It was inevitable, really. The whole bloody project is her fault, so I shouldn’t have been surprised when, at a party a few weeks ago, The Redhead introduced me to her to friends as, “Blonde. She’s using pony shampoo.”
Having just given another of the hostesses a brief tutorial in how better to care for her rampant tomato plant, it’s unsurprising that I was looked at askance by the chap in front of me, eyeing me for all the world as if I were one of the world’s hippier tree-huggers (for the record: I’m not. I’m really, truly not).
“Right. And is that…”
“Shampoo for horses, yes.”
“And you’re using it on your horse?”
“No. On myself.”
“Ah. That’s what I thought she meant.”
It’s been a couple of months since I embarked upon Project Pony Shampoo, to the amusement of friends; voyeuristic curiosity of more women than care to admit it; and the intense mockery of The Writer.
Early results were promising. A good dollop of the appropriately named Mane ‘n’ Tail produced the best lather I’ve yet seen in grotty London water, and it had a pleasingly clean – and reassuringly unhorsey – fragrance. The conditioner was slightly alarming in its yellowness, but nothing that can’t be overcome once you get used to it. Most importantly, it seemed to produce clean, shiny hair.
Of course, that didn’t stop the ridicule from a highly sceptical TW.
“You’re sleeping outside on hay tonight,” he said as I stood in front of the mirror after the first use, my freshly-washed hair wrapped in the most stylish of towel turbans.
“Horses don’t sleep on hay,” I said, trying not to rise to the bait whilst applying eyeliner, fearing a terribly wiggly outcome. “They eat hay.”
“Don’t care. You’re sleeping on hay. Pegasus.”
Thankfully, that early attempt has since been followed up with some rather wittier repartee from my best beloved.
“My client said my hair looked nice today,” I said when I returned home one night a few weeks into the experiment.
“Well, it does,” TW said, as he stirred supper. He looked up at me. “And so do your hindquarters. Soon you’ll be Best in Show.”
And, one morning as we got ready for work:
TW: “Mmm, your hair smells nice.”
TW: “You're waiting for an equine pun, aren't you? Well I'm done neigh-saying.”
He’s not, of course. But, in the name of science (and long, glossy locks), I’ve ignored the pony-shaped puns and kept going, and am now almost at the end of the bottle. And the continued teasing has become far easier to take now that other people have started to notice that there’s something different.
Because clients, colleagues and friends have all recently remarked that my hair’s been looking shinier, or thicker, or longer. And whilst I remain unconvinced of the ability of pony shampoo to make one’s hair grow faster, I’m persuaded that mine is now simply in much better condition: it’s stronger and healthier and softer, and breaks far less easily, meaning it’s growing longer. I’m a fully-paid up fan, and bottle two is currently on its way.
Of course, not everyone’s as evangelical about pony shampoo as I am.
As we lay in bed one night a week or so ago, TW turned to me: “I love you, you know. You’re my best friend; the love of my life…”
“Oh, that’s lovely, I love you too.”
“…And my noble steed.”