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An eternal haircut June 13, 2006

Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
…that’s what the punishment should be when restorative justice or alternate sentencing is being considered. Preferably in a country where you don’t speak the language and can’t understand the hairdresser’s chit-chat and end up with something quite radically different from what you wanted.

The thing is, I frankly need to be pretty. Some old friends are in town and I need to impress, and it ain’t easy, as they’re heterosexual Scandinavians, who are hard-wired to be effortlessly drop-your-Calvins gorgeous. Then RFM organises a get-together every now and then which brings together bloggers and other Berlin luminaries and I want to go this week, so I need to be pretty for that. And then, as I’ve already mentioned, a funky New Yorker is in town at the weekend, so I need to impress again. It’ll be one long impress this week. (Fuck, fuck, WHEN am I going to work?) Plus, I know I look ludicrous with the Hugh-Grant look which I’ve been sporting, sort of unintentionally, of late, and as Russians don’t do subtlety and feeling-sparing, I’ve occasionally noticed the odd look of utter dumbfoundedness on the Russian’s beautiful features as I loom into view and it’s beginning to give me BSE. Anyway, I’m much posher than that guttersnipe Grant, so had decided the dumbing-down look had to go.

So I’ve gone for the Wayne-Rooney look instead.

But haircuts are traumatic. And an eternal one would be a much worse ordeal than what that geezer who had to push a rock uphill for ever in the underworld had to face. And it’s far more incisive a bout of self-analysis than going to a confessional or a shrink. For what else is there to do as you sit and stare at yourself for half an hour but navel-gaze?

My hairdresser was a nice old lady. With a lived-in face, a rotund figure and clearly a long-term alcoholic, she still lorded over the establishment as if it was her living room. She had a lovely old chat with the oldish man in front of me – why need anyone wear brown socks? – and I slightly worried I wouldn’t be able to give her as good chat as he had given, especially as the whole exchange was conducted in pure Berlinois.

But we didn’t do too much chat. A bit of football, once she’d recovered from the shock of realising she had a foreign customer. She looked on mystifiedly and sympathetically as I tried to express what it was I wanted before sneaking off round the back for, I’m guessing, a quick shot of Jägermeister. (I must learn German for short-back-and-sides. Mullet is the limit of my German hair-vocab so far.) But then she left me to stew in my very own mirrored confessional. (And they even dress you like a vicar for a haircut here. White dog-collar and black cassock.) “Who are you fucking looking at?” I leered wordlessly at the gent leering back at me. “What have you done with your life?” “Why have you considered it acceptable to inflict that non-cut hair on all and sundry?” And was that a glimpse of multiple chins as she pushed my head downwards with all the force of someone attending one of Berlin’s more flagrant gay parties but I strained to not lose sight of myself anyway in case it was a particularly revealing moment? “And since when has my left eye been 18 times the size of my right?” It was agony, I tell you. And I couldn’t get out of the place quickly enough once the nasty business of paying was dealt with, back into the deliciously hot Berlin air.

But it was worth it. Just you wait till I see you all, pals. I’m as pretty as a picture.



1. Wyndham - June 13, 2006

You are very welcome to swap hair with me for a couple of decades. I’ve always wanted one of those floppy fringes but, alas, am doomed in that department – in this lifetime, at least.

2. daggi - June 13, 2006

Blog spam?

and I want to go this week
So do I. When, where. Telephone?

3. BiB - June 13, 2006

Daggi, I’ve e-mailed you. Yes, how did that spam get through? Deleted the bastard in record time, though…

4. Beaman - June 13, 2006

I’d be interested in this Berlin blog meet too. Any more information?

By the way, you have a hilarious way with words, very entertaining.

5. BiB - June 13, 2006

Beaman, thank you! You’ve got mail…

Wyndham, I’ll always envy you your frizziness. Although I do get a bit of a kink, be it said, when I do the Hugh-Grant thing…

6. Bowleserised - June 14, 2006

Hairdressers are always awful – i could tell a tale or two… Why else do you think I’m growing my hair long? I do remember something worse though: being required to translate something Virginia Woolf wrote about a traumatic haircut into French… That was horrible.
There’s a good A S Byatt short story about a linguist having a haircut too, come to think of it. Much better than Woolfie.

Glad to hear there’s a crowd coming! I may have to wash my hair…

7. The Blind Flaneur - June 14, 2006

You know where I’m at on the haircut front: dessert.

I would add that your Rooney-coif is actually a punishment for stealing my thunder. Listen closely, and you’ll hear the notes for my next post being ripped to shreds. Swine!

8. Robert Swipe - June 14, 2006

“I’d be interested in this Berlin blog meet too.”

Me too.

You couldn’t hold it in Twickenham could you? I’ll bring the stirrups…

9. BiB - June 14, 2006

Herr Swipe, Twickenham! Good idea. We could hold it at my mother’s house.

BF, my apologies. But I think there’s room in blogdom for two hair-posts.

B., I’ve tried, and failed, to fall in love with old Virginia. But I just can’t. Perhaps because her writing is so utterly uninteresting. T’as bien traduit?

10. Michael Scott Moore - June 15, 2006

Nobody *needs* to be pretty for the Stammtisch tonight. All Brits are excused for being a bit late because of the England game at 6. Daggi, I tried to e-mail you this time around but it bounced.

The most reliable barber I’ve found in Berlin is a bald man named Wagner at the Auguststrasse end of Gipsstrasse. “Ik bin kein Udo Walz!” is almost the first thing he said to me. He seems to understand “short back and sides” even if you don’t know how to say it.

11. Bowleserised - June 15, 2006

Who is Udo Walz?

(BiB – Je me suis oubliée, er, is it reflexive? Or J’ai oublié. L’horreur, l’horreur etcetera. Il y a tres longtemps que j’étais une étudiante. Et Woolfie et sa twatty “lampe au dos” ou quelque chose comme ça… Merde. )

12. BiB - June 15, 2006

B., (don’t tell me your real name this evening. OK, go on then, if you have to, but the romance will be destroyed for ever. Unless, by some quite marvellous coincidence, your real name is, in fact, Bee, or Be, or Bea, or, oddly, just B) – fuck, forgotten what I wanted to say now. Oh, yes, I googled him and he’s a famous hairdresser. I’m warning you well in advance that I may come unshaven, as I loathe shaving two days running and had to shave yesterday for some reason or other.

RFM/MSM, fear not, Daggi is well-informed, and will be there at the appointed hour (which is yet to be appointed). Young Mr. Beaman also plans to come. I’ll e-mail Mr. Berlin Diary but I think he’s just had a baby – hence his non-blogging – so doubt he’ll be free. I do think Leon could have made a bit of an effort and flown in. He’s an honorary Berliner, after all.

13. Michael Scott Moore - June 15, 2006

Appointed time is 8pm. You don’t have to shave.

14. daggi - June 16, 2006

If I’d read your promises on my behalf beforehand I would have avoided the charms of Neukölln. The CDU were seriously suggesting getting Udo Walz to run against “Wowi” as their candidate for Berlin Mayor in September. But then they wisely decided against it. Perhaps Rolf Eden’s going to be their candidate. (A google images search would probably provide all you need to know about him).

15. BiB - June 16, 2006

I did a quick search. His mug looks familiar. Who is he quite? Anything to do with the Eden Project, or the garden of the same name? Perhaps not.

16. daggi - June 16, 2006

Rolf Eden: always in the B.Z. on a slow news day, i.e. very very often, West Berliner “playboy”, as old as Mick Jagger, reminds me (not only due to his appearance) of Peter Stringfellow, also ran a nasty 1970s nightclub – on the Ku’damm, named after himself (“Big Eden”), is now filed under “very retro”, was forced to sell it after blowing all his money on champagne (sparkling Liebfraumilch – from a wine box – would be above his style actually) and the like, and is now barred from the premises. Previously compulsory part of schoolkids’ West Berlin schooltrips programme, now, so they say, a bit “hipper” (thanks to “Rolf” being barred). Despite (fake?) suntan, not to be confused with Florida Rolf.

17. Chris - June 17, 2006

Hello there.

Haircuts, that perennial classic… I’ve never had to explain what I wanted in a different language, but I may as well have a couple of times. Any hairdressers I bless with my presence seem constitutionally incapable of understanding the phrase “a quick trim”, thinking instead that I want to try out the latest revolutionary ‘do that resembles the kind of sculpture you find with the fountain outside a museum of modern art.

In fact, the trend of hairdressers to mistake one inch for two, two for four, and so on (and this is the women as well as the men before you make a smart comment!) has now caused me to answer the question “how much do you want off?” with the pleasantly nonsensical “none at all please; I just want you to wave the scissors around a bit and ask me if I’m going anywhere nice this year.”

I am looking forward to going bald.

Anyway, a pleasure to meet you all.

PS – Word verification: olvej. Romany perhaps?

18. BiB - June 21, 2006

Oi vej? Yiddish, surely!

Florida Rolf? Perhaps I could become Berlin BiB, living it up in downtown Pankow on British benefits. Although I’d disapprove of myself too strongly before I even got started. And I don’t think I’ve given enough to the UK to deserve it (whereas Rolf claims to have always paid his taxes and lost his father in the war…).

19. BiB - June 23, 2006

I caught Florida Rolf being berated, live by satellite link-up, on some trashy show or other. Mind you, as it was a serious theme, perhaps it was Maischberger doing the berating. Can’t remember.

20. daggi - June 23, 2006

FOr someone who doesn’t read much German you seem scaringly well informed on the contents of the B.Z./Bild. Or have you been watching RTL2-News again?

21. daggi - June 25, 2006

Have you seen the news, Christiansen is going to be replaced by Günter Jauch. i.e. Sue Lawley being replaced by Chris Tarrant.

22. BiB - June 25, 2006

To my great shame – I put it down to being a gullible refugee – when I first arrived here, I almost liked Herr Jauch. No, I did like him, thinking he was sweet and fatherly. But god I hate him with a vengeance now. I have to swear and make blood-curdling noises the second I see his smug mug anywhere. Have you seen him even attempting to present a football programme? Or was that Oli Geissen?

23. daggi - June 25, 2006

As I was briefly in a bar where some “large screen tellys” were on, I think it was (alongside Johannes B. Kerner) Oliver Geissen. Didn’t he have some kind of ex-Blue Peter-presenter Sexskandal a while back?

Daggi K. Willis

24. BiB - June 26, 2006

Did Oli have a sex scandal? How marvellous. I’ve always had a suspicion he might be batting for the other side. Can you corroborate?

25. daggi - June 28, 2006

I’m told I was wrong. “Mister Entertainment Oliver Geissen von RTL” is also apparently not gay, but is rubbish, just to make it clear. The talkshow host with a rape scandal was Andreas Türck.

26. BiB - June 29, 2006

Tut, tut. Has he lost his show then? (His mug looks vaguely familiar.)

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