Monday, August 3, 2009

Chez le Coiffeur

I love how my hair feels after a good haircut. Shiny, silky, light, well-styled. The problem is that I cannot stand going to the stylist. It's not the shampooing/conditioning; THAT is heavenly. It's having to sit in the chair, look at myself in the mirror with wet hair in my face and then CHAT with the stylist about n'importe quoi. I never know what to talk about, so more often than not, I sit there awkwardly and don't say anything.

I imagined that getting my hair cut in France would be an absolute nightmare, not only because of the language barrier but also because of this one dreaded question: "How would you like your hair cut?" Euh....It's a question I can barely answer in English mostly because even though I know when I need a haircut, I'm never quite sure what I want, and the few times I have been sure, the stylist has always said, "No, that's not a good idea." What I really want to be able to say is, "I don't know. What do you think would look good? As long as you don't give me a euro mullet, do whatever you want." Not acceptable here.

To avoid the whole haircutting ordeal, I even got my hair cut pretty short in Madison before coming to France. That way I could avoid getting it cut again for a whole year. Yeah, I'm that bad. But by the end of June my hair was so long, unruly and damaged at the ends that I began wearing it in a ponytail everyday. A sure sign I could no longer put off the visit to the coiffeur.

Gaby and I decided to go together to support each other since he hates going as much as I do. Alas, we went in the evening and the salon only had time to do Gaby's hair. He came out looking all neat and groomed, and there I was, still Captain Cavewoman (or Hippie Hil--take your pick.) I was definitely going as soon as I could. This morning I got up early to go to the one stylist that was open in Poissy on Mondays. Gaby walked with me for encouragement.

The owner and a few stylists greeted us with "Bonjours" and smiles when we walked in. I instantly began to relax. First impressions of salons are a big deal to me. This one seemed very friendly. First the lovely shampoo and conditioner. The lady doing the job wanted to know all about me. She even spoke some English with her charming little accent. Once that was over, the dreaded question from the head stylist: "Do you have an idea of how you want your hair cut?" "A little bit shorter and with some layers." "Très bien. We have some pictures you can look at to help you decide too if you want." In the end, I did look at the pictures and noticed that ALL of them had "some layers." Crap. Which one? They all looked way cool. Happily, the stylist ended up choosing one by saying, "How about something like this?" Perfect. Yes.

And then we chatted a bit while he cut my hair. I had a huge advantage that I hadn't been counting on. Since I was an American in France, he wanted to know all about how I liked France and what I was doing here. It was cool too because the guy apparently goes to New York and Miami three or four times a year and loves going there! So then we talked a little about his impressions of the U.S.

Finally he made the finishing little touches and I was done. My hair looked great, nothing crazy or new, but just what I had wanted. And the coiffeur had been so nice. Yet another case of my having been nervous for no reason. How silly. I walked out with a big smile and my head held high.

On my way back home, some guy yelled out the window of his car, "T'es BELLE!! Oh là là..." I credit my stylist. Oh, the French know how to make a girl feel good.


Marissa said...

hahaha! I love it! now where is your picture?

Hil said...

i tried taking a picture, but it was hard to see the cut very well. :/ and it's not a dramatically different cut--no chopped off hair or anything crazy. well, i'll try again and see if i can't get a better pic. ;)