Jeremy Clarke reports on a lecherous hairdresser who decides to go on the stageby Jeremy Clarke / May 20, 1997 / Leave a comment
Published in May 1997 issue of Prospect Magazine
Every Tuesday fortnight, a mobile hairdresser comes to our residential home and perms the ladies. His business name is Michael Jonathan. His real name is Michael Gubbin. We call him Mike the Hair. He is a bit brutal with the ladies-you can sometimes hear them whimpering when he has their heads in the sink-but he is unbelievably cheap.
Mike the Hair is a fit 50 and has a year-round tan and the type of craggy film star looks that often improve with age. He wears chunky jewellery and tends to dress as if he has just come in from the golf course. In spite of an unconscious repertoire of decidedly camp mannerisms, he likes to leave one with the impression that he is quite the ladies’ man-a bit of a gigolo in fact-and not above comforting those among his more elderly clientele who are both wealthy and sturdy enough to bear his weight. “There’s many a tune played on an old fiddle,” he says to me gnomically.
For Christmas, Mike usually goes to Thailand; and when he gets back he brings me up to date with the more innovatory techniques being practised in the massage parlours out there; the approximate ages of the youngest masseuses he came across; the going rates; and so forth. Once he produced a Polaroid snapshot of some poor Thai girl, taken as they sat at a beach bar. The girl was smiling for the camera and Mike looked every inch the proud father. Conscientiously, I said “Phwoor!” for she wasn’t bad looking. It was the kind of approbation Mike was waiting to hear; but it was a heart-rending scene. I am glad to say that I have yet to overhear Mike making improper suggestions to any of our ladies-most of whom are well into their 90s and far too frail to do anything apart from sit slumped in a chair all day long. Anything involving thrusting pelvises would be quite out of the question.
Once he has settled our ladies safely under the dryers, Mike often pops downstairs to the kitchen in order to make suggestive remarks to the cook-or a…