Two for One

Getting your hair cut, colored, highlighted and coiffured into an elegant hairdo, at least until you wash it again, is a right of passage for all woman at least every two months. Going to the hairdresser is an event qualifying as a fantastic day’s outing. It starts with coffee before, a scrumptious light lunch after and maybe a little shopping added for extra esprit.


Lately I wasn’t as happy with my hairdresser and the highlighting weave I received. It just was getting a little dull and was not quite up-to-par. I ran into a woman I met at a country lunch, well coiffurred and she told me in whispers, to keep the beauty a close secret close between us, that she was in the village to get her hair colored by a hairdresser who came to your home. “Imagine”, she said, “getting beautiful in the comfort of your own home.” Whether it was the old fashioned way sitting in the coiffuse’s chair, or a more personal way and to save on taxes and overhead, my ears perked up immediately. “Oh, she’s marvelous at color weaves and less expensive as she doesn’t have the cost of a big salon.”


I liked the idea of reducing the excessive costs of my hair appointments that kept escalating and trying the marvelous traveling stylist a-la-domicile. The next thing I knew I was on the phone, stumbling through my California accented French to leave my new best friend, styling guru, Letticia, a message for a rendez-vous.


The next day I received a return phone call and in French we confirmed an appointment for Thursday at 14:30 (2:30 pm) at my house. I repeated the time, fourteen hours thirty, as it is said in French, just to make sure I had the time correct. At promptly 2:30 on-the-dot in she walks with two large cases full of supplies, brushes, hair products, and a brown silk cape. Moving a chair into the bathroom we set up a mini salon and began to discuss once again the color of my highlights. “Blonde et Miel.” (Blonde and Honey). “Oui.” She then went on to explain to me (all in French) that you shouldn’t highlight all the hair but just the top as it gets to blonde and dry at the bottom.


“Oui,” I responded, saying to myself, I can get through this. I understand her.


For the next 30 minutes she colored and highlighted my hair while we talked about where she lived, her family and children. Usually in the hairdressers I am one of those people who never talk to the hairdresser but for a few minutes when I have no choice and can’t wear my glasses or look at a magazine because she needs my head down and glasses off. This time however since Letticia didn’t have a salon to hang out in when we were waiting for my highlights to take hold, I had no choice but to keep on conversing with her.


“Keep listening,” I said to myself. “If you don’t understand, ask her to repeat it slowly.”


Before I knew it we were talking or rather she was rambling and I was oui—ing a lot and asking questions for the next 30 minutes. I learned all about where she came from, why she likes the southwest of France better, how her husband was now a mason (builder) and was from Sardinia. After I asked her the question about taking time off when she had her baby as she was pregnant. She went into a long lecture on how she would take two months off and then continue to work because she was an independent artisan (artist) and not a salaried employee. As a result she didn’t qualify for the benefits many other mothers obtain from the French government. By this time, I was feeling as excited about my ability to hold a conversation with her for so long as I was about my new hair color.


My highlights had taken by then and we rinsed my hair in the bathtub with the sprayer (which we had luckily) and she cut it and styled it for the next 20 minutes.


60 Euro later (half of what I normally pay) I had a great highlight and cut and an impromptu opportunity to practice my French, a bonus I didn’t expect. In reflection, saving the money and being forced to practice my French was a major benefit as well as I loved what she did to my hair. On the other hand, I missed the feeling of being pampered with a head massage as my hair would be washed, sitting in a comfortable cushioned chair, and reading magazines I would never buy.


But, having said that. Now that I’ve saved 60 Euro I can go ahead and book a pedicure/manicure in a luxurious salon and have money for lunch as well.