The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.

1:59pm on Friday, 14th January, 2005:

Hair Cut


I had my hair cut today. Normally I'd have waited another month, but my hair's started to go all Einstein on me. It's the large number of white hairs: they're much more wirey than the brown ones.

I made an appointment, but it was ignored. "Who's next?" asked the barber in charge (well, hairdresser, since the people there sometimes do women's hair too). I let the first call pass, but the second time I suggested that they looked in their records to see if there might be anyone waiting who hadn't just walked in off the street. Lo, there was one: me.

That's not my anecdote.

It was a very cold day today. Standing in a queue to get some sandwiches after my haircut, I noticed this teenage girl approaching who was wearing a short skirt and unusual pink tights. When she got closer, I realised they weren't pink tights, they were her legs. She was so cold her skin had gone raw. The last time I saw anything like that was about 10 years ago at Colchester Station. As I recall, that girl's legs eventually went mottled and another passenger suggested that she might want to wait in the waiting room instead of standing in an icy wind. She declined. The things some people do in the name of fashion.

That's not my anecdote, either.

No, the anecdote concerns a woman in her early 20s that I saw this morning. She had red hair. I don't mean she was a redhead, I mean her hair was the colour of a postbox. The rest of her was all gothed out, with piercings everywhere, leather straps, boots with soles so thick a family of mice could live in them, so much make-up that it could probably be peeled off in a single piece, and a long, purple, velvet skirt with netting over it. The whole ensemble was shrouded in a black coat of the kind that elderly Victorians used to wear when one of their relatives had recently died.

This strange apparition was busy, because she was at work. Now there are some places where you expect to see people in goth uniform working (eg. comic shops) and some places you don't (eg. hospitals). The latter outnumber the former, because the whole point of wearing such an outfit is to stand out but most employers prefer that their employees don't stand out. A lot of people are suspicious of group-culture fashions (and for not entirely baseless reasons: whether teddy boys, hippies, mods, rockers, punks, new romantics or goths, where there's a uniform there's often anti-social behaviour). This is another reason why you wouldn't normally see a goth doing a normal job which involved contact with a member of the public.

This particular woman had no problem, though. She was training a blind woman to use her guide dog.

I wonder if she dresses like a shop assistant when she goes out clubbing at the weekend?

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Copyright © 2005 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).