I think I must have missed a memo. Twice this week old ladies who I do not know have grabbed my hair in public. Is this a thing that we’re doing now? Because I’m not really okay with it.
The second incident happened today as I was walking past St. Paul’s Cathedral. I became aware of someone walking awkwardly close to me so I upped my pace in a bid to regain my personal space and avoid being mugged. That was when she struck. It wasn’t some menacing would-be mugger following me, it was a little old lady with a twinset and a blue rinse. To be fair to her she was being complimentary, but the effect of her “Ooh, your hair is lovely!” was destroyed by the vice like grip on the end of it as I tried to move away. It’s nice that she liked my hair, it’s just a shame she liked it so much she wanted to keep it and give me whiplash in the process.
Ordinarily I would have added her to my list of London weirdos (see Things I have learned about London.), but this was the second pensioner hair-pull of the week, and the first one happened in Liverpool the day before I moved here. Clearly the conspiracy is national.
The first incident was actually more traumatic, because I was trapped with the offending old lady. My day wasn’t going very well already – I’d popped to the bank to pay in an American cheque and been bullied into seeing an advisor to ‘upgrade’ my account.* As I sat in the waiting area with another victim, an elderly couple came into the bank. He pottered off to queue for a teller and she took the seat between me and the other girl “for a little sit down”. I had my back to her, not because I was being rude but because I was watching the officious meeter and greeter who was holding my card hostage in case I saw an opportunity to get it back and get on with my life. Out of nowhere, the little old lady grabbed a bunch of my hair, yanked it and announced to nobody in particular, “I bet this keeps her warm when it’s chilly!”. As if that were not socially unacceptable enough, she then kept hold of my hair as we sat in awkward silence. I have never been so glad to see a meeter and greeter as I was a few minutes later.
So, my message to the female pensioners of Great Britain is a simple one: stop it. Seriously. It’s not socially acceptable behaviour and it’s making me feel really paranoid.
*Side note: I use the term ‘upgrade’ in the loosest possible sense. The consequence of my hour in the bank has left me with absolutely no difference to my service other than the fact that I am now unable to use my account until they send me a new card.