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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Haircut in France

You may recall that Frugal Son was motivated to change the obsolete 100 franc note for euros because he was running short of money. The euros he got almost exactly paid for a much needed haircut.

Tuesday January 17, 2012: Bref. Je me suis fait coupé les cheveux.
As I’m sure you know, it has probably been about six years since anyone besides Emma has cut my hair (except for once in Nantes, but even so it was a friend who cut my hair) and even longer since I’ve been to a hair-cutting salon. Even when Emma cuts my hair it is normally a traumatic experience for me, although not so much the experience itself as the dread and worrying that leads up to it. It really is silly, since my hair is kind of unruly anyway, and, since I dread changing my hair drastically, I tend to wait too long, which, of course, makes it even worse because it makes the hair-cut even more drastic!

Anyway, I haven’t had my haircut since the last time Emma did it back in August (or possibly September), which means that I’ve gone basically five months without a haircut! Needless to say, I was in dire need of one, and, needless to say, I was dreading it! Especially now that I had to go in front of students who might possibly make fun of me and snigger about me behind my back if I got a bad one! The horror! I finally decided to bite the bullet, and I was hoping to get my hair cut on Friday or Saturday to give me the full weekend (plus Monday) to acclimatize to my new coiffure before going in front of my students.

Laine had recently gotten her hair cut and was very pleased with the results and the guy who cut it; plus, if I went and said she recommended me I would get a 20% discount! On Saturday I was planning to go, but Laine called ahead for me and they were totally booked for the day! Devastated (not really, but maybe a little upset) I went over in the afternoon to check the place out and book an appointment. The salon is near Laine’s, in Vieux Mans, and though the salon was rather spacious, there is only one guy who cuts hair (the owner) and occasionally an assistant who makes reservations, handles the desk, and washes hair. Plus, it was a very swank looking joint, complete with halves of classic cars jutting out of the walls for décor, posters advertising fancy hair products, and lots of style magazines strewn about. The guy was also wearing tight pants, shiny shoes, a vest over a short-sleeved tight black shirt, and very stylish hair! I was very overwhelmed and felt very out of place, but I decided to go ahead with it and just try to be a little more daring than I normally am. Unfortunately they are closed on Sunday AND Monday, so I had to settle for making an appointment on Tuesday afternoon, after work.

Tuesday rolled around and immediately after class I washed my hair in preparation for my haircut. When I got to the salon the guy took my coat, led me to the waiting room (more fancy décor and couches to recline on and stuff!) and handed me a GQ to peruse while I waited. Since even in English I don’t know how to describe what I want my hair to look like I had brought some photos of me from shortly after Emma cut my hair, just so he could have an idea of what I wanted it to look like. I only had to wait for a few minutes while he finished up the customer he was working on (who was also getting a very stylish haircut) and then it was my turn. I was afraid he was going to ask me if I wanted to look like someone in GQ, but fortunately he just asked me if I had any ideas for my haircut. I explained to him that Emma normally cuts my hair, and that I had no idea what I wanted. He asked if I had come because I “wanted a real haircut from a stylist” and I explained that it was actually just because it was a bit impractical for Emma to come all the way from the USA to cut my hair. I showed him the photos, to which he responded, “she cuts hair very well!” I told him that I felt like I was a person who wasn’t very stylish or daring, and that although I wasn’t ready for a really stylish haircut I would be open to trying something a bit more exciting than what I usually got. The guy was really nice and said that he had some ideas that would be too drastic, but would still be an upgrade to my look. Even though he hadn’t done anything yet he was already putting me at ease about the whole haircutting situation; I felt very taken care of, which I guess is what most people like and expect about getting a haircut (or doing anything where you spend money).

We started with the hair washing, my second of the day, which was very relaxing, and then I got into the chair. He asked if I styled my hair at all or if I used a blow dryer. I said no and he didn’t seem surprised since, as he said, a blow dryer would puff it up. He asked me if I wanted to read a magazine while he cut, so I took the GQ and just sat there as he snipped away. I don’t know if he was just fast or if I was distracted by the magazine, but it wasn’t long before he was cleaning up the back of my neck with clippers and doing some final trimming snips. He then blow dried my hair (with a diffuser, which would “puff it up, but not as much”), put some product in and styled it very lightly before showing me the final product. I was very happy! It had the same basic shape as Emma’s, but the back was a little more stylish (he left some length but cut more around the ears to give more definition) and he also did a good job with the sideburns (don’t worry Emma, I’m not insulting your haircuts! These are just tips you can use in the future! Plus, he has been cutting hair professionally for 20 years!). I paid, which, with my 20% discount, was only 16.80€, which, though easily the most expensive haircut I’ve ever had, was a lot cheaper than I was anticipating! Plus, if I recommend someone and they mention me I’ll get a 20% discount the next time I go (and MK is planning on getting her hair cut soon)! As I left the salon I felt way more stylish, and I had a new jaunt in my step. I went immediately to this bar on Place de la Republique to meet up with MK and Laine to show them my new haircut, which was met with universal acclaim (that is to say they both liked it a lot). So, the haircut that I had been dreading for so long was actually a great success. Now I just need to get some clothes to match my new stylish coiffe!


SewingLibrarian said...

I love this! Your son writes very well. Should you be worried about that last sentence (needing some stylish clothes?) LOL

Frugal Scholar said...

@Sewing--He will be so happy to hear that. Thanks so much.

Duchesse said...

FS' experience mirrors most people's when they walk into a new salon. The ending is not always happy but I'm glad his was.

Cannot wait to read the installment concerning new clothes.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Duchesse--Well, he doesn't have enough money to buy anything. Mr FS has a horror story about a haircut in Paris circa 1976.

Anonymous said...

After reading this post, I was hoping to get a glimpse of Frugal Son and his hair cut.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Terri--He didn't send one! I'd like a pic too.