Counting myself lucky September 24, 2005Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
I suppose I should count myself lucky if one of the greatest tribulations in my life is getting a haircut. As unpleasant experiences go, it must be pretty low down on the horror-scale. But it is an experience I never fail to get wrong and I invariably leave the hairdresser’s disappointed and crestfallen. I suppose this is largely a probelm of assertiveness. I am the least assertive person on the planet and am hopeless at saying what I want, which is deeply unfashionable, and impractical, in these go-getting times. I was born to live in the England of fifty years earlier than the one I actually encountered at birth, where everyone would be tripping over themselves to be polite and putting others before oneself was the order of the day. (Still is for me, sometimes.)
So I enter the pristine establishment after prevarication – I had to be encouraged in today – and attempt to transmit to the ill-clad, female chav – an international uniform, it would seem – what I would like done. At which point she immediately embarked upon a smiley, enthusiastic, 2-minute spiel of her own interpretation of how matters should proceed in chav-dialect Berlinois, of which I understood not a word but noddingly agreed to readily and resignedly, my heart already beginning to sink. I had asked for a dry-cut, trying to keep the operation as close to my skin-flint intentions as possible, but she tempted me with extras, knowing – she could smell my Tommy genes – that I would say yes to every one of them, not knowing what they were – chav Berlinois – and certainly not wanting them. So I got the drink, the amount of sprayed water that meant this was no longer technically a dry-cut and the hair-dryer treatment at the end which all meant that by the time I’d left a tip larger than I wanted to – too polite to do otherwise – and been conned with the change – too polite to point out the chavette’s poor arithmetic – I left the establishment with hair shorter than I wanted, a considerably lighter pocket and self-confidence battered and bruised. (At least she didn’t bother to engage me in conversation.)
As I began my mope homewards through the over-lit shopping centre, I wondered why it was that a middle-aged(ish) man was incapable of asking for what he wanted from a 2-year-old girl displaying her generous midriff and with an arse a size too big for her. Why COULDN’T I say what I wanted? She wouldn’t have minded in the least obeying, presumably, and we’d all have been happier. But, anyway, to remind myself, I am lucky that this is the height of tribulation for me, but it must be redolent of a greater ill, and must half explain why it is I have to do a funny queer job, working at home. Living in a foreign language is no doubt partly to blame, and I’ve moaned about that on here before, so won’t harp on relentlessly. But if anyone has spotted a pamphlet, perhaps released by some helpful local authority in the UK, entitled, ‘How to say what you want at the hairdresser’s for an empowering experience to give you full ownership of your haircut in a non-native language,’ get the bastard DHLed to me…
Please, pretty please, if you wouldn’t mind awfully.