Friday, February 23, 2007

A Hairy Situation, Part II

...So, I saw a sign in the window of a mid-town salon. The mid-week, mid-day price seemed like a good one, and I needed a hair cut. The price was ten dollars cheaper than their regular cut and blow dry rate listed next to the door, so I went in. They took me right away.

The hairdresser washed my hair in that relaxing, scalp massage kind of way. I closed my eyes with contentment. A little conditioning later, I was seated at her station. The first indication that something was amiss came when she started combing out my hair and applying some sort of product to the roots. I had never gotten a hair cut where they applied product before they applied the scissors. I got nervous.

Next thing I know, she had sectioned off the upper layers and was brandishing a blow dryer. She powered it on and went to work on my thin brown locks. Finally, it clicked. I was paying $30 to get my hitherto perfectly serviceable coif re-blown. There was no haircut involved. The special in the window said "Blow Dry Special." It did not say "Cut and Blow Dry." Idiot! I shouted in silence. Idiot!

Maybe $30 doesn't seem like a lot to some people, but the numbers swam around my head in 72 point font, bolded. I thought of all the things I could get for that amount of money, and all the things I routinely denied myself. The tears welled up in my eyes as I realized the City had gotten the best of me again. I looked down at the magazine in front of me and focused on "Get a Better Body in 30 Days" so that I could think about something other than the urge to cry.

It was too late to tell her I had actually wanted a cut and I was way too embarrassed to let on that I didn't know exactly what I was getting in the first place. It reminded me of being in Germany on my honeymoon, when I ordered something off a menu I could not understand and was told by the waitress--in gestures, not words--that I did not really want to order what I had, in fact, ordered.

"Yes," I told her. "That's what I want." I nodded my head vehemently. I had picked something and I was committed to it. I cared not a whit that I had no idea what would be arriving on my plate.

"Nein," she said.

"Yes," I said.

"Nein," she said.

I stared at her as my face started to droop. My eyes filled up. I relented. "Okay." I pointed at The Partner with a sigh. "I'll have what he's having."

She left with the revised order and my tears overflowed. The Partner stared at me in undisguised amusement and patted my hand. I felt completely out of control. I could not be trusted to order my own meal. I was helpless in a strange land. I sat there with blurred vision and thought that I'd rather eat pig brain with a side of tongue than feel so incapable of making my own decisions.

Back on American soil yesterday, I realized that class can be as much of a barrier as language. None of the salons I ever knew about touted blow dry specials, sans cut, in their front window like it was some kind of big deal, so the concept was completely foreign to me. I should've figured it out, but I didn't. When the hairdresser put down the dryer and removed my black cape, I thanked her and handed her a tip. I trudged out the door into the bleak afternoon with hair that looked no better than if I had stepped out of my own bathroom for free.

The Partner was waiting for me at the hotel. This is the guy who consistently fails to notice any haircut I actually do end up getting. Yesterday in the bar of the Roosevelt, he said "Looks good." I faced him with eyes rolled high in my head beneath sharply raised brows. I slumped in my chair.

"Oh, God. What happened this time?" he asked, that knowing smile already pulling at his lips.

7 comments:

Sarah said...

I was laughing and crying with you on this one, but what I have to say is this...at the end of the story all I could think was - while your marriage and relationship with your husband is probably the opposite of mine in every way possible - I always know that that's okay and you will always be perfect for each other. Love you both!

Mrs. Chicken said...

Oh Binky. I would have done the same thing, I am sure.

I hope your Big City trip had a redeeming ending.

PS - so glad to see you blogging again.

toyfoto said...

I would never in a million years expect pay $30 for shampoo and blow dry. I would have done the exact same thing.

A friend of mine tells a similarly depressing story of being in England and not being allowed to order a black and tan in a bar because it's not a woman's drink. She was never felling more angry and hurt and feeling lower than pond scum in her life. She still hates England.

Kate said...

I feel EXACTLY the same way about that blasted "city" as you do. Do not feel bad. It could happen to any one of us. I'm just glad to hear that there are indeed real live New Englanders who distrust that "envigorating pace" as much as I do.

Mom101 said...

Oh darling - first off all I can sympathize on the Germany story. I remember being in the zurich airport on layover to Paris when I was a kid and ordering the "veufflin" (or something like that) and hoping they were waffles. I think it was fish.

So anyway, where was this $30 blowout? That's a great price for midtown. I'm lucky to pay that in Brooklyn.

;)

Redneck Mommy said...

It would be wrong of me to laugh at your misfortune, right? Only because I have once had the same experience...except I was unable to choke back the tears (I like to think it was because I was pregnant and chock full of hormones, not because I am the big weepy crybaby my husband accuses me of.)

Isn't it just the icing on the cake that the hubs notices your hair on the one day it would validate you if he hadn't.

I try to stay out of the city as much as possible now. I'm just not quick enough for them city slickers....

Chris said...

To be fair, I knew that she had gone to get her hair cut so when she returned, it was obligatory to say "looks good." When I saw her, it did occur to me that the hair did not appear to have been cut. But who am I to understand women's hairstyles? So I said it anyways. Even when I'm right, I'm still wrong.