English Girl in Vienna

Cultural Commentator

Bad Hair Day

I went for a haircut the other week. I was quite anxious about the price because the last time I went for a trim what I ended up paying was much more than the amount quoted on the price list. I had been charged separately for the shampoo, the conditioner and the styling spray that I didn’t really want and didn’t like because it made my hair sticky. I was probably charged for the electricity to dry my hair; I maybe even paid rent for the time I occupied the chair. So this time I hoped I had found an ‘all inclusive’ price and how I wished it meant I got alcoholic drinks for free.

            I was welcomed by a very friendly man who ushered me into chairs by the sink and my hair was lovingly washed. I soon realised that it had a lot of trainees and they all stood lined up at the back of the sinks, all of them watching me. They didn’t speak English and I have limited success with German; shyness has a lot to do with it. It’s hard to go for it in broken German when all eyes are on you. However we muddled through and it was clear I just wanted a trim, just the ends off. I wanted it blow dried wavy. I used google translate on my phone, showed the stylist and he pointed at a poster on the wall of the exact way I wanted it. Perfect. Apparently, it’s not just words that can be lost in translation, so can hair dos. The trendy, loose waved hair do in the picture became a big-curled, poofy creation on me. Although the picture was on the wall, the stylist and myself had obviously interpreted it completely differently. Thankfully, sometimes no words are needed. The look on my face said it all. It said, ‘Why would you do that to me when all of you have modern haircuts?’ Not one of them had a big, volumous creation on their heads. Did I look like I’d just walked in from the 1990s? Surely, common sense needs no words.

The owner spotted my distress and swooped over. She was Turkish, been here since the 70s, had trendy hair. She asked if I was going to a ball; it must’ve been the only explanation for my big frou frou hair style. I said, by flattening my hair down onto my head, that I wanted no volume. She got me. My hair was blown flatter and we had a nice chat with the few words we shared. She saved the day. When I left she gave me a freebie, a pot of wax to help with the static. Ha.

The early Rachel do.


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