking into my hair and then suddenly I decide to say: “Ha! Every time I come in hear, I always mean to talk to someone about getting my hair more exciting!” The guy carries on, and then replies, “You want to have a bit of colour in it? Something that makes it look like you’ve been in the sun? Go a bit lighter?”.
Suddenly, I’m thinking about how crap and old and pointless I’ve been feeling recently, and how frustrated I have been with my job, and how much I need to get away and have a change. So, with a nervous grin, I agree, and he sets to work with what appears to be a little bowl of paste and a trowel. I sit there quietly staring at the little goo-capped peaks on my head for twenty minutes – to let the colour seep through – and then I am rinsed, blow-dried, a large block of money is removed from my bank account, and I am set loose once more on the streets of London.
As I’m passing a window I notice my reflection. Light strands of hair glint in the sunlight, and suddenly I’m looking at Billy from Ally McBeal once more. Only this time, he’s just older, faintly ridiculous, bored with his life and eager for change. And with a snigger in my voice and a spring in my step, I look at myself and say: “There’s a new man in town.”
[Tomorrow – a photograph of the new ‘do’]