Tuesday, January 29, 2008

In Which I Get Two Cabbage Rolls at 10:00 p.m.

Temperature: -1C
Snow: Negligible. But some of the sidewalks are skating rinks.
Reading: A Spot of Bother. It’s taking me a while to get through this, but I’m really enjoying it.
Number of Requests for Directions on the Street: One so far today. But I knew! And was able to explain. Okay, largely in mime. But I knew!

As part of my Expat Mental Health Maintenance (aka “It’s Cheaper Than Therapy”), the Spouse and I went downstairs on Saturday and made me an appointment at the neighboring salon for color and a cut. As I’ve mentioned in previous blog entries, I went sort of auburn the last few times I had my hair done. And I like it, but because my roots are blonde, it requires more maintenance or I look like I am graying (for all I know I am gray . . . I’ve been coloring it for a few years now. But don’t tell anyone.).

My appointment was for 5:00 p.m., giving me plenty of time before our dinner reservation at Taras Bulba.

The dinner out was a celebration: both the girls scored 10/10 on their respective Russian tests. Skittles identified all the vowels and was lauded for it. “She’s only been here two weeks!” her teacher told the rest of her class. Baboo knew all of the week’s vocabulary. In Cyrillic. I thought some sort of celebration was in order, and they like the Chicken Kiev at this place, which is next to our building.

The salon is neither posh nor high-end. It’s a chain, and it’s very nice, but part of the reason I wanted to go there was that I thought it would be less expensive than one of the places that cater to expats.

So I dutifully appeared at 5:00 with Spouse/Translator. He looked at me and said, “What do you want me to tell her?”

“Well,” I said, “Show her this photo from the summer, and tell her I want to change the color back to something more blonde like this.” I opened a small photo album I brought with me.

“How do you want her to cut it?” he asked.

“I usually tell them to consider the shape of my face and my age and the curliness of my hair and just do what they think works. But leave some bangs because I have to cover the wrinkles on my forehead.”

The Spouse stared at me blankly. “I don’t know how to say that!”

“Oh, c’mon.”

The man can negotiate a contract in Russian. Surely he could improvise here.

I persist, “In Slovakia I would always just say in Slovak ‘I’m an old lady. Please hide old lady thing’ and point at my forehead and then they would laugh . . .”

“STOP!” He cut me off and turned back to the stylist. They spoke at length, and he left.

I did not see him again for FIVE hours.

FIVE HOURS, ladies and gentlemen. Man, she was S L O W. Like molasses in, well, Moscow. I knew I was in trouble when she began one of those foil/color weave procedures and after an hour she had only foil wrapped one row from my crown to the nape of my neck.

Further, I always find sitting in the chair at a hair salon very soporific. I could barely keep my eyes open, and at one point realized I must have dozed off because I twitched violently and snapped my head upright the way you do when you fall asleep on an airplane. Only minus the drooling and snoring. I hope.

Once she rinsed off the weave dye, she came at me with another bowl of color.

As 8:00 approached, I was texting the Spouse, saying “Go ahead. I’ll meet you there.” But by 9:00 I changed that to “Just bring home some cabbage rolls for me, please.”

Skittles, who had a haircut by the same stylist a few weeks ago, said, “You think it’s over, but it never ends. She cuts one hair at a time.”

In the end I did get a natural-looking color and a flattering cut. And two cabbage rolls from Taras Bulba. Oh, but the price? You don’t wanna know. I think they charged me by the hour.


Anonymous said...

The foils/bleach palaver really is tedious isn't it? At least it makes it a bit of an adventure when you have even less idea than usual what's going on!
When I travel I like to have my hair cut (had it cut in Hong Kong once and the hairdresser had about 10 assistants hovering around to hand over instruments, mop brows, bring snacks and so on) and go to supermarkets.
PS I really do think there should be Before and After shots you know. This just isn't cricket.

Luna said...

Get out!! Five hours?? Unbelievable. Guess you'll make your next appointment for early morning.

miamibob said...

This is difficult for me, and I'm fairly sure I'm speaking for most men here, to fathom. But, you say, you have no direct experience, so how could you comment validly? The SBH (my significantly better half) gave me a pedicure/manicure as a Christmas present and got around to dragging me in to her favorite spa/nail parlor/eastern incense-burning temple the other day. So there we sat in the bird-chirping, waterfall-dripping, little cymbal-clinking emporium while various Vietnamese (?) ladies tended to our extremities. The first fifteen minutes was nice. As things dragged into the second hour I began to fully understand that men and women are indeed different species. The impetus for all this? As the SBH says, in real estate I have to have nice looking fingernails. They did look nice for a a whole day until I did some yardwork.

Blah-va neighbor said...

5 hours! Makes the Slovak work ethic look positively Calvinistic! But you must be prekrasna!! :-)

Actually I went once for a facial to a salon in Brookline, Mass. The place was owned by a large Russian lady named Zina. Although Zina was very nice in that sort of loud, forceful way, she then forgot me on the table for an hour. I fell asleep and then awoke to find that I was the last one there. She then discovered me lying there with multiple layers of grease on my face and apologized....oh well. So much for "manana", guess we'll have to change it to "zavtra".


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