Getting a hair cut in another country. I’d rather be strapped in the back of a toyota on a wooden bench, going 40 miles an hour through huge potholes, with chickens pecking at my feet.
Let’s be honest, I couldn’t really get a hair cut in Haiti cause, well, Haitians don’t have the same kind of hair I do. They all want to touch it and stroke it. And, the only “salons” I see here are tiny one room things that just kind of look scary. I have a hard enough time going to the nail salon not knowing if they sanitize their instruments. I guess it’s the Esthetician in me, the side of me that has remained pretty quiet living here in Haiti. But this I couldn’t waiver on. Hence why, two months ago, a dear friend here agreed to cut my hair. She did an amazing job with the dull kitchen scissors, but it still needed to get it fixed up.
So, I decided the Dominican Republic was the place to do it. They all have hair like me, and considering I don’t know when the next time we are coming home it, I had to do something. I made an appointment at a salon a few miles from our hotel. I was worried about how to talk with her cause every time I open my mouth to speak the years of Spanish I learned, now only Creole comes out. I either mumble something in Creole or stand there looking pathetic. I knew this would not do in the salon. I had the front desk girl at our hotel (who spoke great english and recommended this lady for me) write down what I wanted, in Spanish. A simple cut right below my shoulders, and thinning out my hair cause it’s so,so thick. With my piece of paper in tow, I headed off to the salon.
The salon was cute, and was familiar. It had the typical salon smell. Ladies, you know that hot hair smell, mixed with yummy conditioner scent? It had pictures of sweet hair cuts all over, a lot from what looked to me like the 80’s. As soon as she called my name, I instantly had the sweats. She took me back to wash my hair, which looked like your regular old hair washing area. So far so good. Then she went in the back and brought back two cups of two different colored stuff. Now, I have been coloring my hair for a long time, and I looked a lot like the color used for that!! I tried to remain calm as she leaned me back into the bowl, knowing that she wouldn’t put me in that bowl if she was coloring, right? It was an intense ten minutes. Finally she finished and my hair looked the same. Then off to the chair. This is where I met Mary, the lady who was cutting my hair. We talked in Spanish for, oh about one minute and then I ran out of words, so I handed her the card. She nodded. Using sherades, I gestured where I wanted my hair to be cut-about 3 inches. She nodded. She separated my hair and began to cut. By now, I was very very warm. I was sitting under the black cape trying to look normal, casual even. I see large chucks of my hair falling by my feet keep saying to myself, “It’s only hair, It’s only hair, it will grow back” She then pauses and leaves me for about ten minutes. Finally she returns with color mixed up in a bowl. I gulp. Thankfully, I learned the words, “only cut please” and repeat them to her. She laughs and starts talking and pointing, with me still starting. Is she trying to point to someone’s hair to show me what color she’s doing? Did I piss her off and how she’s going to color my hair some wild color? No, she was mixing it for another girl who worked there. Whew. She proceeds for another long 20 minutes as I try not to stare in the mirror. Meanwhile, sweat is dripping off of me like I’m standing in the sun on an August day in Haiti. She finally finishes and removes the cape. I stare back in the mirror. It’s perfect. Perfect. I turn to her and actually tear up. We both hug, as if she knew how much it meant to me. I tried explaining to her how delighted I was, how I live in Haiti and they don’t even have salons there. She gasped and then hugged me again so I think she understood my broken Spanish. I tipped her more than I should have, almost half of what it cost for the cut, but as far as I was concerned I would have paid her triple that. I walked outside with huge pit stains under my arms, with my sassy new hair, and a smile on my face.