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back to my roots

front of coiffureI’ve gone into several hair salons advertised as Wella Salons, showed them the little bottle of Wella hair color Brad gave me and they’ve all told me (in French of course) that they don’t have it and don’t know how to use it. Finally I decide to chance it with the cute little L’Oreal salon that’s less than 20 meters away from the house.

I finally muster the nerve and march in resolutely to make an appointment, I carry my little bottle of wella color charm # xxx, repeating the words “mes racines” (my roots) over and over again so I won’t forget the crucial word.

The girl greets me with a “Bonjour madame” (I’ve stopped being offended by being called Madame as opposed to Mademoiselle). I take a deep breath and dive in.

“Bonjour. Je veux, no, peux avoir mes raciness colouer” I part my hair on top and show them, prepared for gasps of horror. None are forthcoming. They nod. I continue, holding up the bottle of Color Charm.

“C’est quoi ma colouerist dans New York me serve”

She looks confused as I hand them her bottle. She looks even more confused upon scrutinizing it. She takes it to the stylist who is doing someone’s hair and they confer.

They tell me they don’t have it and don’t know how it works.

We stare at each other for a minute, smiling and nodding, unsure of how to continue the conversation. Finally, I say veut-tu fait mes racine avec quelquechoses…..else?

They converse again and grab a L’oreal color book and flip through the pages. The stylist shows me a brownish red color that looks about right and relieved, I nod emphatically, oui! Relived, the girl asks me if je voudrais faire un rendez vous. Again I nod emphatically. Oui!

hair appointment

We agree on a time and date two days from now and she writes it down for me on a little piece of paper, probably to make sure we’re talking about the same time and date.

For the next two days I fantasize about how fabulous my hair will look and how maybe they’ll do something slightly different that will make me look even more fabulous than whatever it is Brad does. Perhaps I’ve discovered the most wonderful colorist whose been working anonymously for years and I’ll be getting the deal of a lifetime for only E19.50 (the listed price for colouer permanante).

I can’t wait to loose this tell-tale grey/brown stripe which seems to be growing inches by the day.

Finally the moment arrives and I head on over with great anticipation.

They greet me and show me the color in the book once again, just to make sure. I nod. She mixes the color and starts painting it on my roots. It’s a sort of purplish color. It doesn’t look like the color Brad uses, but the color in the book looks right so I chill and thumb through a French version of Star magazine, which is just as crappy in French as it is in English (and Britany Spears, and Jessica Simpson are just as annoying).

Occassionally I check the mirror to see how my roots are doing, and to my relief, the color seems to be progressing to a brownish color. After 30 minutes the timer goes off and the girl returns to me and asks me something rapidly in French. I look confused and she explains slowly that “c’est pour brillance de votre chevaux”. Naturally, I agree to that. She rinses the stuff out of my hair and puts something else in it and has me sit with my head in the sink for another 5 minutes. It’s a process similar to what Brad does, so I’m perfectly calm about it.

After the timer goes off again, she asks me if I want a coupe, to which I answer non, merci. She follows with veut-tu essourage (a word I recognize from the washing machine in the house). I nod emphatically.

Finally, after all the essourage, washing I sit up and get a glimpse of my hair in the mirror. It looks really red. But I don’t panic, it always looks different dry and I didn’t wear my glasses.

But as she blows my hair dry, it becomes evident that not only is my hair very red, it’s only very red at the roots. Still, I don’t panic—it’s not completely dry yet. Hope springs eternal. Well, more like five minutes.


Once my hair is completely dry and the stylish proudly announces “voila”, I see that there’s no two ways about it, I have a bright red stripe where my grey/brown stripe used to be. Calmly I say “c’est deux colouers”. She nods enthusiastically. I continue “Je n’aime pas deux colouers”. She looks surprised and responds by telling me that they’ll fix it “le prochain fois”. I nod agreeably as they prepare the bill, which turns out to be E50, when you include the shampoo, essourage, color and blow dry. She asks “d’accord” and I nod agreeably. Suddenly the $210.00 Brad charges seems like a bargain.

As I rummage through my purse for the extra unexpected Euros my mind races…Does “essourage” mean bright red stripe? How can I fix this? How can I walk around with this red stripe on my head? This is more horrifying than the grey/brown stripe because the red stripe is such an obvious attempt to cover up something, which must obviously be grey. In fact, people who see me will probably think it’s all grey or why would I have made such a desperate and pathetic effort to cover it? I wonder if I can wear a bandana on my head for the next couple of months or will I be mistaken for a chemotherapy patient (and which is worse)? Maybe I can put some brown mascara on the roots to tone down the red. Maybe I’ll just stay inside and not be seen in public until it fades or I figure out a solution to this horrible situation. My god, I’ll never get a date looking like this!

She asks me to fill out a card with my name and address so they can put down the color they used for the prochain fois. I fill it out, thinking to myself ‘there isn’t going to be a prochain fois, toots.”

I smile and pay adding a nice tip and leave saying cheerfully “Merci. C’est bonne. Je vous vois le prochain fois” and rush home to wash my hair.

4 Responses

  1. LeVar Burton would be proud!

  2. […] Back to my roots (more on the continuing hair saga) […]

  3. […] already established that I’m not returning to the cute little hair salon nearby. The truth is, I’m hesitant to hand […]

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