Dixie Peach: Cut

Cooler than the other side of the pillow.

Thursday, January 26, 2006


I went today to get my hair cut and colored and it reminded me that one of the worst parts of my relocation to Germany was finding a hairdresser.

When I first arrived B and his mom were getting their hair cut regularly by some woman whose name escapes me. Oh, I remember now. Frau Bitch. That must have been her name because that's certainly what she was. She had been my MIL's hairdresser for years and she would come to the apartment to cut their hair. From the first time she saw me she must have thought I was the spawn of Satan judging by the way she treated me. Curt, rude, snappish - she seemed to resent that I wasn't fluent in German three weeks after my arrival and when I'd try to get B to explain to her how I wanted my hair trimmed she seemed annoyed. I was still in my intimidated-by-everything-in-Germany stage so I'd take the treatment as though I deserved it.

The final straw came when I asked her to layer my shoulder length hair and cut my bangs. Instead of wetting my hair she dry cut it and I was unable to see the results until she was done. Instead of trimmed bangs and a few light layers put in, my hair had large chunks randomly cut from it, some cut up as high as my ear and my bangs resembled Mamie Eisenhower's. I didn't say a word while Frau Bitch was there and even tried to convince myself that it wouldn't be so bad once I washed and dried my hair but by the next day I saw that my hair was ruined and I was in a near constant state of tears.

About two or three weeks after the hatchet job B and I were out together and went to a hair salon that was large enough for him to get his wheelchair in. We begged for me to get my hair fixed and a nice young lady took a look at my hair, pronouced that it had been butchered in a most unkind way and fixed it as best she could. Compared to it's previous weasles-have-been-in-my-hair state it was a grand improvement. B got his hair cut as well the change it made in his appearance was amazing. Finally an up-to-date hairstyle that didn't make him look like he was permanently stuck in 1985.

When Frau Bitch arrived for her scheduled appointment she found that B and I didn't need haircuts and so she only did my MIL's hair. Afterwards she snottily told my MIL that she would never be back and to find another stylist. It was no loss but she was so rude to my MIL that she made my MIL cry - a normally very difficult thing to do.

B and I went to our hair savior for another year until she had to leave the salon to get her Meister license. We tried another local salon and felt reasonably happy with the stylist we began using. For a while.

This new stylist - I'll call her Frau Bossy because that's what she was - didn't do a bad job just as long as what you wanted your hair to look like resembled what she wanted your hair to look like. Time after time I would want a change in hair color only to be told that it wasn't a good choice and she'd make it a color I didn't like on me. Or I'd want a certain style and she'd inform me that it was all wrong for me and the proceed to give me a style that was virtually impossible for me to duplicate for myself at home. I don't know why I kept putting up with her crap for as long as I did except to say that at that time I wasn't comfortable with confrontation in German and I didn't want the hassle of finding another stylist. This, of course, wasn't going to last.

I went to an appointment with Frau Bossy only to be told she was sick that day. No one had bothered to call me to let me know and I was given the choice to either reschedule or have another person cut and color my hair. As I need to be with B most of the time and have to make special arrangement to leave him for more than a brief amount of time I chose to let another stylist do my hair. I didn't know the name of my haircolor and so we picked out what we thought was right and I told the woman to leave my hairstyle as it was and to just shape it up. It wasn't the same work that Frau Bossy would have done but I figured that it was okay - anything wrong would grow back. When I came back six weeks later for my appointment Frau Bossy lit into me for not only using another stylist while she was out sick but that my hair was cut and colored all wrong and it was my fault for allowing it.

She went the same way as Frau Bitch. No confrontation - I just never went back to her salon.

I finally decided to try the obvious choice - the hair salon that is about 25 feet from my old apartment. The moment I went in there I knew things were different. Immediately I liked the atmosphere. It reminded me of the Mini-Box...the hair salon my Aunt Cora in Mississippi has been using for the past umteen years. Everyone was friendly, everything was tidy and most importantly, people talked to me as if they actually gave a damn what I had to say. I'd be asked how I wanted my hair cut and styled and suggestions were given instead of demands. I came out of there knowing I'd found a home for my head.

Now when I go there everyone greets me when I enter like I'm a celebrity. I don't have to fret and worry that if I don't watch Katrin she'll do something heinous to my hair. It's like visiting family.

I don't miss anything about my old neighborhood except that my hairdresser is no longer in my back yard. I have to hop on a streetcar to get my hair done but it's worth it. I couldn't go through the pain of breaking in a whole new hairstylist when I have already found the perfect one for me.

There is a salon that's in the bottom of the apartment building next to mine. And you know when it's freezing cold outside like it was today I might be tempted to go there - you know, just to see what they could do for me. It would be easy except for two things. First, I am completely loyal to my stylist. And second, I passed by the other day and looked in the window and found Frau Bitch cutting someone's hair.

Someone's walking around Magdeburg with Mamie Eisenhower bangs and by golly this time it's not me.


Blogger Kathy said...

Love the scarf. Those bangs! Oh my God! I know what you mean about finding hairdressers -- I've been here since 1992 and still haven't found someone I like.

3:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's why my hair is down to my butt! Except that really, I love my hairdresser so very much, and have been going to her since we were both in our late teens. She lives and works far enough away that I hardly ever go, and I refuse to go to anyone else. But I know the pain you speak of, really, it is much more important than some would guess!

That scarf ROCKS!

7:58 AM  
Blogger christina said...

LOL! - "I am a hairdresser - fear me!" Frau Bitch sounds just lovely.

This is something that SO many expats complain about and it's true, it is really hard to find a good stylist in Germany. Unless you like mullets, that is

I'm not all that fussy about my hair because there's not a heck of a lot that can be done with it, but I also don't like being butchered. I've been going to the same hairdresser in this town for the past 10 years and I think I'll keep her. The couple of times she's been on holiday I tried her co-workers and it was a disaster. One of them was even the owner of the salon and she didn't have a clue. The kind of person who knows how to give one haircut and one haircut only, no room for improvisation. No thank you.

8:44 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I've found salons run by Turkish owners are generally the best. German owners tend to give me "old lady helmet head". I don't have a clue why that is, only that if I've been in one salon I've been in a dozen, and it remains true for every one.

2:00 PM  
Blogger leon's life said...

The nightmare of all woman living in a foregin country is going to the hairdresser ahhhhhhhh

3:27 PM  
Blogger jen said...

I hear you sister. The first time my best friend saw me after i moved to germany, the first thing she said was "oh my god what happened to your hair. Do you have an appointment yet to fix that?"

I found someone Iliked as a person, but after the cat piss yellow highlights that started 2cm below my roots and her "i swear this copper color will look great with your skin tone", I decided that I needed to fly home at least twice a year to get my hair done.

Well, I'm not that wealthy and as my next flight home isn't until Aug, i had my hairdresser in SF give me the color recipe in the schwartzkopf color formula. He's FABULOUS. He just shakes his head when I come in after a german butcher job.

I wish he could write instructions for how to cut my hair. I would die for san Francisco hair in germany.

6:19 PM  
Blogger Mimey said...

A friend of mine lost a girlfriend (a hairdresser by trade and quite probably highly skilled) because he wouldn't leave his tried and tested barber. You can't mess with experience!

I tend to flit from salon to salon, getting a cut about once a year. I always accept what I'm given because they know more about hair than me. And if a surgeon offers me surgery for something I didn't know was faulty, I'll accept that, unquestioning, too.

7:08 PM  
Blogger KlasMommy said...

I feel your pain in regards to the hairdresser. We have one now that I absolutely love, but she's a little on the off side. She gets in a "fit" and vanishes for a week or so, doesn't show up to her appointments (which she owns the shop) doesn't call you to let you know she's having a fit, you just show up and no show Shawn is at it again. I absolutely HATE finding someone else, so I put up with it. BUT Geez it drives me nuts... AND get this, when she finally calls you back after your 15 call, Shawn where are you, I need a haircut, she acts like nothings happened and she didn't miss an appointment... so we just go with it... she's just a little off...

7:59 PM  
Blogger Mikki Marshall said...

Oh Dixie, I feel your pain.
But where's the picture? The last time you had new hair you gave us a picture!

And the scarf is amazing...(*whisper* finally)

10:46 PM  

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