Sunday, December 23, 2007

Sundays from Singapore: Getting a Haircut

Actually the salon I ended up using for the remainder of my residency in Singapore.


Who would have thought that even getting a haircut would turn out to be an unusual experience?

Looking like the Bush Woman of Borneo, I decided that it was time to bite the bullet and try a hairstylist. Now, I hate having to test drive a new person. I just want my same person, who knows what I want, and give me the same old cut without trying to persuade me to try something "fresher." So, I approached this upcoming haircut with trepidation, and a bit of kicking and screaming.

Dh had gotten a referral from Larry for a gal just across the street at the mall. Dh had gone, and was most pleased with the experience. So he booked me an appointment. To distract myself from the impending carnage, I dragged a daughter and the shopping cart along to load her up with groceries. We no doubt thrilled the lady at the meat counter when we ordered a "whole" kilo of hamburger for a meatloaf (about 2 pounds) because they just don't eat that much meat here and she must have thought we were feeding the whole block.

Daughter headed off, seriously stooped over since the cart was made for one of the midgets from the Wizard of Oz. I calmed my nerves with a passionfruit slushee. And so I entered the music pulsating, chemical-perfumed den of destruction.

I should have gone here... the local Hagen-Daz ice cream store!

Soon after being seated, a young gal came up bearing a cup of tea. She asked if she could wash my hair. Of course. As I started to rise to follow her to the sink area, she produced a handful of glob and a squeeze bottle of who-knows-what. Without ever leaving my seat, she proceeded to smear the glob around and turned it into the most wonderful foam with the help of whatever was in the squeeze bottle. Since I had to remove my glasses, what followed is a bit fuzzy, literally. The foam grew and grew as she rubbed it around. Then she started to massage my head, temples and neck! For several minutes, she raked my scalp with her fingertips, running them up and down my neck, and loosening my scalp most deliciously. I'm sure that in the process, she was making spiky horns and Dippity-Do waves in my hair for the enjoyment of her coworkers, but I didn't care. I probably would have fallen asleep, if the music was more soothing and less techno.

I was rinsed off, also with massaging, in the sink, toweled dry and returned to my chair, where I proceeded to sag to one side in relaxation. And then the dream started to fade. I was handed some of those ridiculous hairstyling books to peruse, you know, the ones with all the weird styles that nobody not taking copious quantities of mind-altering drugs would wear. I think these are kind of like runway fashion shows where everyone attending applauds wildly for their favorite designer who is showcasing, in public, his most horrifying nightmares in fabric. Nobody wears these monstrosities! So what was I supposed to do with these books. except wince, and occasionally laugh out loud.

At the time, I thought the book maneuver was a stalling tactic, because I had yet to meet the stylist, and to some extent, I was right. Jenny finally appeared and apologized for running behind(behind what I didn't ask.) When she eventually turned her full attention to me, she asked (gasp!), which of those silly hairstyles was the one I wanted! Couldn't she tell that this sophisticated lady would look decidedly uncool in a purple and orange, asymmetrical, wedge cut, with crimped tendrils hanging down like baby dreadlocks? What in my appearance tipped her off that underneath my "I am Woman...I am Tired" tee-shirt and stretch waist shorts, there beat the heart of a tattooed, dope-smoking headbanger? Am I so transparent?

And so began the ritualistic give and take of negotiating with your hairstylist on what you really want and what they think you need. I wanted thinned, layered, and shorter. She said, no, too short already. She accused me (most politely, of course) of trimming my own bangs because there wasn't anything left for her cut. I never! She didn't want to trim anything off of the sides, which by the way, stick out most annoyingly when I sweat, which is all the time! She said, again, that they were too short already. I'm sure she wondered why I was even there in the first place!

Now the good news is, that when she finally got down to the business of actually snipping something, she was the most gentle hair cutter have ever had. This was definitely a "No Doinking Zone." By this I mean that when it was all over, not that much transpired, I didn't feel as if my scalp resembled the dimpled surface of a gold ball. Usually, I have been "doinked" by the comb so many times, my head is dented, and my ears have been torn slightly away from my face. Not here, not this stylist.

So I sat blind and she gentle snipped away at 2 or 3 hairs and then took me back to the sink to rinse. After a flurry of blow-drying, I was presented with a mirror to admire the effect. Without my glasses, the effect was rather pleasant, but when I regained my full vision, I looked like one of the Beatles with a bad toupee. The sides were short, but the top was fuller, and dried so as to fountain out from the crown. Perhaps, Jenny didn't realize that I am taller than she is by a foot, and that I didn't need elevator hair to lift my self-esteem.

We negotiated a bit more, with her trying to explain how much better it will all be after the next cut, when it had grown out a bit more. She said it was so pouffy now, because it was so short. Okay, I might be able to buy that one. She relented a little and slimed the top down with something so secret, they bring out little handfuls at a time from the back room. Whatever! It controlled the worse of the fountain thing.

Feeling already out of my element, I did the only rational thing after I left the salon. I went directly to the department store and bought the biggest ironing board I could find and strolled out with it. Conveniently enough, they were playing "California Girls" by the Beach Boys on the stereo, so I put a little swagger in my step, just to complete the look.



1 comment:

Celticspirit said...

hahahaha! sorry but have to laugh at this one. The way you describe it is hilarious. I remember one of the haircuts I got back in 1979, the feathered Farrah Faucett look. It looked great after all the blow drying and whatever else they did to it, but I myself could never replicate it. My hair was wavy and I didn't have an hour or more a day to get it into that shape.