Monday, September 10, 2007

The Rabbit of Madrid

(a variation - or continuation - of the Rabat of Seville)

Today marks our one month anniversary in Madrid and because I am by nature a shallow and vapid individual, and because my hair grows incredibly fast, I have been obsessed for the past 27 days with finding a hairdresser. In a world of missing children, genocide and crashing passenger planes, I believe that it's the little things that give you perspective, that keep you grounded. Like having a good stylist.

I haven't actually had one since March 2002 which not very coincidentally coincides with the time that Sarah, my stylist, went on vacation to a Foreign Country and fell in love with a still-unidentified Axe Murderer. After a whirlwind 2-week courtship, she packed her electric clippers and moved to Butthole, Pennsylvania - forever commemorated on my calendar as Black Friday. We never heard from her again but I've always suspected that's because the police have yet to find the Glad garbage bags that contain her dismembered body. It was Sarah who gave me my first "Morocco Cut" - a eponymous style that would get me through a month backpacking and staying in half-star hotels not equipped with blow dryers. Or goopy products that negate the need to wash your hair for a week.

Five years later - and after a series of mediocre haircuts - I'm back in Morocco. And although it took me close to a year to find a decent stylist in Rabat, I could never get her to cut my hair short enough; ironic that I couldn't get a Morocco Cut in Morocco. Possibly being unable to communicate with her had something to do with it but I always brought a
picture. As in it being worth a thousand words. Invariably my head would look good for a week and then bam! I'd begin to look like Macaulay Culkin and then, as each hideous week passed, I'd take on an appalling likeness to David Spade.

Not really knowing anyone here except Señor Gato Gringo - that's if one can ever really know one's spouse - who proved to be quite useless in recommending hair salons, I began to grow panicky. And in an unnecessary act of solidarity, my hair began to grow as well. How does one get their hair cut with absolutely no language skills? Nada! (I was just showing off there.) But Señor Gato Gringo proved to be quite useful in searching the internet for salons with English-speaking stylists.

Except that it appears that there are none. I would have to learn how to ask for a shampoo and cut and hope that my rather gnarled picture (worth a thousand words) translates better into Spanish than Arabic or French.

To make matters worse, Madrid blogs for anglophones are rife with horror stories of walking into a salon for a trim and coming out with a mullet. A mullet. Both men and women! Having said that, the only mullets I've seen in Madrid are worn by Dutch backpackers- both men and women - but I assumed that was more of a politico-geographical identifier thing. To separate them from the Germans.

Señor G.G. found a 4-year old listing for a salon that was both inexpensive and sympathetic toward Those Linguistically Challenged By The Hispanic Tongue And All Its Dialects. Which made my comment about him being quite useless in recommending hair salons both snotty and inaccurate.

o today, armed with my gnarled photo and 25 euros (their rate had only increased threefold in the last four years just like my salary), I walked into a minuscule salon on calle La Palma looking like Macaulay Culkin and walked out looking like Sinéad O'Connor. Quite literally. Even Alex, my polyglot Mariah Carey-loving Romanian hair stylist thought so. Too bad that wasn't the photo I brought in. I guess it didn't translate well into Spanish. Perhaps it's time to find a new photo.


knarf said...

Let me cut your mop, Let me shave your crop, Dain-ti-ly, Dain-ti-ly. ...

BTW, since it's so hard to find a stylist in your travels, perhaps you could get a Flow-Bee. I'm sure you and Senor Gato Gringo and you could give each other expert cuts (with the help of your vacuum cleaner).

knarf said...

Cath said...

It's either a hair salon or a front for white prostitution. A great time either way!

La Gatita Gringa said...

Yeah, I think my photo was like "Northern Serenity". Maybe that was my problem.

Di Mackey said...

I haven't had a real salon haircut since leaving Istanbul where I was all but in love with my hair stylist in a worshipping kind of way.

I've had 2 big cuts here, one after the Canadian and American had had Dutch Gin and red wine - that was the best. Later, I foolishly allowed Heidi to cut my hair without seeing it happen in the mirror ... a disaster from which I've only just recovered.

Your story put chills down my spine. Let me know if you find a good dentist. Belgium sucks.

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