‘With my black hair and facelift, I’m often mistaken for Michael Jackson’
I’ve officially gone mad. On Friday afternoon, I had all my hair cut off. Let me explain.
On Thursday, I was browsing the Vogue website and a headline grabbed me: ‘Kaia Gerber now has the fashion world’s most-wanted haircut.’ Ooh. Let me see. And there was Cindy Crawford’s teenage model daughter with a messy bob that grazed her chin. She looked stunning. She no longer wanted the ‘long, pretty’ hair everyone expected.
I have always had the long, pretty hair. It was something to hide behind. It was my trademark. But recently, I’d been wondering whether my hair isn’t a little ridiculous. I could have grown children and varicose veins, but instead I grew my hair. I’m stuck. As it’s dyed black, and given I’ve had a facelift, I’m often mistaken for Michael Jackson. How much better to be mistaken for a supermodel.
And so it is on Friday afternoon I’m at a salon in Knightsbridge. My hairdresser’s name is Simon. ‘I am about to show you a photo on my iPad,’ I say, gravely revealing it. ‘Please don’t laugh.’
He doesn’t laugh, but says he thinks it will suit me and make me ‘look younger. Long hair can drag your face down a bit.’
I almost stab him with his own scissors, but instead, having just browsed Elle, which had a coverline about, ‘Women paying to look older’, I merely snap, ‘I don’t want to look younger.’
He wields his scissors, and a large hank of hair falls to the floor, as though I’ve been scalped. I can’t help but think, ‘I probably grew that hair when I had my dogs Hilda and Sam and the cats.’ He keeps going, while I keep saying, ‘Do you want another look at the photo? Are you sure it’s not shorter than hers?’
‘No, it looks a bit different as you have a different-shaped chin.’
I get back to my hotel, Kettner’s in Soho. Now part of the trendy Soho House group, it used to be a Pizza Express, and in 1984 I’d interviewed a male model over a Fiorentina, trying to get him to go out with me. (He turned out to be gay.) I suddenly feel my spirits drop. All those decades of trying, of stress and longing and work and backing the wrong horse. And here I am. Single. Old. But at least I have new hair. Perhaps I can now be a different person, too. Yay!
I go up to the room, shower and start to trowel on make-up, given I’m meeting David for dinner. I haven’t told him about the hair. I send my assistant Nic a selfie, taken in the bathroom mirror as though I’m Kylie Jenner. ‘It looks great! You look so much younger,’ she tells me. I go down to the bar. ‘It looks fantastic!’ the girls at reception twitter. David turns up and does a double take. ‘Wow! Oh my God, you look amazing!’
He sits. He’s in a black jacket over a white T-shirt and jeans. His hair is short, combed. The room is dark, too. I actually fancy him.
‘You should have had it cut years ago,’ he says. ‘It’s like I’m on a date with a different woman.’
We have dinner, then go up to my room. He literally tears off my clothes, when we all know I like to hang things nicely. I’m a bit annoyed. The non-sex for months, then this, is implying my long hair was putting him off. So I say, ‘You seem to be under the mistaken impression that women are not visually stimulated. Have a think about what I mean while you go downstairs for a fag.’
‘Oh, I know what you mean. That as I’ve tried a bit, we’ve had sex.’
‘Yes.’ His usual crumpled T-shirt, big beard and slippers as outerwear are never a turn-on.
‘Do you think I look a bit like Kaia Gerber?’ I asked him. I’d shown him the photo over dinner. Explained. I think there was a diagram at one point.
‘Oh, you mean Cyndi Lauper’s daughter?’
I give up. I feel like Fleabag’s sister, who took a photo to her hairdresser and exited resembling a pencil. The next morning, I get a cab to King’s Cross. The taxi driver angles his mirror to look at me, then switches on his intercom as we pull into the station.
‘I love your work,’ he says.
‘How d’you know it’s me? I’ve just had my hair cut – I look different.’
‘Of course it’s you. Your debit card has been declined.’