There's only one thing I want from a hairdresser and that's a haircut. Not conversation, not opinion, not gossip, not advice and definitely not fashion tips. I'd even forgo the cup of tea if they'd just keep quiet and leave me be. A haircut. It's not too much to ask is it? So what is it about most hairdressers that makes them believe a chat is all part of the service? Is it something taught at hairdresser school? Believe me, I don't want to talk about my holidays, the weather, my birthing experience or how much weight the woman in the next swivel chair has lost. I just want my hair done. Is it me? Am I socially lacking, or are there others out there who, like me, want to curl up and sigh when faced with the hairdresser who wants to talk? It's a question that has plagued me ever since I first ventured into a salon minus my mother with a picture of Charlie's Angels in the 1970s and asked for the Farrah Fawcett Majors cut. In those days of sun streaks and flicks, the opening question I came to dread was: 'Are you going out tonight?' or 'Going on hols this year?' Over the years as the treatments changed from The Diana, to punky spikes, to power-dressing 80s curls and neat 90s bobs, the questions changed too. 'Are you working yet?' and then later: 'Is there anyone special?' Now, in the days of something practical and grey concealing tints, it's: 'When is it due?' (annoyingly three months after I gave birth) and: 'How's the family?' Whatever the question and no matter how much older, more mature and more assertive I've become, I never have the courage to politely curtail those attempts at starting a conversation. Trapped in a chair, bound in towels and faced with a hairdresser armed with scissors and the power to wreak havoc on my appearance, I always smile, nod, answer and even - God forbid - ask mundane questions back. I have over the years devised strategies to try to avoid this torture. I take along a pile of papers and pretend to be working on a project. I bury my head in a three-month-old copy of Cosmopolitan. I've even taken the kids with me. Choosing a salon away from the expat trail is another method. But then lack of conversation often comes hand in hand with a lack of understanding and I leave with a cut not quite what I had in mind. I've thought about taking a little sign to stick on the back of my chair like those that hang on hospital beds on operation day but saying: 'Nil by ear'. And now in a last desperate attempt, I write this column. No offence, dear hairdresser. I'm just not the talkative kind. I want my trip to the salon to be a window of peace and serenity in the busy day of a working mum with four kids. The most annoying thing - well almost - is that I suspect the hairdresser doesn't want to talk either. She/he doesn't care if I'm going out tonight or that I'm off to Greece next week. They just want to cut my hair and move on to the next client. But what takes the biscuit in all this, is that words fail me when it comes to the crunch and the stylist holds a mirror to my head and asks with great expectation: 'Well, what do you think?' I smile, I nod, I run my fingers through my newly coiffured hair with a look of supreme delight and make simpering noises indicating approval. Then I leave in silence and head for the nearest McDonald's toilets where I stick my head under the tap and ruffle my hair.