Number 1 – The hairdresser’s husband.
And yes, they have see the charming French film and yes, they would, if they knew any one was writing about them, get the almost filmic reference in the title.
He is the hairdressers husband, happy to accept this label,not threatened when people don’t know his name, comfortable enough in his skin for his absent identity not to be an issue.
As it happens, he’s a teacher. In a secondary school. A teacher of humanities, which to his ears is a great improvement than being a teacher of geography.
Which is what he really is.
Their house is one of the nicest on the street, three storeys, extended kitchen, hallway and lots of carefully restored period bits and bobs.
The hairdresser gets bored with colour quickly, likes to redecorate every couple of years, stay on trend, update with quirky accessories.
The hairdressers husband is beginning to find all this change, the constant painting and stripping and waxing and shopping just a little exhausting.
He hasn’t mentioned the niggle in his left knee, the way his shoulder aches at night,keeps him awake, makes him grumpy in the mornings.
The hairdressers husband will be 49 next birthday, she will be 33, so, he doesn’t mention the knee, the fact that the optician has upgraded his prescription twice in the last year, he doesn’t mention that he’s started to read those viagra emails more carefully, has filed away a couple of web addresses that might come in useful.
The hairdressers husband has begun to hate bars which play loud music, bars that serve chips in witty containers, bars which have ironic 1970s wallpaper or 80s black and chrome furniture.
He hates the fact that his history, his own history,the wallpaper his mother hung in their lounge, the madly uncomfortable low slung leather deck chair which he saved up for are not just quirky, vintage,but objects that he has owned,touched, looked at so often that he stopped even seeing them,certainly never expected to see them featured in magazines, displayed as icons, statements of design.
The hairdressers husband does not feel vintage,but he does feel almost 49.
The hairdressers husband also hates;
Men in skinny jeans
Men in Uggs
Men with beards so luxuriant that it seems quite possible that their owners have actually slept for 100 years and woken unshaven after a century.
The hairdressers husband does not hate being 49, but he does hate being 49 whilst the hairdresser is barely 32.
He has rejoined the gym,but this time it’s different, he stays away from the free weights section,avoids the mirrors and discovers that his kindred spirits, his people are not the 30somethings with their buff chests, their tight butts, their extravagant hair dos, instead he hangs out with the slightly older than him women, basks in their covert approving glances, measuring eyes running up and down his body.
The hairdressers husband also hates;
Farmers markets and organic veg boxes, although a box arrives on the doorstep every Friday.
Sometimes when the hairdresser is busy with a wedding or a local fashion shoot, she is a very successful hairdresser, he finds himself in a proper greasy spoon café, ordering fried bread and cheap sausages and streaky, fatty bacon and eating it with a guilty relish.
The hairdressers husband hates festivals and mud and witty wellingtons and bands so horribly knowing, so arch that they seem almost too fay to manage the weight of their guitars.
He has retuned the car stereo to Gold FM and sings along to his favourite tracks on the way to school.
He likes that, the right song can put him in a good mood for the whole day.
He does not hate the hairdresser,he loves the hairdresser, loves her wild enthusiasms, her emotional investment in the lame dog dancers on Strictly.
He loves her energy, even when it leaves him exhausted, physically and mentally drained, but game for anything, giving it his best shot.
He loves her soft, buttery skin, her flat stomach, pert breasts, the tattooed bluebirds on her left shoulder.
He loves to look at her, especially when she doesn’t know that he is looking, best of all when she is sleeping and he, feeling every month of his almost 49 years is awake before the dawn, takes comfort in her body spooning into his.
The hairdressers husband is so full of hate that he is terrified that the hairdresser will find out,that the hate will begin to leak out, pull his features downwards, finish off the job that gravity has begun,make his face become that of his own father.
The hairdressers husband hates this most of all, hates that he is becoming as 49 creeps nearer and nearer, that he is becoming his own father.
He hates and fears that moment , which he knows will come, must come when one day, the hairdresser will look at him and see his own father staring adoringly at her.
He looks at his watch, 4.45, the hairdresser will be home soon,an explosion of bags and flowers and still talking on her phone, but stopping for long enough to blow him a kiss, pull a silly face, leave a trail of shoes and coat and scarf and oversized earrings from the front door to the kettle.
The hairdressers husband smiles, fights back the wave of hatred which threatens to engulf him and reminds himself that he is still only 48, only 48.