Friday, September 18, 2009

Bad Hair Day

Yesterday I rounded the corner to visit my favorite stylist, Elmaar, and I saw something no woman should ever have to see. The shop was dark and a letter posted on the door said that Elmaar is officially retired. I stood slack-jawed for a few minutes. A teacher from my school rounded the corner and called "Hallo!" to me. He asked me what was wrong, and I showed him the note. He read it and said "Yeah, looks like he's gone." I started to reply that it wasn't fair, and that Elmaar hadn't even told me he was leaving. He said, "Yeah, but he must've been pretty old, right? The note says he was a hair stylist for 30 years."

I was stunned. I needed time to grieve, but I also really needed a haircut. I poked in a few places that had no appointments available until next week. Just when I had resigned myself to letting it go longer, I saw a friendly looking man sweeping up hair. I paused in front of the glass store front and he waved me in. I told him want I wanted and he took me over to wash my hair-- giving a nice head massage as he did so. We were chatting and he asked me where I was from. I told him the States and he switched to English-- he had family in Boston. I was thinking "this guy seems alright." Then he took the scissors diagonally from the arch of my right eyebrow to my left cheekbone. I was stunned. This was not what I asked for! I started to say something but then he piped up "Who is cutting your hair? Its so uneven!"

He asked me how old I was. I feel that I'm getting to the age when people should stop asking me this. I told him 24. He laughed, and I said, "what you don't believe me?" Normally people tell me I look younger. I was once even carded while buying wine here, and the legal age for beer and wine is 16. He said "Yeah. I think you're probably 30, you know, just from your face." WTF?

Now I am trapped as this maniac slices at my hair. Here's a sentence you never want to hear about 3/4 of the way through a haircut: "Yeah, I don't really like Americans." Lots of people have told me they don't like Bush, or they don't like American tourists, but I've never had someone flat out tell me they don't like every single person from my country.

He finished off my hair and handed me the dryer. (Normally in Germany people blow dry their own hair or pay a bit extra for the stylist to do it) I looked at my bangs. Not only were they diagonal, they were uneven, some long pieces down to my eyebrows and some itty bitty short pieces. I asked him to blow dry my hair, so if the bangs still looked bad after a style he'd do something to fix them. He was trying to give me what looked like a Farrah Fawcett style, and then he said "Yeah, I make you pretty for your husband and when he see you he say 'let's make a baby.'" I stared at him speechlessly. "I make joke. Joke is my friend!" He finished the styling in silence, and then I pointed out the unevenness in my bangs. He cut more, and then more. They were finally evened out, but the bangs on the right start at about 1" now. He smiled as I paid him and he said "Y'all come back now!"

Oh Elmaar, how could you leave me like this?

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