An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

Friday, February 21, 2014

A Haircut Lost in the Translation

Yesterday I did something stupid. I walked into an unknown salon and asked for an appointment right away. I was introduced to someone named Sun (or was it Moon?) and I explained to her that I wanted two inches off my length and my bangs trimmed.

No problem! she said, in very broken English.

Except she did everything backwards: she trimmed my hair and took two inches off my bangs.

Sheesh. You think I would have learned by now, because something very, very similar happened when I was studying in Spain. I still shudder at the memory ...

So there we were, studying at La Universidad de Salamanca, and my friend and I were having problems. Specifically, boy problems. We were  sitting in the Plaza Mayor, moping, and then one of us (we never could figure out whose idea it was) decided that a haircut would be just the thing to perk us up because that's what girls do ... a good hair cut and a manicure and we can take on the world! Besides, there was something exotic about getting our hair done in a foreign country. We could tell people we had our hair done by Alberto at  Peluqueria Alberto on Calle de la Gran Via.

We found a salon and just walked in. While my friend and I were both conversationally proficient in the language, we realized that we did not know how to say trim in Spanish. Or bangs. All those years of language study and we never had to say those two words before, and now we had a problem because that's what we wanted: a trim and to have our bangs re-shaped. So we used words like little cut and new fringe and we thought they understood our requests.

Well. After the stylists were done I looked at my friend and she had no bangs left; she looked at me and my shoulder-length hair was now a short, goofy chin-length bob.

If you thought we were depressed before we went into that salon, you can just imagine what we felt like afterwards. We were so stunned neither of us said a word.

Anyway, there's a lesson in here somewhere, and if I could think straight I would offer something wise, but now I can't get my mind away from the mental image of that disastrous haircut I was stuck with for the rest of my Salamanca summer.

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