Tuesday, 11 March 2008

U fryzjera

I know. It's a title that makes you fear the worst.

At the weekend, I had a self-grooming 'accident' with the pair of kitchen scissors that I nicked (inadvertently) from my sister's kitchen on the way back from Edinburgh in August.*

An old friend in St Andrews once expressed his bewilderment at the relationship between female emotions and hairstyles (I remember reading something about this in Massolit but I can't remember which section I found it in):

- You want to change your life... so you change... your hair?

he exclaimed, utterly stupefied by the irrationality of it all.

At a certain point mid-way through the weekend, following several litres of Zywiec and one of those disastrous inadvertent networking incidents where you suddenly realise through a boozy haze that the person you are talking to would potentially be an excellent professional contact if you only had a business card on you and if you weren't a good pint or two beyond the point where you are able to make a decent impression in two different foreign languages damn Pauza and its generous barmen...

... at a certain point mid-way through the weekend I decided to rid myself of cumbersome excess keratin by taking the scissors to the stuff. I've always dreamed of doing this and then running away in disguise. It felt good. Even minus the running away part.

The next morning I woke up racked with a nagging sense of some major infraction committed against conventional sanity and with several hundred little salt-mine gnomes hammering away at the back of my right eyeball. I lurched into the bathroom via a decade or two in reverse until I was confronted with 1987 staring back at me from the mirror. Sudden memories of months spent pinning back a growing fringe with hair slides and that achingly trendy velvet padded alice-band at the age of around seven and a half flashed across my consciousness.

To cut a long story short (a boom-ching) it needed sorting out, and fast. A cunningly-arranged bandanna very rapidly ceases to look cool once you reach the office on a Monday morning. Resisting the urge to curl up and dye (groan), I left the house and, with a hop, a snip (oh for heaven's sake) and a jump, presented myself at Jean Louis David on Monday after work.

Now I know, I know that in these chain places they simply look at the card in the brochure and cut your hair like what it's supposed to be in the picture, but I'm simply not ready for some trendy little student salon on Karmelicka or for babcia-driven terror in a tiny traditional place by Nowy Kleparz. I googled 'fryzjer, Kraków' (Google is the translator's best friend) and stumbled across one or two forums, mostly headed 'Kawiarnia'. The reviews were mixed, and in the end it looked as though a chain salon in the centre of town (ul. Szewska) would be the safest bet.
I couldn't work out why all the contributors to the forum talked about 'maszyny' though. Machines? What was all that about?

Shortly I was sitting facing the mirror.

- So, what can we do for you?
- Uhh... I cut my hair** myself (insert 'when drunk' as required) and I don't like it." I admitted. "It's a mess."

The girl nodded and smiled, knowingly.

I have some problems with spatial awareness in Polish. If it's not 'z', it's 'po' or 'przy' or even 'nad', and I can never remember which is which. So when someone says 'Head back' to me in Polish, chances are I'm going to tilt it forwards, up or down or simply turn and stare out of the window.

We proceeded via a trial-and-error approach, until eventually I simply allowed the hairdresser to manipulate my head until it was facing in the right direction.

I have no intention of risking a bikini wax here.

Oh yes, and the 'maszyny'? Electric clippers. Instead of scissors. My ears have never felt so nervous...

*Funny story actually. My suitcase burst, and, in taping it up (if you've never bought electrical tape go out and get some immediately: you have no idea how useful it is - for both practical and cosmetic purposes- until you've had it once and tried to live without it) I managed to tape her scissors into the lining of the case. They popped out attached to the end of a pair of tights or similar when I unpacked in Kraków.

** Geeky vocab corner!! I'm slightly afraid of the Polish word for 'fringe' - grzywka - because to my phonemically-British mind it's all too close to 'dziwka' (tart - in the non-dessert sense). Incidentally, the Polish for 'a joker' or 'a nut' seems to be 'dziwak'. The plurals appear to be the same.

It was some time before I worked out that Eska Rock (radio station in Kraków) was actually advertising 'jokers on the phone' at breakfast time on a Monday morning.


Island1 said...

Be very very afraid when your girlfriend suddenly changes her hairstyle…

Kinuk said...

I love your story about Radio Eska! I lol'ed away here.

Hope the haircut was a success. I prefer going to Franck Provost, of those two chains. They use scissors.

I've got my own neighbourhood haidresser now, so I don't visit FP or JLD anymore.

Flowers On A Friday said...

clippers?! that sounds far too...well, dangerous.

hope it turned out ok.

Anonymous said...

Well, actually, the plurals are not the same - it`s "dziwki" verus "dziwaki" (or possibly "dziwacy" if it`s an all-male group of nuts).

BTW conosci questa di una ragazza inglese che pensava che "piesi" e` la forma plurare di "pies"?

pinolona said...

Oh crap so it really was "'hoes on the phone" then! I think all the nuts are male, yes. They call people at eight in the morning and gli rompono le palle.
Anonymous do I know you? What kind of car do you drive?

Kinuk: the haircut was fine, thanks. I've had to dig out the hair straighteners and start acting like a girl again though. I think next time I want a trim (what's the Polish for 'trim'?) I'll be going for somewhere with scissors. Seems a bit safer when they're around the level of your eyebrows.
My neighbourhood is Kazimierz and I'm slightly nervous about the hairdressers there. It's either a chain place or my flatmate's mate in the kitchen.

Island... uh-oh, has A been to the stylist recently? What did you do? What did you forget to do??

the sister said...

I did wonder why I was missing a pair of scissors....hope the repair job was a success and send me some pictures!

mochafueled said...

just cruised over from the group blog after you gave Jamie a little talking too...

too funny.... ya I agree with sis how about a picture.

Ill be back to read more.


peixote said...

All nuts are male? Aren`t we getting just a wee bit too Freudian here?

I drive a beige car. Actually, the salesman called the colour "cafe latte" but that was just a marketing pitch.

E no, non mi conosci. A citare Hannibal Lecter, sono semplicemente un 'avid reader' di questo blog.

peixote said...

That`s "caffelatte", not "cafe latte" of course. Damn that bastardised Italian. Berlusconi would be turning in his grave.

wiosanna said...

If you would like to some recommended hairdresser from Kazimierz I can ask my friend, I think she has some good one from there. I don't know what are your demands. I know one of my friend was very pleased with Camille Albane on Karmelicka.

pinolona said...

sis: if you want to see the hairdo, click on the following: www.easyjet.co.uk

peixote: sorry, I misattributed someone else's bad Italian to you! Let's make this a forum per gli italiofoni sbagliati, and give old Silvi B another spin. And 'piesi' is a very logical plural for 'pies', which is why I thought it might have been me that came up with it...
I've also heard that colour referred to as 'hearing-aid beige'.
ps I'm slightly concerned that you're quoting Hannibal Lecter at me...

Wiosanna: thanks for the tip: I really just wanted to go to a hairdresser that someone else I knew had been to before. If that makes any sense! So that I know they're not going to do anything terrible to me.
I'll try the place on Karmelicka next time.

Darth Sida said...

I wanted to have my hair dyed halfgreen / halfnot once, and the guy says:
- Sir, are you sure?
- Yes, I'm sure.
- The dye's going to last permly for months on you.
- Thanks for info.
- I mean, you won't be able to remove it.
- OK.
- No one will be able to remove it.
- I don't want to remove, I want to move on.
- But sir, it won't match your [complexion / baldy spots / hue of moustache wax / social status / mohair beret] whatever.
- Thank you, for concern. Can we begin at last? I'm in a hurry.
- A hurry, exactly! And the process takes an hour. And more. Much more.
- Well, I'll handle that, if we could start...
- It's GREEN!
- It will be, yes.
- Will you excuse me for a second?

[...conspiracy in the backroom... whispers... the guy is no more... out comes a lady... smiling (politely)... bad sign...]

- Sorry, sir. Green's out. We can dye you black. It will nicely cover the symptoms of your B12 vit deficiency and / or thyroid gland disfunction.

The B12 / thyroid part is the only thing I made up. (The lady just said "grey hair".) So - lucky you! You know places where the capitalist paradigms work and you can enjoy freedom of having your haircuts ruined and rebuilt. (Are they called hair -dressers or -stylists, not just -dyers or -cutters for the reason?)