Saturday, October 27, 2012

Un Peu Classique

I am in a town north of Paris visiting some friends and I had a few hours to kill. Since I needed a haircut, I went to a local salon and waited for an open stylist. She politely asked me what I wanted her to do, and I politely told her that I just wanted a trim. I then showed her (using my téléphone portable) a photo of MYSELF with my hair the exact way that I wanted. She shrugged.

Shrugging is considered a response in French, though I am never exactly sure of its meaning.

She washed my hair, conditioned my hair, and then did something else because she simply wasn't satisfied. That "something else" cost me an additional 12€, so I hope it plated my scalp in gold.

Finally she took me to her cutting chair and began combing my hair with a perfectly French pout on her face. Then she picked up the scissors.

For 20 minutes straight she attacked my head with a ferocity like I have never seen. Hair was flying in every direction. She seemed like a cross between an octopus and Edward Scissor-Hands! Just when I thought she was finished, she picked up the thinning shears and kept at it, fast and furiously. There seemed to be no method to her madness, and I began to wonder if she was even a stylist at all. I contemplated asking to see her license.

Eventually she put down the scissors and picked up a brush and a hairdryer. Again, her technique was aggressive, to say the least. She yanked and tucked and tousled. She applied the hair gel, and (with a flourish) held up a hand mirror to show me the back of my head.

I must have appeared a bit shocked because she finally spoke.

She stated, in no uncertain terms, that my previous style was "un peu classique" (translation: "outdated") and that now my haircut was much more fashionable. "NOW" she announced, "you are pretty."

At last she smiled, triumphant. I think she expected applause.

"And," she added, leaning down, as if letting me in on a secret, "It's very easy to style. You will think of me tomorrow when you fix your hair." She got that right!

Seriously, I cannot ever remember having as little hair on my head as I do at this moment. Let the clamoring for photos begin! I'll post some once I'm over the shock.

In the meantime, I 'm letting yet another lesson in French culture sink in: The stylist chooses the cut, not the client!


  1. Oh what a story! Wow - well, yes please post a picture because I'm sure we could all benefit from learning what is now "pretty". :)

  2. My worst salon experience here involved the stylist repeating, as she smiled grandly, "ça change!"

  3. Wow, I've not had that experience here yet. I've been thinking about going in for a cut, but now I'm reconsidering it. I'm glad I get to see you in a couple days!

  4. Your experience makes me chuckle because my daughter, who lives in a Paris suburb, had a similar experience. Her stylist used thinning shears to give her thick, wavy blonde hair an "update": the current style of flat, sleek, straight hair. That was over 2 years ago, and her hair is still trying to recover from that thinning episode!

  5. Can't wait to see it! Love yah!

  6. You know, every time I get my hair cut (which I really love to do), I think, "How will I ever do this in France/French?!" You've confirmed my fears. But I trust it looks great, despite the major difference between what you wanted and what you have. :)
    Kate Egli

  7. I read this outloud to my coworker- it gave me such a giggle. Dying to see the entire final product the side view on FB was not enough. Love you!