Monday, May 13, 2013

Helmet Hair

Ever since I was dragged (forcibly but not literally) to one of those overpriced, pretentious, inner-city hairdressers – sorry, Styling Salons – my hair, and indeed my life, have not been the same.

“This is Elle, my stylist at Miss Gertude in Fitzroy.” - And that is a sentence I would never have predicted using a year ago 

I’d never wanted to pay good money for a haircut before but I’m not exactly sure why. I’d never really wanted to pay for leg waxing either, even though on the odd occasion that I did, it was always fantastic and far superior to shaving or epilating. Those days are now well behind me, I’m hooked on the salon experience and don’t even question paying more for a haircut than I would for an osteopathy treatment, bike service or x-ray for my dog.

These will all cost you around the same amount, but only one will change your life…unless you lost the keys to your Ferrari.

I guess it’s really no different to paying $3.80 for a coffee when you could make it yourself for $0.38 – I’m not exactly sure about the numbers here, but I am certain that Jimmy Couling (The Fitzroy Revolution’s resident instant coffee connoisseur) can provide you with some more accurate figures if you’re interested.

A fancy haircut from a talented stylist leaves you smiling in much the same way as a well-crafted and flavoursome espresso coffee from one of those overpriced, pretentious, inner-city cafés…

The much-lauded “Soy Cat-white”.

In much the same way as you go to a café for the ‘experience’, the fancy hairdressing salon also offers a nice ambience, interesting décor and hipster fashion magazines that you don’t get at the $15 Super-EXpress-Cuts-Low-cost-Utility-Barber (surely there’s a funny acronym somewhere in that one?).

And as an added bonus, you actually get a free coffee with your haircut, which makes the idea of going to a standalone café seem quite redundant – something that Hand Carwash centres caught on to long ago – although they make you pay for the coffee too!

So, why the change? Well, as mentioned above, I was dragged there, forcibly, by The Fitzroy Revolution Race Team’s resident Yeti stalker (and immigration lawyer) Maj. I guess she got tired of looking at my massive unkempt shock of curly hair. Either that or she just wanted somebody to talk about bikes with at her next salon appointment. Since that first visit with Maj, I’ve returned regularly on my own and am starting to really enjoy the experience although I still clearly have a lot to learn. Most of the consultations start out in a similar way:
“So, what are we going to do for you today?”
“Umm, a haircut?”
“Have you been putting anything in your hair?”
“Umm, mainly just dust…and sweat.”

So, what do you get for your hard-earned (I use this term loosely) money at the Miss Gertrude salon in Fitzroy?

  1. Haircut (this goes with out saying).
  1. Consult/debrief to discuss how your haircut has been ‘performing’ since the last appointment.
  1. Espresso coffee (all varieties), tea or gourmet hot chocolate with a free cookie and drinking water.
  1. Hipster fashion magazines.
  1. Hair wash and head massage (amazing).
  1. On top of all this you then get a free ‘tidy up’ trim at some point prior to your next scheduled haircut.

The tidy-up improves the lifespan of the haircut and allows the stylist to keep it looking good for longer. This is most closely analogous to the free 1st service that you get with the purchase of a new bike. There’s nothing worse than coming out of the salon looking a million dollars, then putting on your bike helmet and ruining all the hard work that your stylist has just done before having to wait until your next haircut for the chance to look good again for the 2 minutes it takes to leave the salon and unlock your bike.

The free ‘tidy-up’ trim effectively doubles the amount of time that your hair looks good before ‘helmet hair’ rears its ugly, um, hair(??).

This is actually not an uncommon gripe. Fashion concerns were the driving force behind the invention of the widely publicised Swedish Hövding inflatable airbag for cyclists.

The Hövding “…is a bicycle helmet unlike any other currently on the market. It's ergonomic, it's practical, it complies with all the safety requirements, and it's also subtle and blends in with what else you are wearing.” …assuming that what you are wearing is a neck-brace! Their website even details the hairstyles that may present potential problems with this device (mohawks and large afros) and recommends against using it with large dreadlocks that don’t fit inside the collar.

While a hairstyle like this might prevent you from wearing a helmet, on the plus side, you do look amazing!

Helmet hair or fashion concerns are one of the major deterrents to wearing a helmet in cities with compulsory helmet laws like Melbourne. Another big deterrent is religious headwear, which is exempted from compulsory helmet laws in some Australian states. So one option for avoiding the perils of ‘helmet hair’ is to adopt (or invent) a religion that requires you to have great looking hair all the time, thus allowing you to circumvent the laws.

Religion not being one of my strong points, and helmet hair being a source of constant aggravation has meant that I have had to find another way to combat that unsightly horizontal line in the back of my head caused by my helmet’s retention device. Elle takes this issue very seriously and has focused on completely eliminating it by adapting her technique and implementing a swathe of crafty attack-like manoeuvres with her expertly wielded scissors. She has now become quite adept at dealing with helmet hair and would no doubt relish the challenge of tackling any other cyclists out there with similar (admittedly first world) problems.

So, if you are a keen cyclist, but are tired of your hair paying the ultimate price for your lifestyle choice, then why not give Elle at Miss Gertrude a chance to change your life. Either that or just go get a buzz cut and one of these Hair Helmets pioneered by Brett from Flight of The Chonchords.

Getting your Hair Helmet styled is only a once-off commitment

No comments:

Post a Comment