I’ve been to hairdressers all over the world, and only on rare occasions am I impressed with their skill, or thrilled with the results. I remember distinctly living in Spain and my host mom was a hairdresser. She offered to cut my hair for me, in the house! How could I refuse? After a half hour of sitting in front of a mirror with a look of horror across my face, I had more layers than I’d ever thought possible on one head of a hair, and had to try my hardest to keep the wet, hot tears from streaming down my face in her presence. It was at this pinnacle point in my hair’s life that I decided I would grow my hair…until forever.
Then there were the hairdressers in NYC. I experimented a bit around the city – paying both $40 for a cut and on one desperate occasion over $100. It didn’t seem to matter…no one had the skills I wanted, and everyone seemed to take my hair into their own hands, literally, choosing to ignore the things I wanted to be done to it.
And here begins my story. My last haircut was in May for my friend’s wedding and I was given increasing amounts of layers, which is pretty much awful for my curly wavy hair in the intense summer humidity. Needless to say, I was in no rush to relive the experience since arriving in Asunción. But every dog has its day and I accompanied a friend to one of the fancy salons on Mariscal Lopez, ROMMY. I have passed by this place numerous times and it is definitely a fancy, chic, up-scale salon, so I was excited that this was the place my friend was taking me.
We arrived and told her hairdresser that we were there for a cut. It was then that the disparities between what I’m used to and the Paraguayan way started to come out. First of all, there are no appointments, it seems. Anyone can walk into a salon at whatever point of time and expect to receive attention. I suppose if they are busy you will have to wait a little while, but this doesn’t seem to bother anyone. Then they ask you if you want your hair washed before the cut. I’ve never had it done any other way, and quite frankly can’t imagine receiving a good cut with dry hair, so I opted in. The washing was…well…strange. The guy who was washing my hair started in with the shampoo and gave me a full head massage. Ordinarily I’d be thrilled with a head massage, except for the shampoo part of it. He ran his hands down my neck and on my forehead…which left me feeling more soapy and uncomfortable that relaxed.
After the washing, I was brought over to the hairdresser and asked to wait, as she was cutting my friend’s hair at the moment. When it was my turn I explained that I only wanted to cut off the dead ends, nothing more. As explained earlier, I don’t like having my hair cut from un-trusted sources, (hence, why I take friend’s opinions very highly.) I sat and watched her comb through my hair, lift up a large piece and…CHOP! I could feel my gag reflex kicking into action as I said, “THAT LOOKS LIKE TOO MUCH HAIR!” I was reassured that it wasn’t (even though I had just witnessed about 3 inches falling to the ground,) and that I should relax and it would be fine. She continued to cut deep layers into my long locks and I continued to hold back the emotions that were swelling in my chest, protesting with whimpers, sighs and the occasional, “I still think you are cutting too much.”
What was I supposed to do? I couldn’t get up and leave – my hair was half cut. I couldn’t ask her to please reattach the hairs she had already chopped. She clearly had a “vision” of what she thought was best for MY hair, and was determined to make me see it. This has to be one of my biggest pet peeves – hairdressers that think they know more about your hair than you do, in my case, after 25 of living with it. Especially when you explain what you want and they still choose to take their own route!
Anyway, I asked for a blow out, a “brushing”, as they call it here and left with big bouncy curls and a mildly startled outlook on life. I have yet to see the repercussions of my newly layered hair, but I can assure you that you will know the results soon enough…once the humidity and 100 degree heat hits Asunción. It’s only a matter of time.