Ah, the hairdressers. A kingdom of intimidatingly beautiful women and hydrogen peroxide fumes and my own special brand of social awkwardness. The horrible hot black cape around my shoulders, Velcro fastening itching the back of my neck, music I’ve never heard by a band I’ve never heard of playing behind the whine of 100 hair dryers, me staring off into the middle distance…
I hate going to the hairdressers. Hate it. I’m terrible at small talk and I’m awkward and I’ll garble “yes please thank you very much one sugar” when I’m offered tea and then watch sadly as it sits cooling on the shelf in front of the mirror because I don’t know how I’m supposed to drink it when I can’t move my head and there’s bits of my hair floating on top…
What am I supposed to do while my hair is being washed? Do I keep my eyes open and risk awkward eye contact with the stranger running their fingertips over my scalp and make it feel bizarrely intimate? Do I keep my stare at the ceiling resolute, even when one of their nipples inadvertently grazes my eyelashes as they lean over me to reach the towel? If I close my eyes will it make it seem more intimate?
The single saving grace is what I lack in small talk and tea drinking skills I make up for in expressions of delight at a haircut I knew I’d hate before I’d even sat down. Oh yes that’s great please do show me the back with the little mirror because I never know what to say when you do its all lovely thanks so much of course I’ll tip you take all my money just let me leave.
Mid-snip, this hairdresser delivers a concerned “are you alright?” type comment which snaps me out of what was actually a really nice daydream and back into the real world of forced anecdotes that are mostly (totally) lies because I don’t have any real life ones.
When I daydream I don’t have one of those ethereal, porcelain faced expressions, all slightly parted pink lips and eyes sparkling with distant magical worlds…In fact, when I stared back at myself in the fucking unflatteringly lit mirror, wet hair hanging limply around my shoulders, random sections pinned up awkwardly, chopped split ends stuck to my lip balm, the eyeliner on my right eye making its way down my face because please stop flicking me in the eyeball with my own hair, my face is pale and my expression is one of gormless…terror.
Oh no I’m fine, that’s just my face.
*strangled breezy laugh*
People often think I’m in a thunderous mood when I’ve floated off into a daydream or I’m thinking about food or what happened in Eastenders or why my shittest tweets always get the most stars. I’m actually perfectly happy. Fine at the very least. Probably not even actually thinking of anything at all.
I’m not a bitch, I promise. I’m not putting a hex on you and your family and anyone you’ve ever loved. I’m not snobby or rude…I’m just a shy person with a face and I’m really, really sorry you thought I was looking at you funny that time at the thing.
Not unlike my face, my brain is a pretty good tool in my arsenal of social incompetence. Especially around people I don’t know particularly well.
I’m massively self deprecating but that’s usually me trying to be funny. And it’s a jolly little shield that prevents me getting too close to anyone – everyone I care about always leaves ahahahaha maybe it’s because of my face ahahahaha – and because I like to make people laugh (validating innit) and observational humour doesn’t always work. Especially online where you can’t see the funny thing that I can and there’s no tone and you can’t see my upturned face with the hopeful look of a puppy begging for the validation of at least a half smile, please like me, lovely human, I funny, I nice.
One of the problems with a sprinkling of light hearted self mockery is that, being someone vocal about their own madness, alarm bells are going to ring when I say “OMG I’M SO SHIT WHAT A STUPID IDIOT I AM FOR THAT THING”. Because I’m all depressive and stuff often what was actually just a throw away comment about me being genuinely idiotic mutates into one hundred and one U OK HUNS and me saying over and over that yes I’m fine I promise I was actually an idiot that time I end up sounding so desperately sarcastic I regret ever thinking I could successfully put words into a sentence to be unleashed from my mind and into the world.
Sometimes, because you have to laugh or you’ll cry amirite, I’ll drop an accidental and extremely poorly thought out joke about The Bad Things into what was, until that moment, a normal conversation.
The Bad Things are such a norm to me now; I have to talk about them whether I like it or not to GPs and nurses and psychologists and, in a less obligated way to people I love and people I don’t and Twitter…I used to talk about them a lot on here. They’re just part of my life.
I don’t answer the door to the delivery man (who actually accounts for at least 75% of my real life human interaction because Amazon Prime) and lament about my medication or that really funny time I was so mentally unwell I heard a dismembered voice telling me jokes while I was in the shower. I’d tell you lot though. It was fucking weird and you’d all think I’m properly mad but it WAS funny. In hindsight.
And I would sit with a friend and absentmindedly say “this cup of tea is so bad it’s making me want to die”.
*all of the air is sucked from the room*
*sits in the deafeningly silent vacuum of awkward*
“OMG guys, just because I have, like, literally wanted to die doesn’t mean I literally want to die now, this isn’t a cry for help or a serous statement, this is just a really really shit cup of tea”
Admittedly, this only happens with people I’m not that close to or people who don’t know me very well but I have no self censor. I don’t think and it’s terrible. My brain’s so quick to throw these things out of my mouth because it’s obviously a sick, sick organ that likes to watch me cringe myself into a puddle while everyone slowly sidesteps away.
I’m really, really lucky to know people who can find a bit of gentle humour in my mentalness and joke both at me and with me. To know people on a level that they can take the piss and it be genuinely funny and not make me want to cry or kill them, but who also know when I’m poorly and need love, that’s pretty spesh.
If I’m really not well it won’t be a stupid try hard joke poorly delivered before my mouth could stop it from falling out that lets you know. It’ll be when I’ve not spoken for days. Or when I say “I’m really struggling what do I do?”.
I’m sorry that sometimes I can get it wrong or cause worry and I am forever baffled and endlessly appreciative that there are people here who care. So that’s all sort of why I’m struggling a bit to write at the moment. I’m trying to get a handle on how I’m feeling and how to translate it here and…that’s all something else for another time. But I don’t mean to scare anyone. Unless I do, in a cruelly perverse way.
…but mostly, that is why I can’t make small talk with hairdressers. (It’s also a bit because I HATE YOU I SAID I ONLY WANTED A TRIM YOU POWER CRAZY SCISSOR WIELDING HAIR DEMON).