I love living overseas. Different culture, food, friends, travel, language….okay maybe the learning language bit is a stretch, but usually I love living cross-culturally.
Until I need a haircut.
When I walk to the door of a salon I can see the looks of excitement or horror (depending on how the stylist feels about his first time cutting a blonde head). Yes, here usually the person who shampoos is a woman and the person cutting is a male. I go in armed with a photo and my best practiced hair cut phrases but I must admit they do me no good. I have lived in Asia for a total of five years….and yet have I had a good haircut.
I had high hopes this week. Two months ago I was sure I had the worst bowl cut ever so how could it be any worse? sigh!
With little dude in tow, I tried a new place a few blocks from campus. Maybe my bad cuts came from always going to the cheap places on campus? It was a theory. What my theory did not take into account….my coping mechanism when it comes to my lack of language skills.
I smile and nod.
It seriously is the worst habit that I have ever ever ever picked up.
I showed the dude the perfect cut I had printed from Pinterest and said, “short in the back leave the front alone.” That is where it gets fuzzy. The shampoo girls were quickly falling in love with my charming son and I was momentarily distracted as I realized that he was scoring fist-fulls of candy.
That is when it happened.
I smiled and nodded.
The next thing I knew a chick was bringing out little rods. I started to sweat and rethink everything I had said from the time I had entered the salon. Those sure look like perm rods to me. Nah….couldn’t be. I didn’t say anything that sounds like “I want a perm.” Wait! What is the word for perm?
“This will make your hair fat in the back.” I smiled but told myself not to nod as the stylist was pointing to the picture I had brought in.
“Oh, no,” I replied. “My hair isn’t exactly like hers. I just want it cut like hers. You know short in the back and longer in the front. Can you cut it short in the back? I want it cut.”
Maybe the more I say “cut” the more they would understand.
“I don’t think she understands.” I hear one of the shampoo girls say to the stylist as she gives my son even more candy. “No, no she understands. Her hair is so flat she needs this.”
I guess my thin limp hair is understood in all cultures and everyone wants to try to help me out. Did I mention that I was sweating by now and I had lost the smile along with the nod? I have had perms in the 90’s and I do not want to go back to those days! Kinky and big in my book isn’t better than straight and limp.
“Ahhh, my son is with me I need to have this done quick. I don’t think I have time for your plan. Could you just cut it short in the back?”
I walked out with straight hair….but it is not short in the back.
Little Man gave it a pat and asked, “What happened?” Even my three year old knows that the bowl cut was better.
The next time you see me – bad hair and all – please show me some grace. I love living overseas but it isn’t easy on my hair. You can comment on it, but I am sure I will only smile and nod. Oh wait, I am trying to break that habit.