The Haircut


She hated getting her haircut especially in France where she was always afraid her bad French would lead to some strange creative urge on the part of the person cutting her hair ending up with something suitable for a Jean Paul Gautier fashion show but not really meant for an aging housewife not wanting stares from other women on the street. She kept her hair a medium length so that if she didn’t make it to a beauty salon for several months, it wasn’t a total disaster. Plus, she could pull it back in a pony tail to keep it out of her face if need be. For a long time, when she first moved to Provence, she saved her haircuts for her times in Paris but she had ended up with a couple of strange haircuts even there in the center of the fashion world. Finally a friend in Provence told her of a man with his own shop and it wasn’t even that far from where she lived.
The first time she went it didn’t turn out to be that bad of an experience and they didn’t even keep her waiting which was often the case in Paris where once as she sat there with wet hair, a lady whose hair was being colored lit up a cigarette. No, she was taken care of right away and the haircut was pretty good too and, to her surprise, it was much cheaper. Everyone in the salon told her that she looked like Shirley Maclane. It must have been her red hair, blue eyes and American accent and it wasn’t the first time she had heard that in France either. So, by the time months had passed, she boldly made the phone call herself to make an appointment. She thought she had the time down right but the French use military time and instead of saying three PM they said 1500. Needless to say, the guy who was to cut her hair wasn’t happy when she came in an hour late and gave her a dirty look. She made another appointment for the next day and got her hair cut but she didn’t like the way the man had cut her bangs, that feathered look. It took weeks for the bangs to grow out before she could cut them straight across. So for this haircut she told him to cut the bangs straight. He wasn’t pleased and, in fact, when he was finished he said it was a nice hair cut and looked good except for the bangs which he said were sh@#ty. She learned a new way to say the s word in French that day.
Months later she was back in Provence doing some serious gardening and also in need of a haircut again. In fact, her hair hadn’t been touched in months and was definitely looking shaggy. She managed to get an appointment on a Saturday morning-none of those pesky military times to work through-and went in to the shop, just seven minutes from her home. When the man was ready to cut her bangs he asked if he could feather them. She had trimmed them herself about a week ago and they were fairly short. She was going to say no when he told her that she would look like Joan of Arc if she didn’t let him. So she said, “Just a little”. This time the bangs looked fine. She was heading back to Paris in two days time wondering how long it would be before she got her hair cut again and if it would be in Provence or Paris.

11 thoughts to “The Haircut”

  1. There are many ways in which being compared to Jeanne d’Arc would be a huge compliment (love that statue of her at Notre Dame too!), but her haircut wouldn’t be one of them. You probably made the right decision.

    Georges and I last got haircuts at the end of June just before the wedding. I still have not gotten mine cut again in all this time although I made HIM go on Saturday. I am trying to figure out what I want my next hairstyle to be and I’m as nervous about it as you are.

  2. LOVED this story! I got my hair cut in France only once, and it wasn’t a grand success although it wasn’t horrible.
    Will you post us a picture showing us your feathered bangs? I’m having a hard time picturing it. I tend to avoid bangs myself because I have curls so if they’re too short they do a gutter pipe look, but my last hair cut I got bangs without realizing it was going to happen until it was too late.

  3. Paris Parfait also did a posting on getting a haircut in France. Sounds like women go into a french salon with a bit of trepidation. My always grows out beyond the appropriate time for a cut but I think the old ponytail can be classic, mais oui?
    Lisa & Alfie

  4. My daughter got the best haircut of her life somewhere in Aix-en-Provence. She looked so chic when she got off the airplane. Wish I knew who and where, but those things can change quickly and it has been a while. It was a bob, but whoever did it got is just RIGHT.

  5. I finally found a person who has given me THE BEST haircuts, only now she is going on hiatus, because of repetitive motion problems! Her protegee will be on deck next time. Wish me luck.

  6. I always have trouble finding a new stylist when we move (too often) and I’ve had some real freak jobs! You wouldn’t connect bad haircut and France, would you?

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