The Chinese don't have a Year of the Yak but, if they did they would surely devote it to hairdressers.
I braved the salon early this morning in the vain hope that the hairdressers woudn't have oiled their jaws with coffee at such an hour.
My good intentions were in tatters within 10 seconds. That's how long it took for my least favorite sylist to catch my eye and to lure me across the room to her tatty torture chair.
No sooner had I recovered after a close to strangulation encounter with the black gown she had clingwrapped round my neck, than she was subjecting me to a barrage of questions about Thanksgiving, her matronly hams fiddling with various razors and bottles by the mirror.
I desperately played for time, talking slowly and mumbling something about recalling a turkey. The subtle hint that I was at Supercuts for a haircut as opposed to a cross examination was left to dy up on the cutting room floor.
My hairdresser continued into a spiel about how she didn't want to get up at the "arse crack of dawn" to visit her father on Christmas day but perhaps he wouldn't force her to do breakfast because her sister had moved to Georgia and they were close before, but nobody had liked his first wife but now they were divorced the situation was better and perhaps they would do breakfast and perhaps they wouldn't and did I want the back of my hair flattened off or rounded?
She had to repeat the last bit because I was flatlining.
In such situations I tend to be polite but monosyllabic. Maybe I have been beaten into submission by hairdressers. Back in the UK they'd always go on about their holidays but here in the US nobody has holidays so they talk about turkey and how oyster dressing makes them flatulent.
The only hairdresser I have ever had who hasn't submitted me to a verbal ordeal was a taciturn Russian woman I went to in Ilford who was more likely to cut my ear off than talk it off.
But unless I stand up to hairdressers soon I am going to snap because the alternative will be ending up resembling a montage of all of the early Jackson 5 because I'll be too rattled to ever get my hair cut.
Maybe I should have blurted out: "I'm sorry. I thought I came here for a haircut rather than a monologue on your dire and dysfunctional Christmas arrangements."
But knowing me I'll just continue to nod my head and run for the door as soon as she puts down her yakkety scissors.