Fringe benefits

Frank Martino (third right) at the opening of the Crown Affair.
Frank Martino (third right) at the opening of the Crown Affair.
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TRISH TAKES FIVE: By award-winning blogger Trish Burgess

“Have you been anywhere nice on holiday?” Standard hairdresser-speak but a phrase for which my own coiffeur has no need as he’s usually already glanced at this column so knows exactly what I’ve been up to.

I’ve known Frank Martino since I first moved to this area in 1988. He was a cheeky, fun, curly-haired youngster at Image International and, via many years at his salon, Chambers, which he owned with Rick Denton, I have followed him to Crown Affair Hair and Beauty, in Hall Place, Spalding. He’s still cheeky and fun but I’ve no idea where the curly hair went.

In fact the whole family have been loyal to the Martino/Denton team. Rory was most put out when he had to eventually find an alternative salon while he’s away at univeristy.

There’s something comforting about having your hair cut by someone you like and trust. We know each other well: we’ve congratulated each other on our marriages and children being born and also shared words of comfort during family bereavements. We only see each other for an hour every couple of months, and mostly through a mirror, but I always look forward to catching up.

Over the years I admit I have occasionally left him for another man: I’ve dallied with Denis and Rick who have always done a tremendous job tackling my tresses. But, after a while, I am drawn back to Frank, if only to catch up on the gossip.

I sometimes bring in photos of women with glossy manes and ask if my hair can look just the same. Frank knows me well enough to gently encourage me in another direction as he knows the limitations of my locks.

For over a quarter of a century my hair has been permed, chopped, left to grow, had layers put in, dyed red, streaked blonde, sprayed, scrunched and blow-dried. And more often than not, it’s been Frank standing behind me every step of the way.

Last week I scrolled though pictures on my phone showing the latest styles on my wish list. Frank didn’t laugh at me but did suggest we could start ditching the fringe so we can work towards something a bit different.

Trusting in his handiwork, I have no clue what he’s doing with the scissors as I’ve taken my glasses off. I sit on a comfy leather chair, in a soft focus fug, sipping a cappuccino as we chat incessantly about our kids, extended families, current affairs, golf (him), AmDram (me) until it’s time for me to put my specs back on for the big reveal.

I mentioned to Frank that I might write a column about my new haircut. He suggested ‘Fringe Benefits’ as a title. Thanks Frank.

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