I was washing my hands in the toilets at work when Sanjay walked in. He was a young Indian IT technician whom I always found to be upbeat.
“How are you?” he asked from the urinal.
“I’m ok, how’s things?”
He walked over zipping up.
“Marcello, you know what. I really like how you’ve done your hair.”
“Your hair, it looks good. It really suits you.”
I had a slick side-parting, the haircut du jour for all London suits.
“Thank you, you’re very kind.”
“No, really, mate.”
“I’m serious. Thanks.”
The way he said ‘mate’ suggested urgency.
Several days later Sanjay was in my office fixing the computer at a desk opposite. The girl who ordinarily used it was off sick with stress.
There appeared to be a few stages to Sanjay’s work. Periodically, he would lean back whilst something up or downloaded. My other colleague got up to make a cup of tea, leaving Sanjay and I alone. He leaned back:
“What do you use in your hair?”
“Yes, your hair.”
“I can’t remember,” I lied.
“Is it wax, or gel?”
“Wax. It’s wax.”
He was about to say something else when I cut in.
“I’ll bring the stuff in, so you can see.”
He nodded then looked to the door.
“I bet you have the girls lining up,” he said.
He raised his eyebrows, so I added:
I did have them lining up, but like a late night kebab shop, the queue was disorderly, and no one quite knew what they wanted.
The next day I was helping Jen set up for a presentation. She was due to begin in twenty minutes and couldn’t find the list of delegates.
“Jen,” I said, “you’re a pretty stylish lady.”
“Can I ask you a question?”
She didn’t say anything.
“What do you think of my hair?”
She looked down at her laptop; it wasn’t starting up.
“What was that?”
“My hair, Sanjay said…”
“Are you bloody kidding me?”
The door closed as someone went to enter then changed their mind.
I peered at the dead laptop, “it’s just a joke.”