New York, New York
Today, on a whim, I dropped in at a hair salon on Madison Avenue. Unlike London (“we might have an appointment for you in 3 weeks”) this one fitted me in right away.

The hair stylist viewed my distressed tresses disapprovingly. “It’s been a long time since you had your hair cut”, she said. I tried to remember when it was. The last time I could recall was the last time I was in New York, which was… err… 18 months ago. Oh dear.

“Yes, it’s been a while,” I confessed.

“And your colour – look at these roots. It looks like you’ve just dumped bleach on your hair. Has it been out in the sun?” she asked.

“Yes, it has. Well, all kinds of weather, really.”

“Hmmm…” she frowned.

Considerable time and money later, I was considerably better coiffed. But how long will it last?

As she was blow-drying my hair she was suggesting I buy some curlers. “Once you’ve showered and dried your hair”, (I don’t possess a hairdryer – far too time-consuming and environmentally unfriendly) “you can put in some curlers to really give some lift and bounce to your hair – just a few minutes, and it will look so much better”.

It’s easy, as I’m flicking through the glamour mags in the salon, to daydream of an elegant, groomed version of me. But in the real world…. I can scrub up OK when the occasion demands, but only a daily basis, if it takes more than a few minutes, it’s just not going to happen. My hair gets washed frequently (except on the boat, where it gets washed once a month if it’s lucky), brushed occasionally, and blow-dried never. If my hair was an animal, I’d be convicted of neglect amounting to abuse.

But somehow I always seem to have something more exciting to do than curling my hair.

[And here’s a bizarre thought – I wonder how many man-millennia must be expended worldwide every year in hair management – hair being cut, coloured, coiffed, shaved, waxed, plucked, and transplanted. Life would be so much easier if we managed to evolve our hair away altogether. Just think of all the more useful, interesting, life-enhancing things we could do with that time…]

P.S. Today I am off to New Jersey to see Margo Pellegrino, who this summer paddled nearly 2000 miles from Miami to Maine to raise awareness of marine conservation. She and I met up earlier this year, in Washington DC, where she introduced me to David Helvarg of Blue Frontier Campaign – who I now row for. She and I will be going to the Head of the Charles regatta in Boston this weekend – the largest rowing event in North America.

OK, off now to the gym. I’ve arranged to use the New York Sports Club this week. No excuses!

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