Today I broke an old habit that’s lasted ten years and cost me thousands of pounds.
I went to a new hairdresser.
Every three months for the last decade, I’ve faithfully trekked to the same west London salon to have pretty much the same ‘do.
I started going because it was directly below the office I worked in at the time and, if I factored in a slightly cheeky longer lunch, I could get my hair done and hit the end-of-day deadlines.
Even when I eventually moved 120 miles away I would still find reasons to return, like a bedraggled homing pigeon, every 3 months or so for a T-section and a rough cut.
What is it that kept me under her spell for so long?
The hairdresser and I are not friends, despite our weird, detached-yet-very-intimate relationship built around shampoos, blow drys and 50 shades of highlights. We have pretty much grown up together without ever meeting outside of the salon.
I liked the fact that I knew her, and she knew my hair, and the one time some intern forgot to set the alarm and my locks ended up more silver fox than honey blonde, she fixed it for me free of charge within 24 hours.
Perhaps the beginning of the end for me was when she stopped serving traditional tea, coffee and mini chocolates in favour of horrid raspberry and bergamot herbal brew with assorted nuts. Perhaps for her it was the 700th time she attempted to flog me some Morroccan Oil at £700 per millilitre (or so it seemed) in return for eternal youth, or some such.
Or perhaps I realised that spending 2 hours and £40 to commute to a place in the middle of nowhere, and then spend +£100 to end up looking the same as I did before I arrived was a bit of a false economy.
So – today I took the plunge and went local. I chose a hairdresser recommended by my husband (who does that? another first) and made an appointment.
It was an awkward first date. She asked me three times whether I was going on holiday and didn’t laugh when I told her some an anecdote from the stash of celeb magazines she gave me (admittedly it was poor. You know you’re getting old when you don’t know who most of the celebs are, and the ones you do recognise are botoxed to within an inch of their lives and going on about their bikini body
My hairdresser would have laughed along with me, I thought, suddenly feeling overwhelmed with guilt and longing.
To be honest, it didn’t last long though. Because guess what? By the time we were done, I looked the same as I do in West London, with the added bonus of being able to walk home in 20 minutes and the entire experience costing almost half the price.
Next step is to wean myself off my dentist. The dentist whose child I went to primary school with and who has been my dentist since my very first tooth made its appearance. She is also a good 90 minute drive away. At least I won’t have to worry about the chit-chat. In all our years together I don’t think I’ve said more than 2 sentences to her and that was while rinsing my mouth at the end.