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Friday, 16 January 2004

Ye Redeem What is Wanting in Beauty by Pulchritude of Soul

Now Playing: Vanemega's Mixtape

I'm not that cool with the social graces. I'm fairly confident, yeah, but somehow, small talk and tipping the hair dresser defeats me every time.
I mean, what's with the tipping? Do men tip their barbers? Do you tip your hairdresser? The person who washes your hair? The receptionist who's holding your jacket to ransom? There's a social contract I really am not equal to. I'm comfortable with tipping waiters, taxi drivers, and a trip to America did eventually get me used to tipping bar staff, though it grated on my Ebeneezer soul. But tipping hairdressers? And - worse - the shampoo monkey? Nah, I can't cope with that.
I pay by plastic, so I never have denominations of tippable coins and notes, much less differing amounts to recognise each of the girlie wankers' differing level of input in making me look like an over primped badger. It's all I can do to get my lazy arse anywhere within thirty minutes of an appointed time - any appointed time - there's not a noodle's chance I'd achieve the self organisation required to accrue cash in correct denominations, too.
And when do you do it? When do you hand over the filthy lucre? Before you crouch at excruciating angles before their porcelain altar of pain and scalp-scalding ? While still blinded from the chemicals they squirted over half your face while chatting up the bloke next to you? After the snippage? (Jesus, I can't remember what shampoo monkey looked like by then - I was staring at the ceiling cobweb in a frozen rictus trying not to acknowledge the shooting pain in my neck, not eyeballing the menial staff so I'd recognise them later when they aren't upside down or shooting things at my head.)
I suppose I could tip the receptionist, when I pay - but hell, they didn't do anything. There's the moment at the end of the blow dry, when lipgloss starlet abstractedly flashes a smeared and hairy mirror at speed behind you so you can inspect the now visible boil on your nape. Well,I'm too busy wondering how many brain cells it took them to forget I wear specs and can see fuck all of their meisterwerk, and counting the seconds till I can get round the corner from the salon and ruffle it.
To compensate for not tipping, ever, I have to rotate my custom amongst three different hair stylists (interspersed with the inevitable attacks of self loathing with the nail scissors), in the hopes that no-one recognises me enough to hold my stingy trade against me, or worse, to ask me questions about my day job.
Today, I narrowly escaped having to 'chat' about why in hell I stayed in alone on New Year's Eve to the shampoo monkey giving me an otherwise near orgasmically relaxing shampoo (hey, lighten up, it's been a while). At the last minute, I remembered to panickily deflect using the askpointlessquestions technique, and was able to manage a burst of abruptly spaced interrogations in order to dodge further intrusion as to my plans for Friday night.
I'm the silent, thunderous looking bugger in the hair salon - listen, it's bad enough that you wet my head, draped me in a flatteringly vomit coloured cape then sat me for ninety minutes in front of a full length mirror surrounded by thousand watt searchlights while you wriggle your twenty something permatanned belly piercing about and throw ridiculously affected and time consuming shapes with scissors. Expecting me to be unscathed by the experience to the extent that I will tell you, a total stranger, about the fucking holiday I didn't have last year, or the one I'm not fucking planning for next year - that's just cruel.

I used to really be sullen as fuck at the hairdresser's - it's one of the ancestral trades learnt at my granny's knee, so I'm familiar enough with the mystical delights of beer shampoo and a vented blow drier not to respect what's being done to my head, because, given enough mirrors, and probably an extra limb extruding from my spine, I can do it myself. My customary hairdresser banter tended to run a varied line ranging wildly from "it's just shit, innit", through "that's not short enough, do it again", to an eloquent "no."
At least, until my first East End haircut. Tower Hamlets being somewhat rough, the salon round the corner generally holds obvious signs of anything from a recent scuffle to a violent brawl. On one particular occasion, I sat in my winching chair, and noticed that several of the sinks had recently been ripped forcefully from the walls and one of the mirrors was cracked just below head height. Regardless, I wittily quipped "no" at camp hairdresser, as he proceeded to dye a lump of my fringe bright yellow.
A frizzyhaired frowsy looking woman came in forty minutes early for her cut, and asked if she could be seen earlier. Camp 'stylist' politely explained to 'Modom' that this would not be possible. Frizzyhair woman pulled an annoyed face, then bumbled off to do some shopping till she could be seen.
As she exited the 'salon', camp stylist's face metamorphosed so rapidly he could well have been possessed by the evil spirit of Bob Monkhouse.
"Bitch!" he hissed, swooping right down to my ear - "she's going to get a shit haircut now."
With that he minced off to find another pint of hairspray. This one line was all it took to get me chittering like a squirrel denied its nuts. By the time I paid up, not only did I know about his last three holidays in Ibiza, I'd cooed and burbled like a retard over photos of his entire extended family, in a paroxysm of socially discomfited horror about what he might do to my head. (At the minimum, I was experiencing unprompted mental visions of myself wearing a Chelsea smile.)

This page graced by sarsparilla at 7:04 PM GMT
Updated: Friday, 16 January 2004 8:41 PM GMT
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Friday, 16 January 2004 - 9:05 PM GMT

Name: Kat
Home Page:

Ah! A kindred spirit! I hate going to get my hair cut. Absolutely hate it.

The tipping thing must be international, then, because I can't ever figure out who to really tip, either. I do waiters and waitresses, bartenders and the hairdresser her/himself and that's about it.

Friday, 16 January 2004 - 9:34 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

When? When? Whennnnnnnnn do you tip the hairdresser? My family all do their own or each other's hair, I never got told this detail of adult life....

Friday, 16 January 2004 - 10:58 PM GMT

Name: tess
Home Page:

I have only recently began to tip my hairdresser. I have no problems workling out when to tip as she accompanies me to the till - but the hair washer? Nahhhhhh. Although she has recently began giving really good head massages while shampooing.

Friday, 16 January 2004 - 11:04 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

Oh s h i t, yeah, they do always walk you to the till, don't they? Duh me, I am so stoooooopid. I thought it was just some pleasntry, like, they don't want you to get lost walking the two yards towards the exit, or more like, you look like a povvy, and they fear you might make a run for it without paying. It never occurred to me they're tailing you and begging. W a n k e r s.

Cheers for solving the mystery for me, though! :) Me dumbo.

Saturday, 17 January 2004 - 8:11 AM GMT

Name: Dick Jones
Home Page:

I tip my barber. Haven't a clue whence the custom comes. I see it as insurance. I use the same guy each time because he's able to render what remains of my gossamer-thin thatch vaguely manageable. As in your example above, if I didn't tip him he just might take dreadful revenge next time around. So I guess it's protection money.

At least there's a rationale to that. Why do I have to tip bar staff when I go to New York? What are they going to do? Spit in my whisky?

Saturday, 17 January 2004 - 10:01 AM GMT

Name: Vanessa

I have no idea. And what makes it worse for a Brit is having to tip notes. Notes start at a fvier here - what's that, seven dollars? You instinctively hoard and clutch at your notes. They're not for the footman.

I've just realised, I never tip hotel staff, either. But no-one's ever shown me to my room, like in the movies, either. Well, not unless they patently wanted a shag, and that sort tends to end up sleeping just outside the doorway in a drunken stupor till their eyesight clears up.

Saturday, 17 January 2004 - 11:48 AM GMT

Name: tess
Home Page:

Oh crikey, I never tip notes. Never, ever. However if you would like to give a note, got to the bank and get some Scottish pound notes, that oughta do it.

Saturday, 17 January 2004 - 11:48 AM GMT

Name: sarah

that's an ace post, superb. I never thought about tipping the hairdresser until last time I went, when what was blatently a pimp/gangster had the attention of about 5 staff even though he had no hair, and then he slipped my hairdresser a #20.

I never tip bar staff either, even though I used to be a barstaff and got really pissed off that no-one ends an order with "and one for yourself"

Saturday, 17 January 2004 - 12:47 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

But when you tip American bartenders, you tip a coupla dollars, and a dollar is a big long green note. Somehow being a big long green slightly furred note makes it seem worth more than about 60pee.

Saturday, 17 January 2004 - 12:49 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

When I waitressed, I didn't realise that "keep the change" or "and whatever you're having" were elegant ways of tipping you. I just rammed the money in the fat cash till, ignorant of anything better.

A few hours into my first shift, I worked it out. Stricken, I ran to the till, wrenched it open and started counting out what I reckoned I was owed, for my pocket. Looked suspicious. So suspicious that I never waitressed again.

Saturday, 17 January 2004 - 1:11 PM GMT

Name: sarah

Yes, but did anyone actually see you? I often just left the sparse tips in the till in the hope that it'd cover up all the mistakes I make in charging.

As for people who tried to tip me when I worked at the music shop over Christmas - that was infuriating, having cash on your person is instant dismissal so your till ends up being ### over. Funny how if it's short they take it off your pay, but if it's over *you* never get the bloody difference. And who bloody tips in a music shop? pah

Saturday, 17 January 2004 - 3:03 PM GMT

Name: Shopaholic
Home Page:

You should come to Singapore for a visit. No tipping required. Except maybe to waiters/waitresses and that's up to your own discretion. As for tipping hairdressers? That's the first time I heard about it too.

Saturday, 17 January 2004 - 3:33 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

Bloody hell, that's ridiculous. I hope you nicked some CDs to make up....

Saturday, 17 January 2004 - 3:33 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

Great, so it's only the UK where the hairdressers are vacuous, affected and greedy, then. :)

Saturday, 17 January 2004 - 5:02 PM GMT

Name: NC

Hmm, those shampoos at the fancy hairdressers are BETTER than sex!

Saturday, 17 January 2004 - 5:43 PM GMT

Name: em
Home Page: http://yuptrenton

for some reason my comment never made it up here. it was sensational, i swear. something about debit cards and tip jars is all i can remember. wonder what happened!

oh. i see now. the extra step did me in. Doh!

Saturday, 17 January 2004 - 5:56 PM GMT

Name: sarah

yes, I'd noticed that last time I was visiting my "stylist".

Saturday, 17 January 2004 - 8:01 PM GMT

Name: Lux

Yes, the U.S. government does that on purpose to make us all feel richer than we really are.

But you don't tip bartenders in the UK?? Oh well, that's probably because they get paid at least minimum wage, right? Waitresses and bartenders over here have a lower minimum wage than everyone else because of tipping.

Sunday, 18 January 2004 - 12:18 AM GMT

Name: Vanessa

So then there's no point in tipping, if it means the boss is going to pay them less money, right? I mean, that's cruel, innit?

Sunday, 18 January 2004 - 12:23 AM GMT

Name: Vanessa

There's a paypal button on the first comment screen, and if you don't click it to donate me 60pee, it wipes your comment, see. ;)

Sunday, 18 January 2004 - 12:25 AM GMT

Name: Vanessa

Jeeez Louise, my memory must be playing tricks, then - I've never had a shag and wished I was getting my temples gripped by a retard with false nails and a GCSE in cooking... ;)

Sunday, 18 January 2004 - 6:06 PM GMT

Name: sarah

really? you've clearly never pulled in Edinburgh then :P

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