Product Placement

Within the past week I’ve had my hair cut. As with every time I have my haircut, I always plan to have the next one before I take on the appearance of Bigfoot, but failed yet again. Now I mention it, the last barbers I used went out of business – do you think the two are related?

Anyway, last time I had my hair done it was at a new barbers and by “Big Shaun”. He’s called Big Shaun because he’s, well, big. And his name is Shaun. There’s also a vanilla Shaun – his name unadorned with adjectives. I assume it was against some EU human rights legislation that they couldn’t call him “Little Shaun”. So we’ve got Shaun, Big Shaun, and two others whose name plaques I couldn’t read without my glasses.

Big Shaun did a good job last time and working on the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” principle, I decided to ring up and book an appointment with a named barber. Already this disturbs me because I have never asked to see a specific barber in my life. In the past I’ve always just turned up and sat in the chair pretty much regardless of who was wielding the scissors.

This is an appointment-only barbers, however, so I rang up and instantly felt like I was in a Guy Ritchie film by asking to meet Big Shaun at 10am the following day. When I turned up I didn’t know whether to get a haircut or buy a couple of sawn-offs for use in an amateur bank heist. Luckily it turned out to be more haircut than hold-up.

Now the last time he sorted out the top mop he put some ”product” in, just to keep it from fluffing up like a newborn kitten’s fur – I’ve got quite fine hair. Note that’s “fine” as in “not thick”, as opposed to “fine” as in “it’s alright”. Meanderings aside, he put some of this product in my hair and it seemed alright. I meant to buy some to use myself, but like most of my life’s tasks, I just didn’t get round to it.

This time, the return journey from seeing Big Shaun took me into Sainsbury’s and I (miracle of miracles) remembered to buy some. I opted for some branded stuff in a little round silver tin that seemed to fit the bill (and it wasn’t Kiwi Black before you ask). Now this brings me to disturbing point number two: I’ve never bought myself any sort of hair product so we’re already deep in unchartered territory here.

Obviously I couldn’t base my purchase decision on past experience, so I had to blindly go on the picture on the outside. I’m well aware that there will be just one type of gunk made and this will be repackaged according to the target market, but I still deliberated for longer than I do over a good cut of meat at the butcher’s counter. Do we go for the stuff aimed at teenagers with the trendy dude, loads of thick “manly” stubble, and bright, bold (bizarrely 80’s) colours? Do we opt for the “gentleman’s” styling product with the impossibly chiselled jaw that’s been shaved to within an inch of it’s life, and the faint whiff of Just For Men? I ended up with a fairly plain tin that seemed to be produced for 30-something males in the IT industry.

The following day, after my morning shower, I realised I had no clue whatsoever about how to put this stuff in my hair. The day before I had watched Big Shaun do the same, but it dawned on me that I had no idea what I was doing. He made it look easy, but for a newbie it’s far from straightforward. This brings me to my third and final disturbing point – I’ve never put “product” in my hair and it’s not very easy when it has the consistency of glazing putty (perhaps the clue should have been the words “styling putty” on the tin). Now trying to put it in, then having a shower and trying again is extremely pointless. Until I can get this product placement correct, I’ve decided that I’m wearing this hair stuff every day as practice. Practice for what I don’t know, but I’ve heard that it’s not vanity until you’ve suffered for the art.

So now I’m in the habit doing my hair on a morning; regardless of what I’m doing during the day. Normally, to play on the floor with Lucy I just wear my black jogging bottoms and a (invariably black) T-shirt. So until I get this down to a fine art, I’m going to end up looking like a well-groomed Milk Tray man on dress-down Friday.