Tufts and chuffs.

K and I have been experimenting with new hairdos. (At our age! I know!)

First of all, K decided to grow his hair over his collar, in a sort of fanned-and-feathered arrangement which he refers to as his “tufts”. I think this was originally inspired by a TV advert featuring the racing driver Jenson Button, looking spruce, dapper and tufted, with “K’s type” practically written all over him. A simple case of wanting to resemble the person you fancy, basically. It’s a common enough occurrence.

However. To carry off the “tufted” look properly, you do need a certain hair type. Thin and wispy, like freshly spun gossamer in the early morning light. Not thick and clumpy, like pampas grass in some dreary suburban front garden.

And there’s the rub. After careful, elaborate zhooshing, K’s tufts tend to remain intact for perhaps twenty minutes at best – before degrading back to their natural, clump-like state. Worst of all, they have a habit of curling up at the sides – so that when viewed from the front, the effect is worryingly reminiscent of Heidi.

It’s not an attractive look. Particularly when, like me, you have a bit of a Thing about shaved hair round the back of the neck anyway. But, apparently, it’s trendy. Which, apparently, makes everything perfectly OK.

(Particularly when, unlike me, you have a bit of a Thing about men with longer hair anyway. Current case in point: Stuart from Big Brother 5, the object of much prolonged drooling on a near-nightly basis.)

“At least my haircut isn’t stuck in the Eighties”, he sniped, quoting our mutual hairdresser verbatim.

That did it. For my next appointment, I requested one of those pre-cut “consulations”, of the sort which we habitually skip because, yes, I have had exactly the same haircut since 1989, and a very nice haircut it is too, thank you for asking, and it has always served me very well, actually actually I think you’ll find, and I could produce many glowing testimonials to that effect, and, you know what, I don’t recall ever receiving any complaints.

“I’d like to grow it a bit on top”, I explained.

“Because,” I continued, swivelling my chair round to look my hairdresser straight in the eyes, “I’d hate to be stuck in the 1980s.


“Oh… he told you?” As a gratifyingly sheepish look passed over my hairdresser’s face, I basked in my brief moment of triumph.

Since then, my new ‘do has been coming along nicely. Indeed, every time I wash it, it seems to fall in an excitingly different way. (Today, for example, it has formed a pleasingly severe side parting; think Franz Ferdinand meets the 1940s.) And, well, what do you know? Simply everyone has been paying it compliments.

“Such an improvement”.
“A whole new you.”
“The best it has ever looked.”

Meaning that, in reality, no-one really thought that much of my late-80s “classic” cut in the first place? Well, why didn’t you say? After all, I’m not getting any younger…

Which just leaves the vexed question of K and his godawful pigtailed clumps.

Readers: I’ve tried everything. Sweet, logical reason. Gentle, patient hints. Detailed technical arguments. Scorn, mockery, exasperated ridicule. The “mutton dressed as lamb” line. Public humiliation. Outright hostility. Pantomimed revulsion.

Nothing gets through to him. When he wants to be, my beloved can be a contrary, stubborn bleeder. Enjoying – no, relishing – the challenge.

Or maybe just biding his time. Playing his favourite kind of game. The long game. Me, I’ve never been much of a tactician. K, on the other hand, can be a master of the art.

A week or so ago, sitting up late in front of the telly with a glass of wine too many, I inadvisedly lit up. (Sometimes, I get it into my head that I’ll be able to slip the odd fag or two past him, without attracting any comment. Fat chance. I never learn.)

“Tell you what”, he began, in what I should have spotted as dangerously dulcet tones. “I’ll cut you a deal.”

“What sort of deal?” I enquired, calmly chuffing away.

“I’ll go and get my tufts hacked off… but when I do… you’ll have to stop smoking.”

I didn’t hesistate for a second. Yes! Victory! The tufts are gone!

Only too late – fatally too late – did I fully appreciate the brilliance of this tactical masterstroke. God, he’s good. It’s on occasions like these that I am afforded a small insight into just what makes my boyfriend such a business whizz.

These days, I’m chuffing on borrowed time. As we fly to Peru two weeks tomorrow, K is delaying his pre-holiday haircut for as long as he can. As far as I’m concerned, he can take all the time he likes.

In fact… you know what? Maybe I’ve been a bit too hasty with my judgement. Maybe those tufts aren’t so bad after all. Yes, I’m sure I could learn to live with them.

See also… Naked Blog: Independence Day.

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