Tuesday, January 10, 2017

When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade

Why do I think it's going to work out getting my hair done by someone who doesn't speak English?  I do this to myself all the time!  Why do I tempt fate?  When will I learn?  I typically take a picture into a salon and then sit there while they do their thing to my hair, fiddling my thumbs and worrying about what's happening.  Typically I walk out a bit disappointed, but able to deal with the cut and color.  The next time I try a different salon.  Yeah, I ask around and try other places that people like but I'm never completely happy with the results.  It takes me at least a year in a country to half-heartedly settle on a place.  Why can't I just bring my stylist from Hudsonville with me?  I've never left her chair unhappy!

My hair has been past the point of needing freshening up for awhile now.  With no trip home in sight to get a proper job done, I made an appointment at a nearby salon I knew others had used.  I walked in with a photo of the color I wanted.  I even picked a famous person thinking maybe a little background in this celebrity's hair history would be helpful.  The stylist glanced at the photo and began mixing chemicals.  I immediately got an uneasy feeling.  How could she know what I wanted with a simple glance?  Wasn't she going to attempt to verify what I wanted?  Two people worked on my hair, folding foil in place and brushing on white goop.  More solution was put on my scalp than I've every had before.  I shifted uncomfortably as the assistant continued to dab at my part with her dripping brush.  The stylist opened a foil, stared for a moment then ran into the backroom.  She returned with her phone in hand and a triumphant smile on her face, and showed me a picture of a color that was silvery white.  You know, the color where all color has been removed then a silvery grey has been added?  It might be fine for the runway, but not for my everyday, mundane life.  Through gasps of astonishment I told here that there was not any dark in the photo and I need dark - like the photo I had shown her.  I felt a mess settling on my head.  She called over another stylist who spoke better English.  No questions asked, he just told me that if I wanted brown in my hair, it would have to be the next time I made an appointment with them.  In other words, my crowing glory was past the point of no return.
The stylist continued to work on my head with a smile on her face.  She kept exclaiming how beautiful this color was, how this was exactly what she had envisioned.  Wait!  What happened to the picture I showed her?  She didn't have to walk around town and go to the grocery store and work and church with this head of hair!  I did!  What about me and what I want?  I don't have the personality or wardrobe to pull off this urban look!
She began to pull the foils off.  It was all I could do to keep breathing as I stared in the mirror at my light bulb of a head.  She was over the top happy - I was not.  I held it together as she started snipping away.  I have to give her credit here - she did a fabulous trim, not too short and something I could manage.  My hair got lighter in color as she blew it dry.

When she asked me how I liked it, I was honest and told her  I didn't.  This is a big cultural faux pas.  You lie to save face here in Taiwan.  You don't hurt any one's feelings.  This may be why when I told her it wasn't dark enough earlier, she didn't believe me.  She finally relented and told me I could return and she would add some dark for free.  She made it very clear that if I wanted my hair washed, I would have to pay for it.  Customer service is a bit different here.  Rather than make an appointment right away, I decided to wait and get a bit of feedback.  Honestly, I wouldn't know how to tell her to fix it and I really don't trust her judgment at this point.

I made it home, had a good cry and began considering how I could get this to work.  Was there anyway this could be fun and doable for a few months?  My hair was so dried out that I didn't need to wash it for a few days which gave me a bit of time to mull this problem over and get some input from friends.  Vintage kept coming to mind.  I love how the victory rolls from the 40's have made a bit of an appearance in hair fashion.  Someone also mentioned to check out Gwen Stefani's hairstyles.  I found that she did an amazing victory roll and contrasted her bleached hair with bright lipstick.

I began playing around and each day I'm trying a new style.  I'm mixing up my wardrobe and have changed my makeup a bit.  It's fun!  Things were really getting in a rut and this certainly has shaken them up!  When I left that shop, I thought I had a disaster on my hands - lemons.  It turns out, I've been enjoying stretching myself - lemonade!


  1. Very glamorous.....and oh the perils of not speaking the local language!!!

  2. You look terrific, whether it's a temporary look, or you decide to keep it this way, you look beautiful, current and happy. I feel your pain as I've been there many times, I ask for one thing and leave with something different. Luckily, hair grows back, and usually we can get used to what we've been dealt and our friends understand the perils of getting a cut and color in a foreign language and culture. I love your attitude.