Foreign hair

A girl’s relationship with her hairdresser is a special thing. I have one of those with a fabulous girl in my hometown. But I live 6000 miles away from her talented fingers. So I go to a place here where the owner is from Lebanon and studied in Paris. And I only go once a year. My hair is sad.

The other day was my annual lowlights and haircut day. I live in the Middle East surrounded by raven-haired beauties, so my light brown hair that bleaches from the sun sticks out like a neon light. So I put low lights in my hair to play down the blonde. Trust me, my life is way better when my hair is darker.

I usually make my appointment first thing in the morning before things get crowded and busy which translates to me being the only person in the salon for awhile. This particular morning I entered to twelve giggling late teen and early twenty something girls staring at me. Sadly, not a strange phenomenon in my life. I shrugged, greeted my hair guy, Roger (pronounced roh-jay), and sat down at his station. I was slightly alarmed when the dozen gigglers moved in one giant clump closer to my chair, but figured they just wanted to see what the foreigner was doing.

However,Roger informed me that he needed to use me for a demonstration for the gigglers. Apparently the UNRWA funds trade school education for orphans. These girls have chosen cosmetology and occasionally Roger and his salon teach lessons. Today’s lesson: how to do foreign hair. Roger was smart in not telling me about this beforehand. I probably would’ve said no. But after assuring me they wouldn’t touch me or my hair and knowing that I’m traveling in a couple of days, I acquiesce. Here is my translation of the lesson:

Roger: OK ladies, gather ’round. She wants high lights that are darker than her color.

Gigglers: *gasp* and some unintelligible markings of why anyone would want that.

Roger: Look at her hair. It isn’t like yours. Think of your hair [all the girls were covered]: It’s long and strong and thick. Her hair is weak and thin and like feathers. You must be careful with foreign hair. If you use the same products on theirs you use on yours their hair will fall out. [My eyes get huge and Roger remembers that I speak Arabic.] So we must be careful. [Here he starts talking about oxygen levels for various kinds of hair and I tune out because it was boring. Although he did ask several questions no one knew the answer to.] Today we will do two colors for her because she likes her hair to be a little darker but natural. [He starts the process of putting the color on my hair.]

One giggler: Teacher, shouldn’t you dye all her hair first to cover the grey?

Roger: What grey? Count the grey hairs: one, two, three, there’s like twelve grey hairs. Why would I dye all her hair for twelve hairs. That’s stupid! She doesn’t want that. Do you?

Me: No, I don’t think it’s necessary. The lowlights will blend everything together.

One giggler: But there’s grey. We must cover it first.

Roger: Stop being stupid. She doesn’t have enough grey. This is fine. Don’t talk anymore. Other questions?

Gigglers: *wide eyed silence*

Roger: Remember, everything about foreign hair is different. You must be very careful so their hair doesn’t fall out. Now go over there and watch Mahmoud dry that lady’s hair.

Exit Gigglers in one giant giggling clump. But only after they’ve all taken many pictures of me with foil on my head with their phones.

My takeaway: I have grey, feather-like hair that may fall out.

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