I always wanted an Old English Sheepdog because Paul McCartney had one named Martha. It doesn’t get any cooler than being Paul McCartney’s dog, I surmised, except to have a dog just like it.

Mine would have been named Winston Churchill, naturally, because my dog would need a proper English name, and also, I’m a history nerd. Well, be careful what you wish for, because while I never got my Winston Churchill, I am sure starting to resemble an Old English Sheepdog. It’s not as cute as it sounds, I assure you.

I realize they are adorable, fluffy dogs, but the fact that I currently resemble one does not make me feel adorable at all. Admit it. You got a picture of those giant grey and white pups, shaggy hair blowing in the wind, little dark eyes peeking out from behind their fur, and you felt all warm and cozy in your heart. Wonderful. Good for you. Well, this ain’t that. In fact, this is the lowest my self-esteem has been since middle school, when puberty arrived for everyone except me and everyone noticed, especially me (the emotional scars run deep).

None of this long, straggling multi-coloured hair would be a big deal if I were one of those women who could handle some distance between cuts and hair dyes and still look fabulous. I know they exist because I see them in the grocery store, looking like this “no-hair-salon thing” is no big deal. I look at them with curiosity, marveling at how they’ve got it all figured out with pony tails and cute up-dos and funky braids. Not me. I am a 50-something Old English Sheepdog (bitter about the old part) who really needs to see her groomer, er, hairdresser to get an injection of colour, shine and the deep conditioning of emotional support that only my hairdresser provides.

I’ve not seen my hairdresser Emma for four months now. This is the third time we’ve been separated in this pandemic for an extended period of time. I have some serious separation anxiety, which you cannot tell by my face because you cannot even see my face for the hair draped in it.

You may think a hairdresser is simply a casual service provider, but I assure you Emma is one of the longest and most important friendships I’ve had in this town. Not only is she talented and a great listener, she’s as honest as they come. She knows that I will never make myself look as awesome as she does with a flat iron (at least not without significant injury). She also gives sage advice in a tone that suggests I should seriously listen to her, like, “don’t ever let me find out you cut your own bangs,” or “I don’t think you can handle grey hair yet.” See? She knows me. She knows I’m not handling this separation well at all.  She is a miracle worker, and I need a miracle.

Like many small businesses, hair salons and barbershops have been hard hit by this pandemic and I hope these hardworking artists know that we all appreciate them and cannot wait to support them. I have such respect for the work they do, the care they provide and their endurance through these tough times. Tip well, everyone. They are literally working their way back up.

See you soon, Emma. I’ll bring snacks.

WriteOut of Her Mind