Isn’t language funny? Even as a professional writer of sorts I can get caught out in mix-ups about meanings.

Those of you who know me will know that I’m a proud redhead, but I’m getting to that stage in life where my “crowning glory” (as my mum has always called it) needs a little help. I’d like to put on record that I am not going grey. Us redheads miss that step and go straight to white, which as a not-yet-forty-year-old, is a tad concerning when you’re a little vain.

Nuances – not to be underestimated

Sitting at the hairdresser’s recently I had decided to tweak my colour for the winter, which in my head meant going a little darker. And that’s what I said to my hairdresser. We discussed colours and looked at the usual inch-long samples, agreed what to do and off she went.

Unfortunately the effect wasn’t really what I had hoped for, being much closer to brunette than my normal ginger tones, so I ended up going back to have it re-done. Realising something had been lost in translation I went armed with a Pinterest board of photos which showed the colour I was hoping for.

“Ah,” said my hairdresser. “That’s not darker, that’s richer. Now I know what you mean!”

Lessons from the hairdressing chair

So, even a wordsmith can trip up when it comes to using the right language. As a result, I’ve been reminded of a few things I already knew (and perhaps should have applied on this occasion!)

  • Language is subjective and can be open to interpretation by the audience
  • It’s easy for two people to believe they understand the words, but arrive at totally different conclusions about what’s been agreed
  • Language alone is not the answer, pictures play a huge role in conveying messages and ensuring understanding

I’m richer now!

I’m sure you’ll all be pleased to hear that I’ve been to the hairdresser’s again today and another lot of colour means I am back to my proud ginger self, so I am officially richer. And just in time for Christmas too!

Merry Christmas everyone. I hope 2017 will make you richer too.