10 June 2009
I recently turned the grand old age of 33 - a small fact that was broadcast across the borough (much to my humiliation) as my colleagues stuck a birthday announcement in the Southwark News with a photo that confirmed I was more of a Boris Johnson than a Boris Becker, writes Kevin Quinn
As a young golden haired Adonis I was regularly told I looked like the youngest Wimbledon champ of all time, but since the other Boris moved in up the road at City Hall, my heyday as a Becker look-a-like was had all but disappeared.
It does not matter that I am younger than Becker, my regular 20 a day habit often enjoyed with a good few pints and the odd kebab have put me firmly in the Johnson court. My skin and flesh hang off my face like loose dough from a spoon, I'm developing a belly to rival the Mayor and years of constant deadlines in the office have left me feeling such a heavy, constant tiredness, that ... that I don't even the energy to describe any more to you.
The birthday announcement gave all and sundry the perfect excuse to prod me, tug me, knead my dough and guess my age - coming to the conclusion that I looked ten years older.
Downcast, I accepted an offer of an all expenses paid visit to the Stress Exchange on Tooley Street - right opposite my new double’s office - for a haircut that would knock years off me.
This chic establishment, catering for many high flying yet stressed-out city boys in the office blocks of More London opposite, has been going for eight years. And as I stepped inside I found that its saloon had undergone its own recent makeover. It's now a third bigger, with a separate basin area, three new stations and a minimalist decor, that has been perfectly crafted to make customers even more relaxed.
As I set telling the saloon's immaculately turned out manager Donna Underwood my story of woe, which in this game is called a 'consultation', our eyes quickly turned to their new colour area. Despite being ginger I have never once considered dyeing my hair at all. It's not that I am one of those over the top 'red and proud' guys, it’s just that I don't care about my hair that much. It's a teapot warmer.
It does nothing except keep my head warm. But Donna was quick to say she was thinking about highlights - not a full on dye. Being an Aussie, she said she wanted to give me a 'sun-kissed' look that's hard to achieve naturally in London. She told me that highlights would make my hair almost blonde - giving me a more youthful glow. And apart from that we would not be doing anything dramatic.
Plus points were my hair was not receding, going grey or thinning and to go too short was often a mistake, as it actually makes you look older. Donna would take some off the side to even up my face and keep it the same length on top, but with slight highlights.
After a cut then a wash, which included a fantastically soothing head massage and then a little more scissor work, the dye was applied. Half an hour later I was all but done.
It was now just a final bit of grooming, which on its own can take years off you. My hair had been styled with Aueda grooming clay. Wearing your hair fixed can be very ageing - like it belongs to another decade. This miracle tub priced at £17.62 gave body and texture to Donna's cut, but not so much that it made it look unnatural. A little kick or a bend in the hair, Donna told me, can give your hair a natural look - as opposed to having every hair fixed into place.
I walked out and felt a real urge to run off to the courts in nearby Tennis Street and whack a ball about, but instead I headed off back to the office in the knowledge that I'll probably be prodded a poked some more down the pub later. Let's hope this time around they are more kind!
Shampoo Cut & Style & Head Massage by Lead Stylist £30
Highlights by Lead Stylist £45
(prices are less when done by senior stylist and less still when done by stylist)
The Stress Exchange
130-132 Tooley Street,
London Bridge, SE1 2TU
Tel: 020 7357 7006
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