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Befriending your double chins January 10, 2007

Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.

B. refers to an excellent photographic service – they accept paypal – that can turn you, or rather, your children, into someone else for not even a fistful of dollars. Now I quite like the idea of being someone else, and wouldn’t mind having someone else’s face and body photoshopped permanently onto mine, but damn homosexuality and the concomitant lack of children which means I can’t even try it out on them first. I might adopt especially.

I subjected myself to the six-weekly torture of a haircut this morning. As ever, I’d been putting it off. I walked past my old ladies of choice – I’ve blogged them at least 90 times before – the other day but it was the younger of the two on duty and I prefer to get the properly old, barely vertical, terminally tipsy one. Today I gritted my teeth and went for another walk-past. I struck lucky and went in and took a pew.

She was engaged with an older gentleman when I arrived. He was having the standard cut but went for a supplementary head massage, which I thought was awfully modern of him. The tiny hairdresser – she has to hoist herself up on a high-chair when manipulating talk folk’s crowns – massaged a glob of some gel or other into his head. They chatted away nicely.

I got a good view of the man as he got up to pay. I surveyed his frame carefully, making mental notes of what physical fate held in store for me. Presumably the gent had shrunk quite a lot in his dotage. But he still had generous shoulders and was sprier than I. The waist of his trousers began just below his shoulder-blades and then his bottom and hips billowed outwards before billowing back in shortly above the knee. All in all, he looked slightly like a rubbery neck, the rubberiest skin of which has been pulled outwards as far as it will go. He paid his huge bill – cock knows (as the Russians say) what she massaged into his skull – and went on his way.

I took up my place and grunted my wishes. Just as she was about to begin, the old lady remembered she’d forgotten to take a swig of Dutch courage and quickly went round the back, unscrewed the cap of whatever her poison was, knocked it back and returned to my locks. I bravely managed to enunciate the desired millimetre-setting of the shavey thing – she smiled her agreement – and got down to staring at myself.

My face looked more like a pink splat than a face. Should anyone ever forget their compass when in my company and desperately need to draw a perfect circle, my splat would provide the ideal template. Of course this is the standard yearly state of affairs, with roundness peaking shortly after the Christmas festivities, before, hopefully, a less geometrically quantifiable mould resumes service at some point in the spring. Luckily, my old lady was so tipsy that I didn’t have to hide my efforts at contorting myself into beauty in the mirror. I sucked in my cheeks and breathed in at the same time but that only left me looking Munchian. I screwed up my eyes to make myself look more seductive but still looked more Marty than Marky. I made short-lived, empty promises to myself that, at the age of 36, I would consider darkening the door of a gym for the first time in my life.

But fuck that shit, I admitted to myself, honestly, moments later. I have weights lying around here, after all, and can normally be bothered to pick those up about once a decade. I am never going to be a sporty type. Befriend those double chins, BiB. And so I settled into some decontortion. I gave my chins free rein. They wobbled slightly before relaxing at gravity’s behest and the perfect pink circle appeared once more. I breathed back out and allowed the thing velcroed round my neck to sit more tautly on my frame. Far less of the old lady and the trinkets adorning her premises were now on view in the mirror.

She flashed the mirror round the back of my head for me to nod my approval. I didn’t pay any attention to the hair but counted the number of ripples in my tattooless neck. Three. I paid the tiny bill – I had a voucher for a reduction which I tendered sheepishly – and went on my way, resolving to go for a pinkening, roundening beer this evening before gorgeousness gets a chance to settle back in in the spring.



1. Marsha Klein - January 10, 2007

It’s top secret-ish! It’s being held in London (that’s not giving much away!) and it’s a gathering of fans and followers of “Green Wing”, a comedy show which I’m sure you haven’t seen. Patroclus will be there (as will her new boyfriend who is one of the scriptwriters – http://jamesandthebluecat.blogspot.com – sorry, I can’t do links in comments) and I’m really looking forward to meeting them and the other GWfans/bloggers. James’ blog was my introduction to blogging, so I feel I owe him a “thank you” for that, as well as for his part in one of my favourite TV shows of all time.

I wrote Spring with a lower case “s” first and it just looked wrong.

2. Marsha Klein - January 10, 2007

I am always depressed by the face I see peering back at me from the hairdresser’s mirror. Am I really that grey? When did those bags under my eyes arrive? I’ve always had a short jaw, so the double chin is less of a surprise but the jowls are a new, and unwelcome, addition. Anyway, I’m regretting not getting my hair “done” before my big, TV show-related meet-up this weekend. I was trying for what I believe the young people call “boho chic” but I fear my “look” is more bag-lady than charmingly bohemian. I’d wear a hat but, with my luck, I’d end up looking criminally insane rather than eccentric and endearing.

Anyway, well done you for going to the hairdresser. By the time you have to do it again it will be Spring.

3. BiB - January 10, 2007

Ooh, what’s the big, TV-show-related meet-up this weekend? Who’ll be there? Where’s it being held? Or is it all top secret?

And I like Spring with a capital s. I remember learning that seasons were written with a capital letter, but gave up the habit when I seemed to be the only one adhering to it, or thought I must have invented it myself. It’s boiling here, by the way, but I suppose Winter will set in eventually… Some people I know have even taken to writing the days of the week with a small letter, pretending to be French, but I can’t bring myself to be that radical just yet

4. BiB - January 10, 2007

I thought that must be what the meet-up was. Yes, unfortunately, I’ve never seen that show. I will make an effort to, somehow, if I am ever in the UK for more than 10 seconds. But I’ve heard it mentioned in blogs galore and knew that Pats’s James was one of its writers. Do give everyone a huge blogging hug – a blug, say – from me. Will you have to wear a ball-gown?

5. Marsha Klein - January 10, 2007

God, I hope not. Although a ballgown worn with a ratty old raincoat and a felt hat might complement my bag-lady image. I could accessorise with a bottle of meths and a wheeled shopping trolley full of cats. Actually, the baggage restrictions being what they are at the moment I will probably end up boarding the plane wearing only my pants and a big smile, so that the airport security staff can satisfy themselves that I am not in possession of any banned substances.

6. pleite - January 10, 2007

Take the train! Take the train! Flying from or within the UK has become a fearsome pain. Is the Edinburgh-London train speedy? I’ve only ever trained to Glasgow, which then seemed like forever – what is it? Five hours? – but train journeys in Russia soon put that into perspective.

Is there going to be a live band and a dancefloor? And a buffet? And are you all going to introduce yourselves by your blogging names and not destroy the mystery?

7. Marsha Klein - January 10, 2007

Ah, I would take the train if I wasn’t so skint. I love train travel (even on rubbish British trains). To add insult to injury, I’m flying Ryanair (because it’s cheapest) which resembles travelling in an airborne cattle-truck – it makes SleazyJet’s “no-frills” approach look luxurious.

I’ve just realised I’ve no real idea of the format for the afternoon/evening. I do know there’s going to be an auction of GW-related memorabilia (sp?) and we will be going by both our blogging and real names. Apart from that, I know very little (so no change there then).

8. pleite - January 10, 2007

Better not reveal any more, in case you break the code of secrecy. Does the show have something specifically to do with blogging or is it just that James blogs? In any case, it should be fun.

Gosh, that’s a shame that the train is so outcheapened by the plane, isn’t it? I fly relatively frequently, and I’ve visisted George Monbiot’s website today, so I know I am going straight to hell (on Ryanair, presumably). Trains are bliss. I may go to Poland in February, and that will be by train, so maybe I’ll be able to snuffle up some environmental brownie points that way.

(Thank you for keeping me company.)

9. Marsha Klein - January 10, 2007

I think we’re all bound for hell, which would be almost bearable if it were not for the fact that it now looks like we’ll have the company of Mr T.Blair for all eternity.

Poland in February – holiday or work trip? Sounds good either way.

Thank you for YOUR company – it’s dark and grey outside, I’ve got a pile of very dull filing to do and I’m in a room on my own. Thank God (or whoever) for blogging and bloggers!

10. pleite - January 10, 2007

I don’t have work trips. I used to, in the past, sometimes to hellish Brussels even, but they used to give me nervous breakdowns and have, thankfully, shrivelled to an end. No, Poland, if it happens, will be fun, with some other Berlin homosexualists.

Can’t you shred the filing?

Oh, you never know, hell might be quite nice, as long as it doesn’t have the same hierarchy as here. But will Blair-and-other-politicians’ eternal damnation be the equivalent of one very long surgery with their constituents?

Pitch here too, and I quite feel like going to bed, but I have to stay awake as I’m planning to imbibe some delicious, pinkening, German queer-beer later.

11. Marsha Klein - January 10, 2007

Hoorah for fun in February, a month which just cries out for you to have fun in it. My sister chose to get married in February because she’d always hated it and wanted a reason to celebrate for ever more.

We don’t have a shredder! Anyway, if I didn’t do the filing, I’d be being paid for reading people’s blogs, surfing the net and answering the occasional ‘phone call. Actually, come to think about it…

Hell has always seemed to me to be infinitely preferable to Heaven. Even the presence of politicians wouldn’t convince me otherwise.

Please say if I’m stopping you from getting on with stuff.

12. pleite - January 10, 2007

Stuff! Ha! I have nothing to get on with at all but waiting to go out. I’ve already eaten 100 times today and don’t have a deadline to meet. I could probably create some practical task or other; maybe I could spill the contents of the ashtray on the floor and then sweep them up. And then do that again. But, no, today I shall content myself with blogging and drinking, which I think are awfully good pastimes. Blogging is a force for good. I’m convinced of it. I hope you’ll be tempted back into the fold. (Have you saved what you deleted?)

I like the sound of your job. Do you want to swap? Mind you, I’d be a hopeless mother.

I think I don’t mind February. January’s horribler, for me. I always do horribly little work in January, which makes me skint in March, which makes me depressed till May, which makes me panic till July, and then it’s almost winter again. And so on. I think I need to sell an internal organ or two.

If my job in hell is to push the rock up that hill, then at least I suppose I’ll get fit. Will be even more boring than translation, though.

13. Marsha Klein - January 10, 2007

Drinking and blogging (or reading other people’s blogs) are indeed awfully good pastimes – two of my favourites, in fact. I didn’t save what I deleted (mainly because I didn’t know how!) If I do return to blogging it’ll have to be from scratch. I’m still in two minds about whether to do it or not though, partly because I can drone on endlessly (see above) on other’s comments threads, but found it really difficult to write actual posts.

I bet I’d be worse at translation than you would be at mothering, mainly because of not have more than a smattering of any other language. You could do my job and your own and still have time for blogging. God, I’m such a parasite!

Your last comment made me laugh out loud (lol!!!) So we’ve made each other laugh today, if we’ve done nothing else.

14. BiB - January 10, 2007

…and we all know (or ought to) the healthy and restorative effects of laughter. So hurrah. Hopefully I’ll cackle like a drain all evening, and that’ll keep me stocked up in laughter-goodness till my next bout of laughter, god knows when.

Can you write Scots? I’ve got a feeling I’ve seen Scottish websites written in both Scots and English… “Walcome til the Scottish Pairlament wabsite. The Scottish Pairlament is here for tae represent aw Scotland’s folk. We want tae mak siccar that as mony folk as can is able tae find oot aboot whit the Scottish Pairlament dis and whit wey it warks.” That sort of thing. And I like ‘siccar’. Almost Deutsch. You could earn a fortune translating that sort of stuff…

15. Marsha Klein - January 10, 2007

I did do a bit of Scots at university (the course was, rather confusingly, called “Older Scots” as opposed to “Old English” (I’m not sure what happened to “Old Scots” or “Even Older Scots”). Old English and Old(er) Scots are, of course, both quite similar to Old High German (or so I’ve been told), what with them all being Germanic languages. I think I would have found it very useful to have known some German while I was a student.

My problem with things like the Scottish Parliament website is that they’re trying to resurrect a language which hasn’t had a full literary canon for centuries. There isn’t, as far as I’m aware, such a thing as Standard Scots (although there is such a thing as Standard Scottish English!) The whole Scots language thing is hugely political. Some advocates of Scots seem to link the re-introduction of Scots as an offcial language would somehow instantly bring about Scottish independence. Now, I’m not necessarily opposed to such a state of affairs but I’m not sure you can bring it about by the re-introduction of a language. The pro-Scots camp also has more than its fair share of people who’ve learnt Standard English at school and have fairly socially prestigious accents trying to adopt non-standard usage and non-standard pronunciation in order to signify their allegiance to a political cause, which grates a bit to say the least!

Oooh, bit of a rant there – sorry! Could one really earn money translating Scots? Which way round – Scots to English or vice versa?

I have to go home (I just typed “hame”!) now, so enjoy your beer and laughter, m’dear. I may check in later, assuming I can get near a computer!

16. pleite - January 10, 2007

Yes, politicising language is a bit of a minefield, but at least if it was a bottom-up rather than a top-down thing it wouldn’t seem so wank. Is there support for Scots among Scots? I mean, presumably lots of Scots do speak it, after all, or their English has at least got plenty of Scots in it. Or don’t people give a toss, and are perfectly happy to speak whatever they speak and write bog-standard English? Or do folk want to write Pairlament and not Parliament?

Do you think independence is on the cards? Isnee the SNP destinit tae be the biggest pairty in the Pairlament after this year’s elections? And does that mean they can up and call a referendum within ten minutes? Wouldn’t it be exciting if Scotland declared independence in 2007, the 300th anniversary of the union?

I’m not against independence if it’s what Scots want. Although the ripples will/would be interesting. Ramifications galore for Northern Ireland, presumably. And what about for Gordon becoming PM? He must be vaguely shitting himself.

17. Marsha Klein - January 10, 2007

I think it comes down to class, really (oooh, another contentious topic). Broadly speaking the people with the more non-standard accents and vocabularies, who tend to be more “working class” (for want of a better term) and who would seem like obvious candidates to lead any resurgence of Scots, couldn’t give a toss while the more “middle class”, standard-accented lot spend a lot of time agonising over whether Scots is a “purer” expression of their nationality etc etc. As far as writing “Pairlament” instead of “Parliament” goes, spelling standards are such nowadays that there are probably legions of youngsters doing that completely unintentionally! As for the Nats being the biggest party after the Scottish Parliament elections, I’ll wait and see. Voting Labour is so deeply ingrained in the Scottish urban psyche, it’s hard to imagine any other party gaining a majority, although it’s all different under PR, of course. I’m not against independence either, although I’m not sure it’ll happen just yet. 2007 would have a nice symmetry though.

When are you going out?

18. BiB - January 10, 2007

Probably about 10. Us wacky old continentals. Although this wacky continental is actually ready for bed, but hopefully beer will miraculously spruce me up. Oh no, I see myself getting in at 6am carrying a paper-bag with a half-eaten ham and cheese croissant in it…

19. Marsha Klein - January 10, 2007

Well, here’s a thought – can I come drinking with you in spirit? I could just fancy a bit of wacky old continentalism (although in reality I’ll probably be ready for bed by 10 !) Anyway, enjoy!

I’m really going this time – I have to relinquish the computer to No. ! daughter, who’s staring over my shoulder as I type this! Speak to you tomorrow, perhaps?!

20. BiB - January 10, 2007

The Russian and I used to be able to survive on one computer between two, but those days have long since departed. Now we’re both permanently hooked up to separate machines.

If you don’t find me online tomorrow, hungover and rounder than ever, I would be MOST surprised.

21. Arabella - January 12, 2007

Congratulations on your first haircut of 2007 (insert fanfare of choice).
I went to have my fringe trimmed yesterday (entire blogging world performs sharp intake of breath); but when I make an appointment I have to say “I’d like a bit taken off my bangs.” This will never sound right to me.

22. pleite - January 12, 2007

Arabella, hello! Are you well? I’m trying to work out what time it must be in Austin, Texas, and thinking you’re up very early indeed or – you crazy thing, you – haven’t gone to bed yet. In which case, “Go to bed!”

The haircutting problem for me is purely linguistic. I cringe in England too, but only because I’m not brave enough to tell them what I want, but here it’s fear they’ll engage me in conversation. In France, I always got pals to cut my hair and in Russia – when pals weren’t doing it – I was made to feel on a moral par with a pimp by offering a tip. I’ve never seen such an expression of horror. My one and only haircut in New Zealand taught me the world is small. The gent moaned about asylum-seekers.

23. Arabella - January 12, 2007

I was out honky-tonking last night and up at 6:30 this morning. Still in my dressing gown.
Clumsy Brit in America: Whaaah…tipping. There was no charge for the trim yesterday from my regular hairdresser; now I can do the ’15-30% of total bill’ thing, but how do I tip 15% of nothing? This mortifies me. Don’t know if I insulted her; next time I’ll ask her outright how much she’d like – it’s easier on the emotions.

24. pleite - January 12, 2007

Tipping is another minefield. I was once bollocked in Canada for leaving too small a tip. The shame! (Can’t remember if I then corrected upwards. I was about 2.)

I got up at crack too, but couldn’t have been less productive. I am smoking for England and listening to Danish pop-music. I am a silly, silly boy.

25. Taiga the Fox - January 12, 2007

There is one solution to any kind of haircutting problem: don’t cut your hair. I haven’t for a year. [Yes, I know, how very non-feminine.]
Although now I sometimes sit on my hair and that is a haircutting problem too, I suppose.

26. pleite - January 12, 2007

Taiga, perkele, THAT long! Alas, I have never had long hair. Well, not since I was about 4. My schools would never have allowed young boys to have long hair and I have to confess I’ve never majorly had the inclination to go long lest I be mistaken for an Argentinian football- or tennis-player. But, no, as a more-than-4-year-old, I don’t think I’ve ever had longer than a Hugh Grant. I DO possess one of those shavey things hairdressers use and should be willing to hack away myself in a blind frenzy as I have had the great revelation that it is only the sides and back which REALLY matter. (Perhaps I don’t have enough to worry about.)

27. narrowback - January 12, 2007

yes, tipping is one of the major pitfalls of visiting or assimilation… On my first visit to Berlin several years ago I attempted to follow the american custom of tipping with every drink. I kept having bartenders attempt to tell me that I had left money behind… I finally ran into an american working behind the bar at one of the irish pubs & he explained the local customs with regard to trinkgeld.

28. pleite - January 12, 2007

An English pal of mine has always insisted on going with the English 10% rule when here, which hasn’t mattered when we’ve been to a nice restaurant where hopefully he’s helped make the odd waitress’s day but we ended up once, thanks to tourism legs, in an expensive (for Berlin; of course, as a Londoner, he thought it was all practically free) shithole in Hackescher Markt where the arsey waiter heard us speak English and actually hovered at the end for a massive tip, which my friend duly gave.

29. Marsha Klein - January 12, 2007

Oh God! Hairdressers, tipping and, worst of all, tipping hairdressers! I didn’t even realise, until I started going to my proper “grown-up” hairdresser a couple of years ago, that one tipped hairdressers. I now always tip the woman who cuts my hair, although I have since found out that some people separately tip the apprentice who washes their hair! Oh and stylist etiquette. Once, when my hairdresser was on holiday, I was given an appointment with a (slightly more senior) stylist. When she came to make my next appointment, it was with her and not my usual hairdresser, even although she would have returned from holiday by then! I later cancelled that appointment and went back into the salon to ask if it was OK if I continued to make appointments wih my original hairdresser or if I was now a client of this other stylist. The receptionist stared at me and then enuciated, very slowly: “You-can-make-appointments-with-whoever-you-like”. She clearly thought I was two bricks short of a load! Why does no-one tell you this stuff? Where’s the “Hairdressing Etiquette for Dummies” book? All of the above explains why I usually have the appearance of someone who’s been dragged through a hedge and then slept in a wind tunnel.

30. pleite - January 12, 2007

Wind-tunnel, wind-tunnel… Why am I now thinking of Tom Cruise and what’s-her-face from Top Gun that I think I had to pretend to fancy and that fucking god-awful song – was the group called Berlin? Why the fuck? – that was number 1 in the UK – I was about to write England. Marsha, you have made me Britain-aware (not that I didn’t know the UK existed before, of course) so it will be a shame if Scotland goes and declares independence this year after all – for about 90 years? Or were they just in a concrete tube of some sort and I’m thinking of the enginey bits of planes and am amalgamating that into wind-tunnels?

I had a brief phase of having ‘my’ hairdresser when I was about 15 and thought I was fashionable – I had spiky hair and flat-tops and everything. I couldn’t dance like Vanilla Ice though. (I probably tried) – but just as our relationship was cementing, she started threatening to highlight the foremost wisps of hair and that put paid to that relationship. She’s probably destitute now. Shoulda known when to hold yer tongue, shouldencha?

Have you had a special urdu for tomorrow’s extravaganza?

31. Marsha Klein - January 12, 2007

“Take My Breath Away” was indeed by Berlin and Kelly McGillis was TC’s squeeze. I’ve never actually seen the film though – I’ve always found Tom Cruise eminently resistable.

I haven’t had my hair done for tomorrow, partly because I’m too broke and partly because I’m too craven to admit to the hairdresser that I didn’t actually get hair-straighteners for my Christmas after saying I was definitely going to. Like she’ll even remember! Anyway, as it’s currently blowing a gale outside, I fear it may have been a case of throwing (quite a lot of) good money after bad. At least I’ll have an excuse now for looking scruffy.

Tried hard to think of a witty response to your use of “urdu” but couldn’t.

32. Marsha Klein - January 12, 2007

Oh my God! I’d no sooner typed that last comment when a pop-up appeared inviting me to “Win hair straightening products”! Arrgh, the internet is watching me! Doesn’t it have something better to do?

33. pleite - January 12, 2007

Oh god, you don’t mean this site generates pop-ups, do you? I’ll delete it immediately if so. (Any excuse.)

I can’t think of any other languages which conveniently, when said in a Liverpudlian accent, double up as hair-words. Mind you, there is a city in Russia called Perm’. (If you don’t mind being a non-purist, we can ignore the apostrophe – a so-called soft sign (Russian lesson number 2) – at the end.)

34. Marsha Klein - January 12, 2007

Don’t worry, the pop-ups are generated by our ropey old computer (I never have this problem at work!)

No deleting please! One of us acting like a prima donna and deleting things is enough round here, don’t you think?

35. MountPenguin - January 12, 2007

In Japan there is a town called “Mashike”, which translates literally as “increase hair”; if one was to take the Chinese characters at their face value, they would spell the native Japanese word for “hair replacement therapy”, if there was one, which there isn’t. I like to imagine there is a shrine to which people suffering from baldness pilger; must investigate.

36. MountPenguin - January 12, 2007

Apologies, I think I was thinking in the wrong language there. That last sentence should read “I like to imagine there is a shrine there which people suffering from baldness go on pilgrimages to“.

37. pleite - January 12, 2007

Marsha, I haven’t had a real urge to press delete just yet. It only flits through my mind occasionally when I’m in a very naughty mood. Why did you go for the delete option, if that’s not a majorly rude question?

Penguin, is there a verb to pilger? How marvellous! I suppose I should be grateful that I’m not blessed with baldness. I won’t go as far as hoping for baldness as I’d only find a replacement worry to fill the hairdresser gap.

38. pleite - January 12, 2007

Ha! You answer my question. In the 2077 English dictionary, there will be a note under ‘pilger. vb.’ ‘coined 2007, Mount Penguin, cf. German’.

39. MountPenguin - January 12, 2007

According to my OED (“The New Edition for the 1990s”), “pilgrim” is also a verb, which I suppose is logical but sounds a little strange. One can also be “pilgrimized”.

And for some more useless information, it turns out the characters in the name of the aforementioned Japanese town do actually also spell a word which is used in Japanese hair replacement circles to describe the process of hair replacementing, though it seems to be a relatively new coinage because I can only find references online and not in any of my dictionaries.

40. Marsha Klein - January 12, 2007

I deleted m’blog because I convinced myself that someone I’d mentioned obliquely in my misery post (and who I knew read the blog) had taken offence at stuff I’d said. Later on I decided I’d probably been wrong (about offence being taken, at least I hope so) but by then it was too late and I hadn’t thought to save anything. I haven’t ruled out having another go – I’m hoping to come back all inspired by the bloggers I’ll be meeting tomorrow (although I may come back even more paranoid than I already am – both outcomes are possible)

41. Arabella - January 12, 2007

I have a vision of Taiga in the icy white room of a tower, sitting on her hair. Very Bros. Grimm and lovely. Sigh, I’d like to have long hair again but you know – age and gravity etc.

42. pleite - January 12, 2007

Penguin, aber who or what gets the pilgrimising done to it? Is it the pilgrim who has pilgrimmed so much that he has become sort of institutionalised? You know, Santiago de Compostela this month, Fatima the next, and he’s become a walking pilgrim-zombie, or is it the place itself? Has Lourdes been pilgrimised by Bernadette’s visions?

Marsha, that’s a shame. Has the potential offendee intimated either way? I liked your misery post, of course, but that’s because I’m a maudlin old soul. Hopefully tomorrow’s encounter will spur you on. How many folk are expected?

Arabella, but isn’t gravity a good thing if you want to have long hair? You know, rather than it being Marge-like, it flops nicely down? Or is that not a good thing? And yes, I can see Taiga in that room too, getting all mystic and Nordic on us, probably chanting imprecations from the Kalevala in an airy voice, if the Kalevala has any imprecations, and making pretty things out of flowers. And playing a harp.

43. MountPenguin - January 12, 2007

I am afraid my OED is discretely silent on the context of pilgrimizing. I do however imagine it being used in sentences such as “Young Jasper was frequently pilgrimized by the Catholic priests at boarding school, you know, and gets a nervous tick whenever anyone mentions Lourdes“.

44. Marsha Klein - January 12, 2007

Mount Penguin, I like your contextualising of “pilgrimize” esp. as Mr K is a (extremely) lapsed Catholic!

BiB, I think (hope?) that the offence was all in my mind (God knows, there’s little else in there!)

I think we should be 80-strong tomorrow. Not all the assembled company are bloggers, but all inhabit cyberspace in some shape or form.

45. Taiga the Fox - January 12, 2007

Blimey! Now I think I have to sit alone in my icy tower and never show the real me to any of you.
You could be vastly disappointed if you’d found me lumberjacking naked on the streets, mumbling drunken monosyllabic spells.
But I would sit on my hair in that case too.

I’d really much like to join your company tomorrow, Marsha, but you know, I’m sitting here in my tower. [deep sigh]

46. Arabella - January 12, 2007

That sounds like a cue to “Let down your hair, Rapunzel!”
Why on earth do I seem to be occupying a fairy tale realm today? Better slink off and do some houswork.

47. Marsha Klein - January 12, 2007

Taiga – It would be lovely if you could – especially as my older daughter has decided she wants to learn Finnish (!!!!) I’m sure James and Patroclus would like to see you too.

Arabella – There are worse places to be! As you’re living in a fairytale today, surely you can enlist some friendly forest creatures to do your housework?

BiB – Sorry to hi-jack your comments thread. I’m going to bed now, as I’ll be up again at 4-4.30am to drive to the airport for my big adventure.

48. Melissa - January 13, 2007

Unless I wear my contacts to a hair appointment, I’m blessedly blind once the glasses are removed and the hair-cutting commences. I try to remember to wear the glasses because there are always cute 20-somethings in the chairs and I end up feeling somewhat bloated and old if I look around and do a bit of comparison.

49. narrowback - January 13, 2007

I’ve had the same woman cutting my hair for the past 12 years and she knows I’m as blind as a bat w/o the glasses…yet everytime she finishes she whips out the mirror behind the head and asks…”So, are you happy?” Luckily my preferred cut is close to completely cropped so there’s not much to check out…

50. pleite - January 13, 2007

Narrowback, good tactic. Occasionally I think it would be nice to have hair flowing down my back, à la Rapunzel/Taiga, but short is beautifully manageable. And I am the exact opposite of Samson. The more hair I have, the less manly I feel. Call me traditional if you will.

Melissa, hello! One of the pleasant(ish) by-products of getting on in years, i.e. not being a 20-something anymore, is that all those young folk are more noticeably handsome so any walk down the street is likely to be pulsating with totty. I sometimes allow my gaze to tarry wistfully on a healthy 22-year-old with nice skin and glowing with health… but I’d probably still fancy his dad more.

Marsha, there are no limitations in the comments box. One beauty of blogging. Please feel free to free-associate straight into it. Mainline your thoughts into that box. My box is your box. Anyway, as today’s event is blogger-/cybernaut-heavy, I expect you to give me a virtual running commentary throughout. (OK, you can have the odd break to swig champagne and eat vol-au-vents.)

Arabella, sod the housework. Anyway, you’ve only just moved in so it surely won’t need a bit of a sweep and rub round with a cloth for another few months at least. I don’t know what the landscape around Austin is. Because it’s Texas, I imagine arid. But maybe not. If there’s a forest within ambling distance, go and commune with some nymphs and imps and other fantastic creatures. (Does Texas do winter?)

Taiga, we need our illusions. Please fit our fairy-taley image. I think you should also be dressed in a long white robe – barefoot of course – and once you’ve made those pretty things out of flowers, you’d probably better tuck a few of them behind your ear and at various locations around your rich locks. But you are allowed to, between flower-threading sessions, throw nuts from your tower to your trusty Laika who will howl balefully until you relent, let down your hair, and she scrambles doggily up and jumps into your arms and you all live happily ever after. Phew!

Penguin, I whipped my dic out and pilgrimise was defined, curtly, as ‘to play the pilgrim’, which vaguely leaves me none the wiser, I have to say. There was also ‘pilgrimager’, which is pejorative for pilgrim and all sorts of other derivatives. Damn, I haven’t got access to anyone who went to a Catholic boarding school. My nephew started clamouring at one point that he wanted to go to Ampleforth or Stonyhurst. (Are they the Catholic ones?) I think his mum told him to shut up. And he did. And is now in the same (non-)boarding school that I went to, in spite of all my protestations. Poor sod. Though he likes it, allegedly.

51. bowleserised - January 13, 2007

Taiga – sounds like you’re achieving the fabled “benign neglect” that us members of the Long Hair Community (http://www.longhaircommunity.com) aspire to. (sez Bowleserised, who is obsessed with her hair, and you know that rule about a watched kettle not boiling? Also true of hair and hair growth…)

52. pleite - January 13, 2007

B., naturally I thought of you when Taiga mentioned her sit-on-able hair. Whereas you may envy Taiga her locks, I envy her her ability to speak Finnish, even if she does have a bit of an unfair advantage over me, being a Finn ‘n all. Aber trotzdem. So, Taiga, if you could come down from your ivory tower for just a sec, tips on how to be long-haired and Finnish are keenly awaited in Berlin (and perhaps elsewhere, even, who knows?).

53. Taiga the Fox - January 13, 2007

Oh dear, that was some really effortful voyage. Why do they build such slippery and tall towers? BiB, I can assure you I am fairy-taley enough. I might some day tell you what part of me exactly.
Well, if you envy my ability of Finnish speaking, I must say it really is the one and only language I really can speak. I just wish one day I could write at least one decent sentence in English. Practice could help, but I seem to be too busy growing hair and hazelnuts.

Tip 1. how to be Finnish? Well, you have to marry one, I suppose. Finns tend to love Englishmen, so you probably would end up being a football coach or a comedy writer.
Tip 2. how to be long-haired? Don’t watch kettles, be busy, forget hairdresser appointments, fear scissors, let it grow.
[vanishes towards the Long Hair Community]

54. bowleserised - January 14, 2007

Yes, come and play at LHC! It’s a tremendously friendly and nice place. If you can sit on your hair, it’s what’s called “Classic” length (though the teenagers at LHC just tried to have that redesignated as “fart” length). There are a few Finns who are members too!

I’ve vowed not to cut my hair till May, though it’ll need tidying by then. I’m called “Kuchen” on the board, so if you want to marvel at the very shortness of my hair (I’m still shooting for “bra strap length” which is the first “long” length) you can find a fascinating photo of the back of my head.

55. MountPenguin - January 14, 2007

Oooh, all this talk of haircuts inspired me to get mine shortened (it’s been a long time, come to think of it, and given another month or so it would start looking like a baby vokuhila, or “mullet“) and I even managed to get the one lady in the whole of the Western world who can translate my description of what I would like done into something that actually looks like I would want done.

56. BiB - January 14, 2007

Penguin, damn misleading mental images. I didn’t see you with a pre-baby-Vokuhila. I imagined you very short – your hair, I mean – but that was only because I saw an Engländer with short hair wheeling a pram not long ago talking to his progeny in English and assumed, NATURALLY, that it was you. Didn’t approach (the potential) you though. Anyway, it was ages ago, and hair does grow, after all.

B., I dashed to the LHC to get a look at the back of your head, seeing if it would match my mental image – I repeat, NOTHING AT ALL like Myra – but was dashed by a) needing to log in and b) remembering that I know you. Though, truth be told, if you committed a big crime, like holding up an Imbiss here, and I had to give the police a description of the back of your head, do you know I’m not sure I could… So please don’t hold up an Imbiss.

Taiga, I don’t think I would do much good for Finnish football. I’d probably just shout, “Run, boys, run,” and look at the players and bemoan my fate, again, at not being born a footballer’s wife. Although I’d hate to be Becks’s wife… But could cope with being called Posh, probably… And don’t be a naughty fairy. Your English is uskomatonta. (Probably not the right form, but that word is too rhythmically perfect to be declined correctly.) (It means ‘unbelievable’, (incidentally the only word in Beckham’s vocab) by the way, wannabe Finns.)

57. MountPenguin - January 14, 2007

No, had a good look round, definitely don’t have any progeny, unless you count the cat, which I wouldn’t be wheeling about in a pram, probably. And here’s a question which has has been bothering me for some time: why do cats not need to have their hair cut? (I’m talking about normal cats, not the ones with deep fluffy hair which look like they had their faces punched in at birth).

58. pleite - January 14, 2007

Penguin, it must be some clever twist to evolution. Their hair grows just so. But is it hair, quite? Isn’t it fur? Which is probably something else. And must be one-size-fits-all and doesn’t shrink in the wash or lose its shape.

But didn’t you mention having a Mister Men collection? Or was that Wyndham?

59. MountPenguin - January 14, 2007

I don’t recall ever mentioning it, but the Penguin household certainly does (or did, haven’t seen them recently) contain a small selection of Mr. Men books, bought by ones mother in the somewhat optimistic assumption that Mrs. Penguin would delight in reading them and improve her English, and that they would come in handy should any little Penguins be hatched.

60. BiB - January 14, 2007

A double-edged present. Good thinking, Mrs. Penguin senior. Does (your) Mrs. Penguin now speak perfect Hargreavesian English and think English children are exposed to too many extremes?

61. MountPenguin - January 14, 2007

Don’t think she’s ever really read them. Her English is primarily influenced by Fawlty Towers, though largely dormant through lack of use.

62. pleite - January 14, 2007

Her English sounds as if it could have a good comic effect of its own. Japanese-tinged Fawlty-Towers-speak might be marvellous!

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