Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Le Coup de Chance

My first cut in Paris went something like this:

I arrived at a recommended salon armed with pictures and a modest vocabulary. I asked for a coupe de cheveux en dégradé and a brushing. What I got was the exact same cut that every other woman my age seemed to be wearing.

So the next time I changed both salon and approach. I chose a hipster-looking coiffeur and told him in broken French to “create whatever you dream.” My stylist’s dream, it turned out, was to give me a modified Job Bob with slightly longer layers. He earned points, though, for managing to smoke and snip at the same time. I went back to Les Intondables twice based on the merits of its jukebox and proximity to Sushi Yakatori Bagel.

Months later, with frange dangling in my eyes, I ran a search on “English-speaking salons” in Paris. I visited an English website. I called and booked an appointment speaking English. Upon meeting my stylish, I burst forth all in English with my stream of requests and small prayers. I watched Aurélie’s face begin to blanche. She spoke beautiful French and not a word of my mother tongue. It was, however, the best cut I’d received in Paris, so I returned three times before she disappeared into the suburbs.

Last week, returning home from a battle over my working papers, I paused at the doorstep of a trendy salon. I had recently seen enough vacation pictures of myself to know that a cut was in order tout de suite. So without an appointment or a second thought I found myself walking into the “Toxic” branch of Toni & Guy. The music was thumping, the stylists were beautiful. The beverage girl seemed to be flirting.

I knew I’d found someplace special when the shampoo chair began to vibrate. I felt so relaxed after tea and massage that I scarcely noticed my transformation. Gone now is the pony tail, the wispy lock across my forehead. In their place are seven hundred jaggy bits which, when taken together, make me look “butch.” Or so le mec tells me. Seven hundred bits which, when they grow out, are going to look completely CRAZY, ensuring that I will be back at Toni & Guy before the last autumn leaf falls.

The problem now is that my hair is much cooler than I am. Like Diderot’s new dressing gown, it just calls attention to my many other deficiencies of style. I can no longer wear those shoes with my new haircut. And that skirt? Forget about it.

Between the hair and my reduced wardrobe of six well-worn items, I feel I’m two giant steps closer toward being parisienne. All I need now is some lingerie.

18 comments:

C said...

Butch or not, you need a good haircut en Paris, n'est pas?

And from what I can tell in the picture, you are well on your way to tres chic.

/bad french.

Zibi said...

Just passing by and saw your blog ... I Like it ... I'll be back to read more.

maitresse said...

Gah, I'm getting mine cut tomorrow. But I'm going to Coiffirst, in the rue de Buci, where they regularly under-cut and under-color my hair, as if afraid to do anything to it that might make me upset-- but where I leave looking suspiciously similar to when I came in.

From what I can tell in the photo, though, yours looks super-mignon.

petite said...

Oh yes, I have been there and done that. And was unable to reproduce the result myself at home after that first euphoric day (but I'm sure you have better blow drying skills than me, everyone does).

It looked good for one day, and then spent a fortune in products to flatten it every morning when I awoke with the shortest bits standing vertically on my head.

Now it's so long none of it can defy gravity. Scarred I was.

LA Frog said...

Did you notice that coiffeurs and esthéticiennes (and dentists) are the most chalenging thing to find when you move from one town/country to another? I had my share of distress before I finally landed on my feet with the right pros.

nathalie said...

A good (shall I say excellent ?) hairdresser in Paris is a salon located 15 (or 13 ?) rue de la Banque in the 2e arrondissement, phone number : 01 42 97 44 10 Metro : Bourse. Ask for Marc-André. He has spent a few years in the US, in LA.
He speaks English and perfectly understands what everyone needs and wishes of in terms of haircut.

I'm just a (very) satisfyed customer

Adrian said...

Funnily, enough, I got my hair cut yesterday at the same "toxic" hairdresser. Jerome did a great job, even though he was one of the more expensive "stylists". The last (and first) time I went there I had a charming Chinese girl called Clémence, who also did a great job. And any hairdressers with a playstation is cool with me..

wendy said...

Words cannot express how jealous I am.

sfgirl said...

I've been meaning to blog about the guy who blow dried me back to the 80's, ends curled in. He gave them a little pat afterward, as if fluffing them. Who cut your hair? I love a cut with good layers.

JennC said...

My hair is curly and very hard to get cut right. I used to spend beaucoup on my haircuts for something "cool". I've stopped bothering because of the cut catastrophes that I have had to pay for.

Now I go to Tchip (pronounced Cheap - not a coincidence) and pay 27 euros for a colour AND a cut.

Tin Foiled said...

Cutie patootie -- looks great!

I have to admit to going to Space Hair down in the Marais, mostly because I like feeling like I'm in a music video. It's a bad habit, but not at the top of my list to break...

Always Ace said...

I have to reiterate my comment on your flickr page: I LOVE your hair! And the cut, absolutely adorable! (the layers look good to me, but I'm a recent convert to layers, as my hair is super-fine...) I think it's chic in any case; you look like a hip Parisian in my humble opinion!

It's true, though, hairdressers (or should I say "stylists"?) here often do try to swing you toward a trendy or modern style, but in general, once you've found a good one, it's hard to move on... It took me a long time to find a hairdresser I liked here -- I had been seeing the same gal for SO long in the U.S., it was major separation anxiety for me! -- but now that I've found someone who does a good job, even though it costs me a small fortune every time, I don't see myself changing anytime soon, because he does take good care of me... (how many times can I say "good" in one comment?!) I go to Coiffirst too, but on rue Montorgueil... I went to so many places before settling there -- I've been to Space Hair, too, but I got a bit fed up with the video environment; I needed something more calming!

But in any case, I'm experiencing hair envy looking at your cut! And the color, just gorgeous, is that natural? ;) Or did Toni & Guy do that too? Ha, ha... OK, I've gone on too long about hair -- funny how some posts bring out the girlie in all of us!

Anonymous said...

Tes yeux sont superbes. Ta coupe aussi!

Anonymous said...

il faut rhinestone lingerie! Not just any lingerie!

(f)emily said...

tu n'est pas "butch," mon cheri. sue cette topic, je suis l'expert, bien sur. ;)

E. said...

My haircut is cooler than me, but your haircut is really cooler than me. And nice yeux, too. Very come hither (and, I must say, femme). So different than last time I saw you, when you were dressed up like a cartoon poo and splotching everyone with brown goo. (Okay, maybe that wasn't the very last time I saw you, but it's how I'll always remember you, no matter how parisienne you get.)

Vincent Truman said...

:)

The Sheriff said...

Hear that sound? That's the sound of my balls, whappin' against your haircut.