Lora was in the hairdressers. Again. This gamine crop was all well and good but, goodness, it was high-maintenance. Five times she had had her hair cut in the past three months. Five times! That was more often, literally, than she had had hot dinners. Between a strictly raw food diet, a three-times-a-week gym regime and this effortfully effortless haircut, Lora had no time for anything. Well, that wasn’t strictly true. She had lots of time… to read Grazia magazine. And talk to her hairdresser George about his love life. And what was in Grazia. And about the love lives of the people therein. But after a few visits it had all started to go round and round, on a sort of demented loop, until she had almost lost the will to live.
“I mean, seriously, Lora, can you actually believe he said that?”
Reluctantly, Lora dragged her attention away from Kim & Kanye’s new Klothing range and looked at George in the mirror. He stood frozen, awaiting her response but she didn’t have the faintest clue what he was talking about. Oh for a hairdryer! Oh for the noisy blast of a blowdry that rendered such small (even tiny) talk impossible.
A hairdryer was just one of the allies that she had lost when, post-marriage break-up, she had decided to reinvent herself. That, and 50 per cent of her friends, who thought she was mad to leave Justin. Not to mention Justin himself, who actually, with hindsight, had been quite the security blanket, albeit one who snored and drove too slowly.
Justin had loved her hair. Loved its length, its colour, the way it made her look like every other woman they knew, including the one he was now going out with. As soon as she had plucked up the gumption to leave, the hair had had to go. It was either that or get a tattoo, and she had a phobia of needles.
Ever since seeing Mia Farrow’s pixie cut in Rosemary’s Baby, Lora had a secret longing to have the same. But, along with marrying Frank Sinatra and having Hollywood fall at her feet, this was not something that girls like her did. Try as she might, Lora had always been more gung-ho than gamine. The only thing that she and Audrey Hepburn had ever had in common was they both liked cats.
But it was time to rid herself of these insecurities and jump into the abyss! She had the rest of her life ahead of her and she was determined to grab it by the horns. Plus, The Crop was terribly du moment these days, n’est-ce pas?
At first, she had been thrilled with her new chop. The picture she had posted of herself on her dating app seemed to have gone down a storm, and getting ready to leave the house took no time at all. Just a gash of red lipstick and a squirt of Chanel No 5 and she was off.
But it hadn’t taken long for the novelty to wear off; long enough for her to realise that she could no longer wear most of the clothes in her wardrobe. Overnight, her favourite leather jacket went from being failsafe to Far Right and her pretty chiffon tea dresses were relegated (along with her beautiful collection of dangly earrings that now made her look like a retired piano teacher) to the drawer marked “Another Life”.
And then there was the maintenance aspect. Just three weeks after the cut, her hair began to look like a lawn badly in need of a mow. At first, her regular trips to see George had been pure pleasure – gossip and self-immersion having always been two of her favourite things. Plus, they provided her with the perfect opportunity to do a quick swipe check of the single men in the vicinity. But they had quickly begun to take their toll, not just on her bank balance (she understood why Judi Dench couldn’t possibly afford to retire) but also on her sanity.
“So then he said, ‘Whatever!’ and I said, ‘What does that mean?’ and he said, ‘You know exactly what that means, George,’ and I said, ‘Whatever.’ And he said, ‘OMG! I can’t believe you just said that,’ and I said, ‘Said what?’”
But Lora was no longer listening. Her phone had just buzzed with a dating message. “Love the look of you, and love the hair! Can you meet me for a drink? I’m just round the corner and have half an hour before I catch a train.”
Some chance she’d make it, she thought ruefully, as George painstakingly snipped the individual hairs around her neckline. Some chance.