Fringe Benefits? A Story of Survival at a Foreign Hairdressers.

I habitually go a teensy-weensy bit too long between haircuts, a trait which becomes scarily exaggerated while traveling, a time when my ‘do looks shaggier than an English Sheepdogs’s.

When this happens, a trip to a foreign hairdresser is called for – an experience that (if you’re me) is likely to end in tears.

I’ve badly communicated my needs to hairdressers in Italy, Poland and Germany by means of energetic gesturing and sound emitting.  And recently in Chile, where despite speaking the language I was still unable to suggest that I would not like to look like a pile of grass clippings at the end.

I’m starting to think it’s me.

This most recent Chilean “hair cut” reminded me of an afternoon in a Spanish salon where  hunger rendered me tongue-tied and got the better of me…and my hair.

For anyone out there for whom getting your hair cut is not necessarily synonomous with gossip, complimentary coffee and relaxing head rubs; this is for you:

Why low-blood sugar and a haircuts do not go well together

I have a fringe now, something which I haven’t possessed since I was six years old and thought capturing garden snails was a valuable past time.

It all came about in an entirely innocent way, looking in a shop window on my way back from work and being shocked by the haystack on legs looking back at me.  It seemed some serious maintenance was called for – and so without an appointment to benefit me, off I went to the first-in-best-dressed type of salon where you walk in and they attend to you according to arrival time.  After waiting for 45 minutes (sitting beside a mother and watching the haidresser cut her two young boys’ hair in a manner so meticulous as to suggest she was surgically removing a tumor from each) I began to notice that the gnawing in my stomach I’d been trying to ignore was becoming a full-blown hunger fest.  And that I was developing a please-feed-me headache to match.

“Crappity-crap-crap,” I thought, “This can’t be good.”

I get angry when I’m hungry.  Hangry if you will.  I understand that it’s normal for human beings experiencing low blood-sugar moments to become vague or snappy, faint or even bitchy.  I  habitually become all of these things, except that I also lose the ability to think rationally and to respond to potentially dangerous situations in a reasonable manner befitting a woman in full command of her faculties.

Situations such as, looking up to see a Spanish hairdresser wielding scissors and asking “Do you want a fringe?”  and you chirping “Sí!” without a second’s thought, not remembering that when too short, a fringe cut out of your hair has a tendency to become poofier than a blowdried poodle.

“Hmmmm,” I had wanted to respond, “Well, maybe a longerish sort of subtle one.  Like yours.”  She had, you see, a lovely, sweeping number which fell delicately and almost completely across her left eye, leaving a bit of body and bouce on the right side.  It was silky and straight (blowdried, I suspect, within an inch of its life) and gently framed her face as one would hope a non-hysterical fringe would.

I – in my near diabetic sugar-low state of unawareness – noticed each characteristic of her fringe in the second it took me not to respond to her question as I’d hoped I might.  Buoyed by my squeaky little “Sí!” she got to work, leaving me to gaze at her in an imbecilic manner, watching as she parted my hair on the wrong side, before whipper-snippering it into the Brazilian wax of fringes.  The kind that doesn’t sweep at all – gently or otherwise – but rather bunches together in a clump not unreminiscent of the curl/poof/fringe debacle so loved by women in the 80s.  The kind that look like that, or, when swept to the side look as Jaggered as Mick himself, having seemingly been hacked into from the bottom up.

“Like it?”  She asks me.

Low-blood-suger-and-now-quite-painful-headache-Erin doesn’t answer.

“Yeah, you’re right.  Let’s take a bit more off, eh?” Edwina Scissorhands adds already knifing away, apparently not yet happy with her gardening.

And so I left, ten minutes and ten centimetres of fringe-less later, to wander the streets of  Sevilla’s quaint Santa Cruz district, my new look suggesting that I would be more at home in the main plaza with the other hippie hobos: playing a wooden flute and swinging a skinny, gangly cross-bred on a plaited lead.

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4 thoughts on “Fringe Benefits? A Story of Survival at a Foreign Hairdressers.

  1. Haha sorry to hear about your new fringe but the way you tell this story is hilarious! I’ve been there too…got a fringe just before my high school graduation which was a terrible idea, never try out a brand new hairstyle days before a massively important life event!

    1. Definitely not. Ohhh, I have a graduation story too. Only I would fall down a flight of stairs and end up with a swollen nose. Flip side was narrowly missing breaking it, of course!

    1. Ha! Excellent! And yep – agreeing too readily to questions you can only just make out by their slight upward inflection is dangerous indeed. My “va bene, va bene” in Italy was actually me unknowingly agreeing to spend 30 Euros more on additional styling after my odd haircut was done with. Whoops!

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