Hair straightening is easy, right? | BBC Radio Solent's Alun Newman


Tuesday, 6th October 2020, 5:38 pm
Alun has realised he is definitely not in the same league as celebrity hairdresser Nicky Clarke.

I’m on bended knee as I write this and that’s no mean feat with sciatica from when I used to mend cars for a living. It’s humbling realising that you’ve misunderstood a group of people for so long.

I’ve always known that I wasn’t gifted in the arena for hairdressing. When my daughter wanted her hair sorted, the job rarely fell to me.

The girls seemed to trust each other with an almost telepathic understanding, although there would also be a fiery intolerance waiting to pounce at any moment. The grace period for mistakes seems to be around the half-a-second mark.

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I would watch-on, when tears occasionally occurred while hair was being brushed – a pulled knot is never the fault of the owner.

I always believed I could do it, that inside me was a latent Nicky Clarke.

Alas, in the past, when I did get my shot at the title, when my wife was on nights and I was on the morning school run, things never went smoothly.

I remember walking my daughter to the school gate and a lovely lady I knew, while dropping off her child, looked at my daughter’s ponytail and said: ‘Oh, Alun, would you like me to finish that for you?’

I didn’t realise that being central to the nearest inch was important.

When I had a go at a French plait, a different mum asked if I wanted to 'leave her for a moment while she sorted it.’

I thought it looked great, ruffled yet somehow cool. After that, my daughter fired me and that was it.

Or so I thought.

Now with teenagers in the house, it was the last thing I expected to be asked.

However, my wife was away for a few days. I was dad alone and my daughter was stressed – maths, English, masks, Covid-19, food tech.

‘Can I help?’ My daughter knows that I’ve been champing at the bit to get involved, I must have offered over a thousand times.

Boom. I was in. For the first time ever I was invited to help straighten hair!

This will take all of two minutes I thought – run straighteners down the front on both sides and ‘Bob’s your auntie’s live-in lover!’

My only experience with this device is being cross with it for being on the stairs/table/sofa or making its scorch marks on furniture.

This is now the apology. Oh lord. We had to divide away different narrow sections of hair with long curved grips that mustn’t stab the head. We spritzed with expensive protector spray, but not too much otherwise it looks greasy. We blew (gently) on the hair that could become as hot as the sun. We had to look for the slightest kink that could cause ridicule and shame.

I crept around the head repeatedly being reminded that if I burned an ear I would be assassinated.

The whole process was mentally exhausting. It seemed to take about 40 hours. I had no idea just how complex, exhausting and time consuming it was.

Never again when someone shouts: ‘I’ve just got to straighten my hair!’ will I reply: ‘I’ll wait for you in the car’.

Instead, I’ll take my shoes off and watch a boxset. Ladies I don’t know how you do it.

Got me all steamed up

We need an invention.

I would like to make a request to any budding inventors who wish to make millions.

The request is from all, long term, glasses wearers.

When we go to buy a new pair of glasses, we can never see them.

What happens is we take off our specs and we’re now nearly blind – like a human mole.

Then we put on the new frames and then take a selfie. We swap back to look at the photo. but we hate those glasses and move on.

It now has the added bonus of having a mask in the picture and lenses that can steam up at any second unless you either hold your breath or pull the mask up and sit your specs on it.

Sure it’s no nightmare and maybe it's only a first world problem, but it is a massive pain in the backside.

My latest specs cost more than a kidney and when I got them it was the first time I’d actually been able to see them on my face.

This is the exact opposite of ‘try before you buy’.

This is more aptly: ‘buy and be surprised’.

As a retail experience, it is madness.

Come on Portsmouth engineers, there must be a solution out there! I’ll go 50/50 with you on the first billion.