Sunday, 30 March 2008

Could they cut it?

Yesterday I did a brave thing. I went to a German hairdresser's shop for the first time. I have lived in Germany for 16 months and managed to avoid the experience until now.

I had been getting by with trims from an American hairdresser I know here. Last month she broke the news that she has decided not to do hair anymore. There was nothing for it but to visit a native snipper.

Now, fortunately I have a very wised up German female friend who has a well maintained head of hair. So I asked where she had it done and that is where I went.

I was relieved when I walked into the salon because all the stylists had good hair. It was clearly not a place used to doing bright red rinses (a favourite barnet choice for the slightly older German lady) or mullets (a style that can still be spotted from time to time around these parts). I immediately felt more at ease.

The experience was all very familiar and yet slightly out of the ordinary. The process was the same: consultation, hair washing, cutting, drying, then straightening.

The language barrier was obviously the major difference for me. My stylist did not have much English and I did not have much German, so we had to use one of the other stylists as interpreter to discuss the finer points of snippage. I became slightly nervous that my requirements might be lost in translation. I held my breath when the stylist starting chopping.

Once the process was in full swing there was no possibility of small talk - I found it a bit unnerving to have someone in my personal space but for there to be no chit chat. When I am in England I always book in a haircut with a hairdresser I have used for about ten years. We've done a lot of gossiping in that time, so we have an easy familiarity.

Just one other unusual thing - to save money customers can opt to dry their own hair, using the hairdryers in the salon. This is something I have never seen in England. Now, the only time my hair is ever straight and smooth is when I visit the hairdresser so there is no way I would forego this joy for the sake of saving a few Euros. However, the Germans are known for being very careful with their money.

Anyway, I won't keep you in suspense any longer - the haircut was a success. My 'do' is really neat and shiny. I am still enjoying swishing my mane around today. It is a shame that over the last day it has absorbed lots of cooking smells, but at least it is glamourous if you don't get too close.

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