Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Color Me Monolingual

While I was back in the States, I tried desperately to get an appointment with my colorist for some highlights. For the first time in five years (i.e., five holiday bonuses), she was unable to squeeze me in. Something about recovering from a cesarean and the need to bond with a newborn, blah, blah, blah. I guess we all have our own little crosses to bear and it looked like mine was going to be getting a full head of highlights in Brussels, a town not exactly defined by color.

Previously, I had stopped at the hair salon down the street from the apartment to see if they spoke English. Oui, I was told. Most people would have taken that as a sign that perhaps their English was somewhat limited. But, then again, most people looking for highlights don't go to salons where the proprietor sports bright pink hair. Signs, Cindy, signs!

Having scraped by on context clues, hand signals, animal sounds (see November 2005 archives, "Thanksgiving Turkey Saga"), and Spench for the past 10 months - less the time spent in the US for bad weather and the "deported months" - I was fairly confident that I could convey the color I wanted to the stylist. I was wrong. Really, really, really, wrong.

There I was, seated in a chair, all alone in the shop except for the colorist and her assistant, draped in a cape that stunk with the worst BO this side of the metro, when the following conversation ensued:

Me:
I would like some blonde highlights please. Not too blonde. You know, not platinum blonde. Just some soft blonde streaks around my face and perhaps a darker shade in the back. Can you do that?

Stylist:
Oui. Oui. Beige.

Me:
No, not "beige", bl-on-de.

Stylist:
Oui. I know it. Beige.

Me:
No, no. Not beige. Blonde. More like the color of this (me holding up one of the last remaining "blonde" highlights in my hair.) See, definitely not beige (as I am mentally running through a list of things in my head that are beige: shoes, purses, belts. Lots of beige things, but hair is not one of them!)

Stylist:
Yes. I understand. You want beige, like her (pointing to the assistant, who's hair is exactly what I didn't want - Vegas stripper white).

Me:
Uhmm, not exactly. I want something along the lines of this (again, me holding up my own hair). Is that possible?

Stylist:
Oui. (Something in French to assistant, after which, they both look at me like I'm crazy). Beige!

Me (outnumbered and defeated, but desperately in need of highlights):
Oui. Beige.

I spent two and 1/2 half gut-wrenching hours dissecting colors in my head and wondering exactly where "beige" was going to fall on the color wheel. When it was all said and done, my hair was ... beige!

Copyright 2006 by Cindy Lane. All rights reserved.

7 Comments:

Blogger Manic said...

Ha the verbal skills of the people of Brussels. Do you now get why many Flemish people never go there?

10:50 AM  
Anonymous Joni said...

Why is there no picture to accompany this post??

5:52 PM  
Anonymous V-Grrrl said...

Could be worse kind of monochrome. Could be PINK!

12:10 PM  
Blogger Cindy Lane said...

Joni,

The (obvious) answer to your question is: Because I have friends like you!

Cheers,
Cindy

4:36 PM  
Blogger Elana said...

I was wondering where the picture was too. I think I would have waited until October to see my regular hairstylist. See, there is a good reason why I don't care for pink.

7:48 PM  
Blogger Elana said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:48 PM  
Blogger Elana said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:48 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home