The terror of a hairdresser who speaks no English

It’s one of those things that needs to be done – haircuts in foreign languages. It’s simple for a guy – you nip into Siena, find someone who cuts hair, gesture for a bit off the sides and a bit less off the top, “grazie mille” and you’re gone.

For girls it’s a bit different. Particularly if colour is involved and the way you’re going to look for the next month or two is at stake.

Jean faced this situation recently and with some trepidation entered the small salon we pass on the way to language school to make an appointment. The hairdresser, a young Italian guy, spoke no real english but was helpful and seemed to know what needed to be done. All good so far.

New hair and new sandals as well

As the appointment was made to follow one of the All Black RWC games, Jean left me sitting having a quiet, post game drink (not to be confused with the pre game drinks or the inter game drinks) and estimated, based on past experience, that the whole operation would take about 90 minutes. She would text me when things were getting close.

No problems, I’d just sit and watch the world go by. Maybe do a little window shopping. Maybe not. “Anchi birra per favoure”.

Ninety minutes later – no text. Two hours – no text. Two hours and 20 mins – no text. To put it another way – that’s about 8 beers and, needless to say, by this stage I was feeling pretty good about life. My main concern, in fact my only concern, was whether or not I would be able to stand up.

To test this, a walk to the salon was in order to check Jean hasn’t been abducted, murdered, or worse, things have gone horribly wrong and she’s sitting there with red or green hair or even worse, no hair.

As I stagger through the door Jean seems calm and relaxed and, more importantly still has hair. The process is progressing but progressing very slowly. The hairdresser is a perfectionist – no an artist and it seems I have another 40 minutes to fill. I wonder how I”ll do that?

Fourty minutes later all is well, Jean looks great, every single hair is in place and perfectly cut, dried and styled. Just the look to be dragging a drunk through the streets of Siena on the way home.