Molly had made the table reservation for Henry’s birthday, as soon as the restaurants began to open. It was Henry’s favourite place in the Island. Refined, yet not too stuffy, quiet enough to hear yourself talk, but not so quite you could hear a pin drop.
Not hearing a pin drop was one thing, not seeing one was another. Molly was not so fond of the restaurant. Her last meal there, months before lockdown, ended in a trip to the dentist after a nice piece of foie gras turned out to contain a not so nice hairgrip.
“Don’t make a fuss.” Henry had whispered as she extracted the offending object from her mouth. “It’s only a hair grip. It might be one of yours anyway, you’re always losing them.”
The hair grip was certainly not bloody well hers. Anyone with eyes could surely deduce that a brunette would not, could not, possibly wear golden hair grips without looking a total mess.
Molly had fumed her way through dinner, commandeering the rest of the bottle of Chablis to get her through it. Let Mr and Mrs New Clients think she was an alcoholic rather than someone who made a fuss or who lost her own hair grips in a starter.
Henry had apologised in the taxi home. Holding her hand across the backseat and telling her she had been wonderful not to throw her plate at the waiter, although she might just as easily have thrown it at him.
Not Making A Fuss was one of Henry’s trademarks. It was a diluted version of A Stiff Upper Lip, the sort of thing that gets instilled into you from a young age, something to which you adhere to please ‘elders and betters’ until the point you become elder and realise you’re no better.
Molly sometimes wondered what life would be like as a woman who could make a fuss. Surely there were men in the world, although perhaps not many in Jersey, who actively sought out women who made a fuss, and encouraged them to make a fuss.
She eventually concluded it would probably end up being quite hard work being with a husband who expected you to make a fuss, indeed, who might be disappointed if you didn’t. You might even acquire performance anxiety.
Molly suspected a man who liked women who made a fuss would not particularly like a woman who had hair in the wrong places, hair grips or no hair grips, and lockdown was tedious enough without having to spend half of it fiddling around with a pair of tweezers.
It had been months since Molly had been anywhere near a salon. Her hair was in desperate need of TLC while the rest of her grooming wouldn’t pass its MOT. Surely collar and cuffs were supposed to at least grow at the same rate, even if they didn’t end up the same colour?
If she lived in a forest, or somewhere people didn’t do grooming she could co-habit with a badger and a beaver. But this was Jersey. This was the 21st century. She had to tame the beaver and kill the badger, or at least subdue it with copious amounts of hair dye.
Unfortunately, it was easier to get a booking for dinner than an appointment in a salon. Not that many women would want to get their hair taken care of in a restaurant, no matter how good the view.
Now they were just a couple of days off Henry’s birthday dinner, but Molly’s beauty regime was still off schedule. From the uptick in swooshy hair and decent brows in Waitrose Molly knew most women had managed to get their grooming back on track. So why on earth couldn’t she manage it?
She decided to consult Francine, who knew a thing or two about a thing or three.
“Dahling,” Francine had just as good an accent on the phone as in person. “Of course you cannot get an appointment now. Everywhere is fully booked with people who have been calling them incessantly since April.”
“But salons weren’t open in April. We were in total lockdown then.” Molly reminded her.
“Phones still existed. WhatsApp still worked. People still called their salons to share their pain. And buy products.”
“Oh. We got a few bottles of shampoo from the supermarket long before lockdown, in the days of special offers.”
“Hmm. Well, that is the problem. You were self-sufficient then, so no one felt needed, and no-one is prioritising you now. Don’t worry, you’ll get something in another month or two.”
“You mean I should have been bribing the hairdressers to get an appointment? I know some people had been likening the pandemic to a war, but this seems a bit much.”
Francine shrugged. At least it sounded like a shrug on the phone, if a shrug sounded like a giant Hermes silk scarf sliding off one’s shoulders.
“I wouldn’t call it bribing. Just taking care of the people who take care of you.”
“But I’ve got Henry’s birthday dinner on Friday and I look such a mess. What shall I do?”
“Hair grips, Cherie. You are going to Henry’s favourite place, after all. Maybe see how he likes them on his plate. Bon Appetit!”
Join the Island Wives again next Friday.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living, dead or undead, or actual events is purely coincidental.