Saturday, February 09, 2008

Shiny Happy People

I got my hair cut yesterday at a salon called Happy Hairy People.

One of the goofy things about being an English-speaker almost anywhere I've ever traveled is that our language is used in ways that are technically correct but make me snicker. I'm sure the Germans felt the same way when Kennedy said he was a donut. They knew he didn't mean he was an apple cruller, and technically his vocabulary wasn't totally incorrect, but it just made him seem so NOT German. (Incidentally, the more common German name for 'donut' is 'Krapfen.' Heh.) And while calling my hairdresser Happy and Hairy wasn't a complete falsehood (she was in a decent mood from what I could tell and did have a nice mane), placing that label on her was definitely not the act of a native English speaker, not even one who is a huge R.E.M fan.

Besides the dorky name, this salon was one of those walk-in places, where you just get who you get and you hope they didn't wander in from the dog-grooming salon across the street. The last time I got a haircut in one of these places, I was in college and it was the end of the semester and I was afraid that if I went home looking Ted Kaczynski's girlfriend, my parents might figure out that I'd spent all my money on the new shoes that I bought during week two of school, and not on personal grooming. So I paid fifteen bucks to some girl who took two hours to cut my hair but thankfully did not send me out the door with a Culture Club haircut (it was still the eighties, after all).

But getting a haircut is one of the many things I avoid these days, because it involves speaking German on the phone, trying to negotiate a specific time and date, and coming up with a babysitter. I am totally inept at all three tasks, so I've been walking around like the Shaggy D.A. (Yes I grew up in the 1970's, and I know half of you weren't born yet when that movie came out but go ahead and IMDB it. I'll wait.) I've been finding my long brown hairs in the strangest places, including but not limited to inside Theo's diaper, under the keys in my computer keyboard, and between the pages of books I haven't read for a few weeks. You may commence being grossed out now. I couldn't stand myself anymore.

And that is why I found myself in a poorly-named hair salon on a Saturday afternoon, trying to mime "not too short" and "some layers, but not like that girl in the next chair who looks like Boy George" (apparently the eighties are back in the hair salons of Bavaria). The haircut turned out just fine, after I got home and brushed out the hairspray and teased-out snarls that I can only imagine made me look like Tammy Faye. I'm not exactly sure because I refused to look in the mirror after she styled my hair - I could only tell it was huge by my shadow on the sidewalk which looked like a giant spear (where my body = straight line and my hair = enormous pointy triangle).

Maybe I was supposed to be the Happy Hairy Person, not the hairdresser.

10 comments:

Gardner said...

So, how do you say "with some layers" in German? I need that when I talk about my daughters' hair to our German neighbors and friends.

Happy Hairing today?!?!

Brian said...

Getting my hair cut HERE is a point of contention (quiet, Abby!). I can't even begin to think about have to battle it out in a foreign language...Good on you.

daniela said...

how can you leave us without photographic evidence? you need to give us the opportunity to be all "ooh... ahhh... you're still so pretty."

britten said...

I remember my first Italian haircut, where I showed the guy a picture, he shouted "NO!" and immediately started pulling an Edward Scissorhands (he had scissors in both hands!). It turned out surprisngly okay, but I never did learn how to say "layers" in Italian. You crack me up!

Nicole said...

Have to say I never got brave enough to go native on the haircuts in Prague. I found the "expat" stylist (South African, in point of fact) and went there from the moment when I could no longer stand my overgrown hair. Expensive but worth it. Hey, if you want to take a 4-hour train ride to get your hair done in Prague, let me know. I'd recommend him highly. :)

chadm said...

Ya, whats up with giving us the heisman regarding pictures? We get the highlights (pun intended)of a German haircut gone bad and no pictures? I was hoping for some sort of Charlie's Angels retrospective. What a jip.

DBunny said...

LOL, me too. I hate the idea of getting a haircut here because my German is so bad, how will explain what I want? I got a cut in the US in November. I suppose doing that once every 2 years won't be enough, huh? Darn. (There's a place close to us called "CrAzY Hair!" Eeek.

Chantelle said...

I actually started invented good ways to cut my own hair. My German isn't bad, but appropriate hair vocabulary is out of my league.
I keep picturing these big smiley giant ogre type people with huge hair scissors and it is making me giggle.

Blythe said...

Apparently there is a severe hair vocabulary void in German-as-a-second-language courses around the world. I still have no idea how to say "layers." I just pointed and mimed and finally got a photo out of one of their magazines as a visual aid. (Chantelle, aren't you going to teach German? And even you don't know how to talk about this subject correctly? I am relying on you to figure it out and help the next generation of German students with their follicular needs.)

Martina RoƟmann said...

Layers are "Stufen", and layered is "stufig". So with a bit of layers would be "mit etwas Stufen/bitte etwas stufig" while thoroughly layered would be "richtig stufig/ganz durchgestuft".

Of course it helps if you know the rest of the vocab when they then ask another question to clarify :-)